Jeff and Nick talk about lookup tables (LUTs) and how they are used in color correction. It starts off by showing the LUTs built into Final Cut, followed by free and paid third-party options you can use to extend your LUT library.
- [Jeff] Hi I'm Jeff. - [Nick] And I'm Nick and welcome to Final Cut Pro X Weekly. - [Jeff] And this one is all about LUTs. LUTs and you. - [Nick] LUTs LUTs LUTs LUTs and more LUTs, that's all I'm hearing these days. How to add them to clips, what the heck are LUTs? - [Jeff] Well, LUTs have a bunch of functions that you can use but the primary one, the original idea was the idea that you could switch a pixel value simply and where it was useful for us was you would shoot something in log or a flat space and I'm simplifying a little bit here but you then apply a LUT and it would normalize it it would look right and what it could give us is an extra stop or two on our footage.
We can also stylize using LUTs and I see this left and right. I'm a little snobby about it myself, I kind of considering it Instagramming. - [Nick] Yes totally like putting on basically a style filter on, Instagram is how I look at LUTs and look at lookup tables too. - [Jeff] Final Cut Pro has got some limited normalizing LUTs and we're going to see how we can use some third-party ones to extend that normalization but also to stylize to give scenes a look, and then one thing, the one warning is of course I would tell you to first color balance your footage, color correct before you add LUTs to stylize.
We're going to take a look actually at three third-party LUT packages and then I want you to know at the very end we're going to show you how to just to jump into Photoshop and quickly build one of your own. - [Nick] This is actually something you showed me Jeff a long time ago and it is so easy to build a lookup table LUT in Photoshop, export it, and then using a third-party plugin right inside of Final Cut, which are actually free, you're going to see how we can apply a LUT to a piece of footage or maybe even an adjustment layer. - [Jeff] So I'm going to start off here just with what Final Cut has got built in. Here we are on Final Cut, here is the shot, the shot looks awful awful flat.
I'm going to go ahead up to my inspector and with the shot selected, I'd like you to see on the inspector on the information, normally you're set to basic. I'm going to go ahead and set this to log processing and here is a list of normalization LUTs such as Canon Log Cinema 2, and you can see that shot pops, it gets a lot of saturation, it's just literally placing one pixel value and pushing it out to another.
- [Nick] And that's built into Final Cut, so all you did Jeff was change the metadata information that was being displayed in the inspector, you went to log processing, and you had access to a bunch of these built-in lookup tables designed for certain cameras. - [Jeff] And you know that's a funny thing. While it's designed for a certain camera, it's designed under the right circumstance. It was shot right, I know a lot of colorists who don't even bother with it and just color correct themselves, and I'll mention to you while this was shot using a Canon, was shot log using a Canon C500, I could put the ARRI log and I actually think the ARRI log LUT looks a little bit better and so the message here is you can start with these, especially if you've shot flat or you've shot in a log space, but I want you to know you don't have to be wedded to what it was supposed to be.
And this is the limit we get with Final Cut X. I want to show you some third-party tools and kind of where their capabilities are and we're going to start with three. - [Nick] Cool. - [Jeff] So I want to mention three great third-party tools and I want to start off with mLUT from motionfx and they're free but they sell packs with LUTs. I'm going to mentioned LUTx from CoreMelt and I encourage you to download both, they're both totally free, they both totally will work with Final Cut and third-party LUTs. - [Nick] So these are essentially LUT loaders right Jeff so these give you the ability to bring in lookup tables and usually what they're selling extra are packs or a bunch of different lookup table looks that also come in with this loader, am I correct? - [Jeff] Totally.
The third is LUT Gallery from Color Grading Central and at its price of 69 dollars, Color Finale which is a full curves three-wheel color correction system includes sort of their LUT loader inside of the software so I would almost tell you just buy Color Finale. - [Nick] So you'll get the color correction software plus a bunch of lookup tables at your disposal rather than spending 69 dollars with just the lookup tables and no added three-way color correction. - [Jeff] Correct but I've got to tell you, it's really nice, their gallery is really nice.
We're going to take a look at these on a couple shots here. - [Nick] Cool. - [Jeff] So I'm going to start with mLUT on this shot and we'll compare it in a second. I've done a little, I don't want to say a dirty trick but kind of a neat trick. Instead of me having to go ahead here and navigate through each and every category to find these, I've loaded one up, saved it as a preset, and now I've got here the LUT from Color Grading Central, the one from CoreMelt and mLUT. Instead of me having to hunt down the category, I just felt it was a faster way to work and I'm just going to drag and drop this here.
- [Nick] So you save this effect as a preset and that gave you the ability to save it to a category and now you have everything under this FCPX Weekly category but you can save this to a color correction category and get up and running right away. - [Jeff] You could actually set the LUT that you prefer and use it as a preset. I just literally loaded them up and saved it off into my own category, to our own category, Final Cut Pro X Weekly. - [Nick] Very cool. - [Jeff] So I've thrown it on this clip, I'm going to go here to the inspector and you can see this in fact I'll just delete it and show it to you again.
I'll delete it, I'm going to get rid of my browser area, and I'm just going to bring mLUT right to the shot. I'll hit the mLUT library, and here at the top you can see we've got some looks and as I click these looks, you can see the footage change. And below what I'm not sure why it's not resolving they've got some presets, so I might say hey lets try a technicolor cinestyle 1 or Canon and as I just go through and click I'm just looking for something that looks good to me because again it doesn't matter what was originally shot with.
