Join Jason Osder for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying first-pass color correction with a LUT, part of Premiere Pro Guru: Transcoding Workflows.
- There's this expression that everything old is new again. And in the last few years of video production, it's just very interesting that so many of the new technologies seem to hearken back to older technologies. We're lensing cameras again, and we're shooting RAW to then do a process that we refer to as dailies and a first pass color correction. And we're doing all these things that went away for a while in the digital world and now have come back, and often have similar names and ideas to things from the film world.
And one of these is the LUT. And LUT stands for lookup table. And the idea of a lookup table is a set color correction setting that often goes with flat log shooting. So if we've decided to shoot, as we've discussed, log to have more dynamic range, but we've accepted that the naked eye will see it as flat, what a LUT does is quickly apply, not the final color correction, I mean it could be that, but generally just to quickly apply something so that our eyeballs can see it closer to how it's going to be natural while we're editing.
There's other reasons to apply LUTs and other ways to do it, but in terms of the context of transcoding, we want to talk about a substitute for that first pass. So, when we used to shoot film, film often, the original film, like the RAW, flat, I shouldn't say RAW, like the log or flat image, did not look to the eyeball the way that it would look finally. We also have things along this nature like shooting day for night. That's when you know you want it to look moonlight at the end, but you used the sunlight because it's going to be easier to correct it down than to actually shoot at night, with film, with film.
So that's the ballpark we're in, is the digital equivalent of that first pass to give you a good look at it. I want to show you here in Media Encoder because that's where the LUT tools are, but keep in mind that everything we do here and everything we do in the effects panel, which is where we're going to find this, can be added to a preset, and therefore if you want to apply a LUT to all of your footage from a day, and you want to do that in Prelude, you would just do what we're doing here in Media Encoder but then add it to a preset.
So we can do that as well, but let's just look at LUTs. So, here I am, and I actually already have the setting that we've been using, so you remember in our scenario we were taking our Ultra HD R3D footage and we were transcoding it to DNxHD which is a common denominator and also, in this case, smaller. So I already have that set up and I'm not going to change that in this scenario, I'm just going to open the detailed setting, and here you see just the example of all of the details, what we are applying in this transcode.
So we have all of our settings, but now we can add more, including a LUT. So once we check here, we have a number of built in looks and LUTs, and while we're on this list I want to point out that, much like the presets, I've not done anything to add to this yet. So these are just what ships with Premiere Pro. However, there's lots of LUTs that come from manufacturers, you can download, you can import, and there's also a new mobile program, mobile app, called Adobe Hue, that's an on-set program enabling you to actually capture light and information on-set and create a LUT based on the conditions that were going on.
So don't get the implication from this that this is the list of LUTs and that's all you've got. In fact, quite the opposite. To get more serious about this you're going to spend more time thinking about your LUT and how and where to apply it. And another thing I want to say is, applying a LUT bulk to everything should not be considered a substitution for your final color correction. More, it should be considered just a base line treatment to help you through the edit process. So here you see some of the regular ones, we can even get a quick look at what these will look like.
We say, if things are a little going in one color direction we can experiment with different color casts right off that bat. So, a blue filter for instance. And right away we have a massive desaturation when we take a lot of the color information out of there. These are really looks. Okay, so that gives it really a sort of stark look. Generally it would be something corrective here, and this doesn't need a whole lot of correction. We could experiment the yellow filter.
See, most of these, the desaturate takes almost everything out. A lot of these are stylized. On this particular footage, as I was experimenting, some of the basic temperature correction seemed a little more appropriate to lifelike. So, Warm Midtones, I think, was one that, if we were just doing this to look natural and we felt like it was a little flat. This is before. After. And that might be a little more typical rather than, you know, a horror movie look, or a day for night look, to just apply something knowing that the colorist will probably come back later and do all this.
So anyway, this is all in the effects tab, and could be combined with other things, but once we're set, we can just run it. I do want to remind you one more time that this could be added to a preset and that's very very powerful because you can fill up the queue in Media Encoder, but with a preset you can apply it coming out of, well, in particular, Prelude, but also Premiere. So, with this all set we will go ahead and run this transcode just so we can see the final product. We're running the transcode directly out of Media Encoder. So, let's just click to run it.
And there we go. Okay, another finished transcoded file. This time everything was the same except we added a LUT, or lookup table. Not a substitute for a final color correction, but a way to apply some color change, especially to a flat or log image for the benefits of editing.
- Different kinds of transcoded workflows
- Codecs and formats for shooting
- Important definitions: log, raw, and more
- Using Premiere, Media Encoder, and Prelude for transcoding
- Creating transcoded presets
- Transcoding subclips
- Rendering and replacing clips
- Transcoding at the end of an edit