LUTs LUTs LUTs!!!
I have a few color grading questions surrounding LUTs. Preface: I fully understand what they are. And in full disclosure, I work in a small internal team where I am the post-production supervisor, and the motion designers/editors are tasked with the color grading. I understand LUTs are often used as quick adjustment snaps on-set or in post for off-line edits. Anywho...
1. We have DITs on set work that with the cinematographer to develop a custom LUT for each shoot. The type of work we do is very controlled and in studio. For the color grade, do you think this is an OK, from a professional practice standpoint, to use this as a starting board for the color grade?
2. Without custom LUTs, and just using the common, widely available LUTs, how often do serious color grades start from inputting one of those generic LUTs?
Thanks you in advance for your time.
I saw no answer to your question, so I'll pitch in.
A "temp LUT" is fine to get through the edit if it helps the creative team see a meaningful picture. And that includes on the set as well. It's up to the director and DP if they want to stick with that look throughout final color or not.
What I generally tell our clients to do is to give us a reference file that bakes in their LUT to the edited offline of the show, then we match our look in the color room using the reference as a comparison. My general choice is not to use the LUT but to reproduce those settings in a less-destructive way with the controls in the color correction system. 99% of the time, we can get there with no problem. Sometimes, we can come up with an alternate LUT that's not as extreme and gives us more "wiggle room" in terms of adjustment and detail.
The off-shelf LUTs from Arri are fine and can work to a point. I generally don't like the so-called "look LUTs" that are out there, but again, it's just a creative choice. It doesn't really matter how you get there, as long as the people supervising the final color session like the results, plus it's done on-time and on-budget. The advantage of doing a look from scratch is that you might wind up with a much better look than where you were in dailies. It's always good to have options.