I think this was actually shot on film. - [Nick] That's fantastic. So these lookup tables are actually free with the actual what you download the mLUT. So these ones are at your disposal, these aren't the extra packs. - [Jeff] These are totally free and you can set favorites but you can buy other packs to make your life a lot easier to give yourself these sort of looks. - [Nick] Very cool. - [Jeff] I'll go ahead and save that LUT. Here it is off, on. I'm going to go ahead delete that. I want to look at the same thing. You know, I've set an adjustment layer, we did a piece earlier on how to build an adjustment layer, one of the other Final Cut Pro X weekly it's easy enough to build it, it's just literally a motion title where I've deleted the title and saved it inside of Final Cut.
You can apply these to an adjustment layer. I think one really neat feature is that CoreMelt happens to give you an adjustment layer already pre-built here so you can use these just quickly and automatically. You don't have to, they're essentially titles. So if I go and I grab that it's doing the same thing, I'm stretching these sort of stylistic LUTs across multiple shots because for me they're to give you a feel, they're to change the feel of these Seattle shots here so they're more cinematic. - [Nick] So these lookup tables that you're applying are actually from the title category versus the effects category but can just be applied over top several different clips by simply dragging the title to be shorter or longer.
- [Jeff] Right, I'll just rephrase that a little bit. Regardless of which of these LUT programs we use, if you're going to do it over multiple clips, you should either nest everything, make a compound clip, or you should use an adjustment layer that you can build in motion. LUTx happens to come with that adjustment layer in the title category. I'm going to close all that up though. I'm going to apply here to these two shots I'll do either of them, I'm using right here this is the CoreMelt plugin, I'll first apply it say on these last shot by itself just so you can see.
And I'll grab LUTx, drag it on, and you can see its interface and it happens to have here a LUT browser and you can see some of their pre-built packs and as you adjust these, you can see it update the screen. Ooh, that beach bypass is really nice looking. I'm going to go ahead and you can see I can kind of wipe across it. I'll go ahead and I'll close that up. - [Nick] That's great, it's like seeing a before and after.
- [Jeff] Yeah it's got a really gorgeous set of controls that does stuff to stuff like this. And as I said a moment ago, you can go ahead and you can use this across multiple clips. They've got their own pre-built adjustment layer and it's kind of neat, they've got a wipe feature there so when I go ahead here and I've got to do this over in that spot, when I choose say one of the LUTs I can wipe across to see what the LUT does. - [Nick] Cool. - [Jeff] The last one I want to do is I want to just show you the one from Color Grading Central, the LUT gallery, I'm going to throw it on top of these multiple clips as an adjustment layer.
And there's the LUT gallery, as soon as I click I get this interaction, I'm just going to change the group and go to film looks. And you can see my image here with multiple different looks and I think I'm going to like this very contrasty one and I'm going to just say hide that and we'll turn that on and off. Woops I must not have gotten it, no LUT, let's try that again, film looks. - [Nick] Did you click on the bottom strip? Yeah. - [Jeff] Yeah there we go. 2 Strip, no, you know what, I do like that bottom one.
I can't get to it. Oh, there's this nice slider here. I almost forgot about that slider. There we go. Ooh, that Kodak one looks really nice. - [Nick] That's great. - [Jeff] And let's just see a before and after, and because it's on an adjustment layer, it's on multiple clips really giving that punch. - [Nick] That's great and you can also take that adjustment layer and press the V key to disable it or - [Jeff] V to view it is the way I like to call it. - [Nick] I like that and yeah then basically compare the before and after. - [Jeff] So last item. I'm just going to jump over here to Photoshop for a moment.
- [Nick] Photoshop? - [Jeff] Yeah Photoshop I've taken a still and I've added adjustment layers in Photoshop. Now you may know nothing about Photoshop but Photoshop has these adjustment layers, things like vibrance, like hue/saturation, like curves, like levels, and what Photoshop will do is if you go and you add adjustment layers, whatever adjustments they do, I think this one is pushing sats just a little bit, I'll pull it back maybe, we'll take the curves here that I've built and I'm going to give it a really harsh S curve.
I can take this build, I can come up to the file menu, I can choose export, and what's that say right there Nick? - [Nick] Color Lookup Tables. Huh. - [Jeff] I'm going to choose it, I'm going to say cool contrast, I only want the cube, I'm going to say OK. I'll put it on my desktop, cool contrast. - [Nick] And now we can bring it into Final Cut using any of those plugins, am I correct? - [Jeff] Any of those plugins, I'm going to go ahead here to Final Cut, I'm going to go to, let's just delete that adjustment layer, we'll sit on this shot.
I probably should have done it on the adjustment layer. I'll use CoreMelt's LUT tool here with it selected I'm going to go ahead and say load LUT. I'm going to go out to the desktop, pull up my cool contrast cube, and I've just built my own LUT, I've just applied that LUT right there. And kind of neat, they've got adjustments that if you want to adjust exposure, you can. They almost all have the ability to control how much it actually affects the clip. They've got a real neat one where you can also do some masking and some wiping here.
Each of them has their own great features. I'd recommend that you try them all. - [Nick] That's great, so you can bring in a lookup table and then you can play around with other parameters to adjust the way that lookup table looks for even more control. Awesome. - [Jeff] So they work either when you shoot to get that extra stops, they work with the stylization, I think that they're really cool, just try not to go totally down the Instagram side and just make them all like, I forget what they 70s pop is on Instagram. Don't just go for that. - [Nick] Nashville, and there's a morning lookup too, not that I use Instagram at all, but I do, and yeah I use those but I dial back those effects.
- [Jeff] I'm Jeff. - [Nick] I'm Nick. Thanks for tuning into Final Cut Pro X Weekly.
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