A big part of what makes the ARRI ALEXA such a well-loved camera system is the color science. For decades they have been almost unmatched in this area.
As digital has continued to develop and better and better cameras have become available to your everyday filmmaker that high-end ARRI color science has remained locked into extremely expensive equipment.
Or, you could try to get that color science even when using the much more reasonably priced Pocket Cinema Cameras from Blackmagic. Filmmaker Christopher Michael Law thinks that working with Phantom LUTs might get you a look that closely mimics that distinct ARRI color.
Phantom LUTs are the star of this video. Developed by cinematographer Joel Famularo specifically to mimic the ARRI look and customized for certain cameras, these are considered to be incredibly accurate.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an ARRI ALEXA to do a direct comparison, but that might actually be okay since now we are just going to check out whether the final footage looks good.
The ARRI Look pack includes:
- Neutral (Emulated ARRI Rec.709)
- Tungsten (Warmer Tones)
- Ice Blue (Cooler Tones and Deep Blues)
- Jamaica (Green and Gold Cast)
- Utopia (Filmic Look with Deep Reds and Blues)
Just checking out some quick footage it looks quite good. The Neutral and Utopia are the favorites though it’ll probably depend on your subject matter.
All the looks are fairly subtle. One piece of feedback he has is that it might lean a little too much towards magenta.
Blackmagic has been working on their own color science, now sitting at Gen 5 while making some great improvements. One test is seeing how this compares to the Phantom LUTs.
They look fairly close with the Gen 5 science being a little more magenta and darker. Adding some green, making it cooler, and dropping the exposure to match they become incredibly close.
Workflow is incredibly simple. He sets up grading using three nodes. The first is for slight exposure changes, the second is to correct color temperature, and the third is just for the LUT.
Now, while you could just stop there and get some decent footage. Realistically, you are going to apply a more creative grade to the shot. Most films don’t just stick with the general ARRI color and instead do a lot of work during grading. People still prefer ARRI because it is a good starting point.
These LUTs are pricier than a lot of alternatives. Are they worth it? Well, maybe. If you are looking to get the ARRI look and want a simple solution then this is probably the best and easiest way. Joel even keeps them updated over time.
[source: Christopher Michael Law]
- Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio (B&H, Amazon)
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- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 (B&H, Amazon)
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro (B&H, Amazon)
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