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WHY I BUILD LUTS

Let me address the question of why not just use the native tools inside DaVinci Resolve to create film stock or film prints. There is this article by Steve Yedlin entitled: “Two Kind Of Saturation” where he writes about how film doesn’t produce “garish reds” and how difficult it is to get a “deep rich saturated red” using native grading tools.

If you use “regular desaturation tools” the garish red often becomes grayish. Using “other math” gives you a red that looks more like a film would capture. Here’s an example:

A shows “normal desaturation” methods, which often end up in a grayish red.
B shows a different method that transforms a garish red more into a “film red”.

I’ll start with this very simple test and show you three different methods to turn a garish red into “film red”. I’ve tried to keep the other colors untouched, no matter if they are as garish as the red.

DETAILS

Of course there are more tools/techniques than HSL Curves and Color Warper, but in my experience it’s not possible to get results as clean as with 3D math that can be stored in a LUT.

Sure, a LUT is a “black box”, but it can transform color information in a very broad and clean way.


CREATING LUTS

THE ART OF CODE

Back in the 90s, I was part of the Demoscene. I created 3D shapes and worked with programmers to artistically rotate, stretch, scale and shape incoming data. Working with a 3D cube, collect, transform and sculpt data using math and make sure nothing will break is very familiar to me.

Creating LUTs is a long process. Converting data from color patches can be partially automated using various tools, but you still have to make manual decisions in the process of creating LUTs.

For now, I won’t go into detail on how to create LUTs exactly, but I want to share two videos about the artistic aspect of what code can do. The first is a 90 minute documentary about the 80’s and 90’s demoscene entitled:
Demoscene – The Art of the Algorithms (2012)” and the second video is called “The Art of Code – By Dylan Beattie“.

Code can free us from the limitations of tools within a grading software and create strokes that otherwise would not be possible.

Demoscene – The Art of the Algorithms
The Art of Code – Dylan Beattie

SHOULD I USE LUTS?

HOW TO FIND OUT WHICH LUTS I CAN TRUST

If you want to learn more about using LUTs, I recommend the “Masters of Color” Podcast. Cullen Kelly is interviewing renowned colorists and speaks about the art and science of high-end color grading. Of course, not every colorist has to become a programmer. Large studios have their own software developer/color scientist. You don’t have to code/shape LUTs yourself to become a great colorist.

In my opinion, it’s important that you understand what LUTs can do, how to test them, and make sure they are the right tools for what you’re trying to achieve.


KD 2254 KEM

inspired by SHIFTai

“SHIFTai” is a method developed by FotoKem to ‘use’ film without ‘shooting’ film. Visit the FotoKems SHIFTai website for more information.

Quote: “Digital footage is laser recorded to a new film negative, printed, and scanned back to digital, ‘Shifting’ the digital image with the subtle nuances and inherent qualities of film negative and print.”

The film stock used is a “Kodak 2254”. The final print is a “Kodak 2383”. I designed the LUT for “Arri LogC” and graded it underneath the Kodak 2383 LUT D60 by DaVinci Resolve using 3D math. Based on data from the footage available online. Here you can see the result:

BUTTERFLY COMPARISON VIDEO

SHIFTai vs. LUT

Images courtesy of V-Film. All Rights Reserved
Butterfly Comparison – Print-Scan vs. LUT: https://vimeo.com/685093740
Original SHIFTai Demo by FotoKem: https://vimeo.com/596236368/539fa37a38

While there’s a lot of guesswork involved, on the whole I’m happy with the results for now. Note that this LUT was created based on the data and information available online. It was tricky to work without any color patches.

My goal was to create a LUT that can be applied to all different scenes without additional grading. That worked pretty well.

In addition to the LUT, I added the following nodes:
Soften, Gate Weave, Film Damage Overlay, Flicker, Grain.

In some scenes, the skin tone is slightly different. I’m not entirely happy with the RGB mix either, especially the dark blue, which creates some noise. The LUT is not “perfectly clean” at this stage (V1), I hope to adapt it better in future versions. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the current result and I hope that you like it too.


KD 5213

Inspired by Kodak VISION3 200T
Color Negative Film 5213

CST to Arri Alexa / LogC + KD 5213 LUT + KODAK 2383 D65 LUT

The KD 5213 is designed after the Kodak Vision3 200T Color Negative Film. I used this LUT in all the example images and also in the Video “Illuminate – Film Emulation in DaVinci Resolve” Video. The LUT has been stress tested and do not cause any artifacts.

All LUTs created expects “Arri Alexa / Arri LogC” (Color Space / Gamma) as input signal and are designed to work with DaVinci Resolve’s Rec709 Print Film Emulation LUTs, which expects “Rec709 / Cineon Film Log” (Color Space / Gamma).


Have fun.

If you have any questions / suggestions / comments, feel free
to contact me at stefanATmononodesDOTcom