What is a LUT?

LUTS - Technical Whitepaper



D r. Mitch Bogdanowicz has worked as a color scientist at Kodak Eastman for 32 years and generated LUTs for the motion picture industry all those years. In this technical whitepaper he explains the different types of LUTs, how to invert them and how they are created.

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That is an interesting question @Aldo Barba!

Since the Lut usually starts with a film type emulation (or not if it is designed to go either before or after an existing lut) any of the properties, i.e, negative tone scale, print tone scale, color contrast (degree of saturation), gamma, system color matrix, display characteristics, etc. are able to be changed. Also, targeted color space within the cube can be altered, i.e., if the XYZ of a certain area (possibly a red area of an apple) is targeted one might choose to replace the output of the cube with a different color, maybe making the apple green or maybe just neutral.

One creative lut i did for my colorist daughter Jill while she was working on The Grand Budapest Hotel was used in a scene in the beginning of the movie to impart a Technicolor 2-strip type of look. This was a bit more involved, but it allowed her to color fine tune without using the color corrector software. Avoids some artifacts if the software is driven too hard.

Other luts that are creative can be created via a mathematical transform (if you know what you want in math terms) or statistical (if you can use regression techniques etc. to alter the lut) transform.

Bottom line .....  in the creative world anything goes. No common ground .... except the direction of the cinematographer to the colorist ..... Make it look like this !!!

Cheers Mitch
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