You don’t need a whole lot of bells and whistles to make your film look cinematic.
This is probably one of the most asked questions in the indie/low budget film community: How do you make a film look cinematic? It’s a difficult question to answer, because there are so many important elements that help make a film look that way, like lighting, camera movement, and set design, all of which take years of experience and practice. However, if you’re looking for cheap and easy ways to make your work look more cinematic right now,Armando Ferreira has 5 tips that will help you do just that, here.
Here’s a snippet from GroundControl’s Ultimate LUT Guide regarding LUT Best Practices…
LUT Best Practices
There are many schools of thought on how to use a LUT.
Some people say you should never use them and they’re horrible. But let’s remember, a LUT is a tool to help you out. You can definitely use it wrong, but using it right will give your great results.
So… a couple quick tips:
1) Adjust colors and tweak your image BEFORE the LUT. Your LUT is adding a certain style to the footage, if you don’t want to mess with the style, tweak your image before the LUT so that the LUT is the last thing the colors hit.
2) If you want to change the style of the LUT, adjust AFTER the LUT. But, be cafeful as most LUTs will do some kind of limiting to the image and may “Bake in” certain colors or lose detail in the highlights that you can’t get back while grading after the LUT.
3) There are no MAGIC LUTs. There isn’t a LUT out there that can make all of your footage look great 100% of the time. LUTs are designed for ideal WB and exposure. That means if your image isn’t exposed or balanced correctly, you’ll have to adjust the image before the LUT.
4) Don’t use a LUT for no dang reason. Know why you’re choosing a certain LUT or look. Be informed and make creative decisions. If you don’t know why you’re using a LUT, maybe consider if it’s good for your camera, lighting, and feeling you want the viewer to experience. Remember, LUTs are just a part of color grading, which is a very artistic medium. Don’t slap any old LUT on your shots and call ’em good.
Click here for their full article as well as a slew of fine video’s and LUT packages from GroundControl.
In this lesson you will learn how to create your own color Look Up Tables (commonly referred to as LUTs) in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro.
What You Need
Besides After Effects or Premiere Pro, in order to follow along with this lesson you will need to download a free plug-in from Red Giant called LUT Buddy. LUT Buddy will let you generate and export the color information needed to create a LUT, which you can then use with any other software that supports LUTs.
I often refer to LUTs as ‘universal color presets’ because they work in a similar manner to a color preset, but they are universal in the sense that they can be used across a variety of different applications.
It is important to note that LUTs can only contain color values so, unlike effects presets, they can’t read things like blurs, sharpening, or grain if they are applied to your footage. These effects will actually cause errors if they are applied when you are exporting a LUT.
We start with the After Effects workflow in the video above. The Premiere Pro workflow is covered at 6:20 on.