Free Film LUTS for Editors, DITs and Colorists
Film emulation LUTS, creative look LUTS, camera profile LUTS, negative LUTS, print LUTS. There seems to be a LUT for everything these days! With the proliferation of the use of Look Up Tables (LUTS) in the production and post-production process, there’s never been a better time to understand what they are and how best to use them. But if you don’t care about that and just want to get your hands on some freebies – scroll down!
A LUT is basically a table that says if the input is 1 make the output 7. If the input is 0 make the output 5 – or whatever, these numbers are arbitrary, it is just a conversion matrix – take this, make it that. This can happen to the image over all or per colour channel (RGB). For example in the red channel use LUT A to make 1 = 7 but in the blue channel use LUT B to make 1=15.
What’s the difference between a 1D-LUT and a 3D-LUT?
This explanation over on the Fuji film site is mildly technical, but still explains things to an accessible level of detail. I’ll paraphrase it as best I understand it.
With a 1D-LUT you’ve got some control, but not that much control. So if you increase contrast in your image, you will increase saturation, because the values are tied together in the simple chart, take this and make it that.
With a 3D LUT you have more control over transforming these values separately and in combination. Here you can create “a set of the combination of three inputs defining the combination of R, G, and B values; not of one where each input refers to one unique output”. This allows for greater control, for example, increasing contrast without increasing saturation.
This explanation on LUTS from Light Illusion is also well worth a read and is also helpful on explaining 3D LUTS.
In essence, what a 3D LUT does is take an input value and generate a new output value, for each and every RGB triplet.
This short video from Ground Control Color will give you a good overall understanding of the premise of a LUT and is humorous, which is a bonus.
What are the different types of LUTS for?
In this post over on Mixing Light.com you can learn a little bit about the different types of LUTS as colorist Patrick Inhofer defines them. He broadly divides LUTS into Technical LUTS and Creative LUTS.
Technical LUTS – These types of LUTs are designed to transform an image from one colour space / gamut to another. The end goal is to have the same image look perceptually identical on two different viewing devices. [A perfect match every time]
Creative LUTS – These types of LUTs can be generated in software, allowing, for instance, completely different grading apps to share looks between them. [These are the types of LUTS you’re thinking of when you think about LUTS – a cool Look]
Patrick goes on to explain the problems can occur when we use a creative LUT as if it were a technical LUT. He gives the example of the ARRI Alexa Log-C to Rec 709 LUT, which takes a flat image and expands it out to make it look ‘normal’ for us (used to, as we are the Rec.709 colour space). The problem is that if you have a bright shot next to a dark shot and you slap the same LUT on them, you will have two very different looking images come out the otherside because a LUT cannot account for differences in exposure.
UPDATE – Mixing Light colorist and trainer Robbie Carman has put together an even more detailed primer on LUTS in this recent Mixing Light Insight.
Over many different Insights and in many different ways Dan, Patrick and I have explained LUTs, how we use them, and best practices including some that I’ll go over again in this Insight, but that info is spread out across dozens of videos and articles here on mixinglight.com and some of those articles are from a years ago (yes, we are entering our fourth year of operation)! This Insight is about avoiding the common mistakes/pitfalls you’re likely to make with Look Up Tables.
This is one of the reasons colorists like Patrick and the Coloristo’s are at pains to get people to understand that you can’t ‘slap a LUT on it’ and expect great results every time, you have to do more work than that. You can hear them chat about that in more detail in this previous post I wrote about LUTS, over on Premiumbeat.com.
For further reading this explanation from Abel Cine on the difference between LUTS, Looks and Scene Files is also worth a read.
Download 66 Free LUTS
Here is a quick run down of some places you can yourself some free LUTS, and I’ve indicated what you need to do to get them. If you need a helpful guide on how to apply these LUTS in DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X or Avid Media Composer, you can’t really do better than this post from Andy Shipsides over on Abel Cine.
It’s worth noting that at the minute you need a third party app to apply LUTS to all footage in FCPX, here Andy uses LUT Utility from Color Grading Central. That said, you can use FCPX’s built in LOG LUTS to convert LOG footage from certain cameras and this 3 minute Premiumbeat tutorial shows you how.
