How to work with LUTs

This article will show you how to apply and work with LUTs in Premiere Pro CC. It’s my go to NLE and most of the time I will do color correction/grading right into it rather than sending the project to Speedgrade or DaVinci Resolve, who are superior dedicated color correction program in my opinion, but who has time to do that when you are on a deadline!

First of all, if you do not know what a LUT is, it is a Look-Up-Table. Basically, it is a file containing color information that can be read and applied to other footage. Call it a “color┬ápreset” if you will, but it’s more complex than that.

Let’s begin!

ungraded dragon

First, with your footage laid in your project timeline, you need to add an effect to it. To do so, you will need to go in the Effects Panel and find Lumetri Color. Apply it to the footage by sliding the effect to your footage. Now in the Effects Control Panel

premiere pro lumetri

Now in the Effects Control Panel, you need to find Input LUT, under Basic Correction. From there, select browse and find your desired LUT on your computer.

premiere pro lut load

Voila! Well, almost. It may look good (or not) at this point. It all depends on the camera, the LUT, the color profile, the footage itself and many variables. Some LUTs are “Universal” but don’t apply 100% right to every camera. With my Sony cameras, I find that a lot of LUT applies pretty bang on, but with the C300, C100, Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs I always have to do some tweaking.

mid lut

Ok, so in this case, the LUT is applied but the highlights are a little too high. So we need to do some tweaking.

To do so, we can add a second Lumetri Color effect to the footage, I usually place this layer prior to the LUT to modify the image before the LUT is applied. It makes it easier to work with brightness and contrast. You can use the color correction tools we covered a few weeks ago to help you evaluate what to do your footage.

premiere pro highlights

In the new effect layer, we can tone down the highlights and boom! Perfect color grading for what we want!

And that is it! Keep in mind that it may be different for you, and, that is just one example but hopefully this will send you in the right direction.

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