Dan Mulligan of Rogue Element Films gives his advice on the use and abuse of Look Up Tables (LUTs) in digital cinematography
A basic view on LUTs
It’s important to understand that firstly this is not grading on-set. The grading is done in the post facility with something like a Baselight/Pogle. What we are doing is interpreting the colour intention of the photography as it is shot to give the grading and post team a good base from which to start from. We are creating a continuous colour pipeline from on-set colour decisions all the way through post, and thus keeping the intents of the DP from the set through into post. Important colour decisions made on-set can now be visually interpreted by post with a clear understanding of the DP’s intentions.
Essentially colour management
Things may change further down the line, but the DP’s decisions made on-set are now clear to all. Although talented graders need only a few seconds to correct an image, at least they have the DP’s colour ideas with which to start from – and it helps. Post houses can also help set LUTs before photography begins, leaving no doubt about how digital dailies and reference DVDs will look – this again helps DPs and post work together to achieve the same colour path. Digital Cinematography should try to retain the correct colour intention from acquisition, to on-set displays and through post production to final print release. continues..