1. Color Grading Central – In partnership with visionCOLOR, free M31 Blockbuster orange/teal LUT from the Osiris LUT pack, 6 ImpulZ Kodak & Fuji LUTs profiled for generic LOG and Rec709 profiles. Plus 20 Luster Grade Presets, FCPX Cinelook film look plugin, 30 x 35mm and 16mm film burns/light leaks. Cost: Email sign up. [Find these under Free Gifts and the ImpulZ and Osiris pages.]
UPDATE – Denver just released a whole new pack of LUTs called ASCEND which you can grab 3 freebies from, on the Color Grading Central site.
2. Colorist Juan Melara – Four free film print emulation LUTS for Fuji Film 3510 and 3513, K0dak 2383 and 2393, plus Video to LOG conversion LUT. Cost: None. Direct Download links: Film LUTS – Video2LOG
3. DELUTS – Four free LUTS. One ‘hipster armchair LUT’ and 3 x Zacuto Gratical LUTS. Cost: None. DELUTS creator James Miller also has a Sellfy page where you can grab free 8mm film components including masks, 8mm film scan, 8mm gate mask, sprocket mask (white & black) and film grain. Cost: Tweet/FB like.
4. Filmmaker Tom Majerski – VisionT emulation LUT (Kodak Vision 3 500T) and Tcolor LUT (Technicolor Process 4 -Vibrant). Both designed specifically for Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera. Cost: None.
5. iwltbap – 3 x free creative look luts 8700, Aspen and Sedona. Cost: None
5. SmallHD – 7 free LUTS based on the look of popular movies. Cost: None.
6. DigitalColorist.com – 10 free creative looks. Cost: Email sign up.
7. Ground Control Color – 6 x Camera specific LUTS and Rec. 709 conversions and 3 x Creative Looks. Cost: Email sign up.
8. Motion Array – 10 free creative look LUTS. Cost: None.
Update – Motion Array now offer 10 more Action Movie LUTS.
9. Filmmaker Frank Glencairn – Free Kodachrome 828 film emulation ‘K-Tone’ LUT for LOG footage. Cost: None.
11. Light Illusion – 3 free creative look LUTS – Film Look for Log footage, Film Look for TV Legal footage, ARRI Log Look LUT based on ACES data. Cost: Contact form download request.
As a bonus you can also download 77 .look files for use in Premiere Pro or Speedgrade and 44 FCPX colorboard presets from Oliver Peters excellent website, Digitalfilms.
Creating and Customising LUTS in DaVinci Resolve
If you’re looking to get more from these free LUTS watch this 20 minute tutorial from smallHD, which demonstrates how to work best with LUTS from serveral different camera sources and modify any given LUT inside the free version of DaVinci Resolve and finally export those to use elsewhere (11 min in). In Resolve this is actually very easy to do, just click on a thumbnail in the colour timeline, right click and hit Generate 3D LUT.
This 10 minute tutorial from Denver Riddle is a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn what LUTs are, how to use them in various scenarios. A good foundation for anyone new to using these in your grade. Denver also posted a new tutorial explaining the what, when and why of using his new ASCEND LUTs, which you can watch on Facebook here.
UPDATE: Organising your LUT Collection
Ground Control Color’s blog has a useful quick tip on how to organise that epic LUT list you’ve probably now got to wrestle with, inside of DaVinci Resolve. Casey’s trick is to create a ‘junk draw’ of stuff you don’t need that often, removing them from the pull down list, and sweeping them into one ‘Other’ folder.
Here’s the trick though: Resolve will group LUTs into folders that contain ONLY LUTS. So if there are sub-folders inside of the “Other” folder, all those sub-folders will still show up in Resolve’s list.
Mixing Light also has a good tutorial on how to create a visual representation of every LUT in your library, which will give you a much more accessible and intuitive way to decide which LUT to apply. You’ll need to be a member to watch it, or you can take a free 24 hour test drive to check it out as well.
Buy Colour Grading LUTS
So all those free LUTS aren’t enough for you eh? Well, if you want to get your hands on more LUTS for your expanding library of go-to looks and transforms, then here are a few places you can splash your hard earned cash. It is worth considering that it is incredibly easy for anyone to create LUTs and sell them online, so it’s probably a good idea to download some of the free ones to try-before-you-buy and see how effective they are when deciding on a reputable supplier.