With the vast improvements added to color grading applications in the recent years (from the introduction of Adobe’s Lumetri Color panel in Premiere Pro to the fast-growing number of features implemented in DaVinci Resolve), utilizing LUTs has become a common practice for many seasoned colorists and enthusiasts alike allowing them to not only color grade a multitude of shots in a quick manner but also to express their artistic vision through colors more effectively.
In terms of practicality, look-up tables can be a quite efficient asset when you want to modify the colors of your videos to achieve particular visual aesthetics in a few easy steps or when you’re just trying to mimic a specific film stock. Whatever the case, Sidney Diongzon will walk us through the process of using LUTs for color grading in Premiere Pro CC in the video tutorial below.
First off, before you begin color grading your footage, the general rule of thumb is to make sure that all your editing is more or less complete. Color grading is usually reserved for the final stages in most post-production workflows, so it’s best to save the color work for later.
That being said, the first step in Premiere Pro CC is to create an adjustment layer, which is where the Lumetri Color panel comes into play. This trick allows you to easily apply a LUT to all your footage without having to copy and paste the effect to each clip. If you find that one setting on the adjustment layer can’t get the look you want for every shot, you may be better off applying the LUT to each clip and adjusting its settings accordingly.
Once the layer is created, open up the Lumetri Color panel. You can do this by either switching to the Color Workspace or just opening the panel on its own. To apply the LUT, click on the Creative tab and then under the Look drop-down menu browse through the selection of LUTs included with Premiere. Feel free to experiment with different LUTs and find out which one is the best fit for your project. If you want to use a custom preset, click on Browse in the menu and navigate to the LUT pack of your choosing. You can also open your LUT in the Basic Correction tab of the Lumetri panel.
The reason why it’s recommended to import the LUT while using the Creative tab, however, is the ability to adjust the intensity of the LUT, thus helping you to fine-tune the look of your footage more precisely while having greater control over the process. Keep in mind, though, that the LUT you have imported into Lumetri may not give you the exact look you’re going after right off the bat. That’s okay since the image can still be adjusted using the various settings in the Lumetri panel. For instance, you can tweak the intensity of the LUT, sharpness, saturation, vibrance, shadow/highlight tint under the Creative tab.
Furthermore, you can try adjusting the basic properties of the image under the Basic Correction tab as well. In here, you can modify the regular color correction settings familiar to many, including white balance, tint, exposure, contrast, shadows/highlights, and blacks/whites.
Those were just a few guidelines on how to use LUTs in Premiere Pro CC, although it’s important to experiment with different LUT packs to narrow down the list of options. Color grading may take a lot of your creative energy, but if you spend enough time on practicing, you should be able to end up with some decent results sooner rather than later.