Shooting in S-Log is one of the most common traits of achieving cinematic look these days and a great way to optimise the imaging capabilities and capture full dynamic range of the latest generation camera sensors. More and more camera manufacturers are implementing this feature in their entry-level models which makes this option more accessible not only to seasoned professionals and high-end productions but also for independent filmmakers and smaller production facilities.
LUTs are an important ingredient in the Log workflow as they essentially interpret your Log camera signal in a certain way thus outputting the given colour information to your monitor without affecting the recorded footage. LUTs also serve as a great reference point when it comes to colour correcting and colour grading of your footage later in post. There are many online free sources out there that provide different custom LUTs that you can download, however if you like to create and custom your own LUTs here is a great tool called LUT Calculator that you might find useful and implement in your daily Log workflow.
The following two-part introductory videos cover the basic operation of LUTCalc for generating LUTs and the customizations and effects you can do with the app.
In essence, LUTCalc is a desktop app for generating, analysing and previewing 1D and 3D Lookup Tables (LUTs) for video cameras that shoot log gammas created and developed by the UK-based professional lighting cameraman and DoP Ben Turley. It’s worth noting that the project started out as a simple spreadsheet for generating S-Log2 exposure shift LUTs for Sony’s F5 and F55 cameras.
Later on, Ben Turley has developed it into a flexible tool for creating and customising certain ‘looks’. LUTCalc works with almost all available log flavours today, plus standard gammas such as Rec709 and manufacturer-tuned versions. The application provides detailed exposure information about any look it generates, such as the recorded levels for absolute black, a correctly exposed 18% grey card or 90% white card and others along with a number of built-in test images with charts such as high contrast and low contrast, gray-scale and full-colour gamut.
You can also convert between any of the included log and conventional gammas or to one of a number of creative looks modelled after those available in-camera, either as a 1D tone curve only conversion, or as a full 3D colour space conversion. LUTCalc also lets users customise looks to taste, adjust colour temperature either by CTO / CTB as with gels or by source and desired colour temperature, take white balances from test images, output to any of a number of common LUT formats and more.
LUTCalc is currently available in three versions: as an online Web App (free), as a Mac OSX App (paid) and as a Google Chrome Desktop App (paid). You can test out the online free version of the app here.
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