What Are LUTs?

By Kevin Graham

If you’ve ever edited or colored video footage, you’ve probably heard of LUTs.

At its most basic level, a LUT is a preset that you can apply to raw footage to achieve a more desirable look.

To dive deeper, LUT is an acronym for “Lookup Table”, which transforms color input values to adjusted output values, therefore altering how an image looks.

For example, a common practice is to apply a standard Rec. 709 LUT to flat, raw footage, which increased contrast and saturation for a more realistic image to edit with.

So how do you use a LUT, and why would you use one?

In most editing programs, a LUT can be applied directly to footage on your timeline. You can then tweak the color of that footage further, just like you would without the LUT being there.

The beauty of LUTs is that they’re generally designed for certain cameras and certain looks, which can speed up your color process immensely.

You can even batch-apply a LUT to your entire edit!

You can download countless LUTs online for every camera and look imaginable.

And if you know how to use them, they can take your editing process and final look to a whole new level.

Kevin is the Music Director and Lead Composer at Filmpac.

FILMPAC Filmpac is a premium stock footage + music membership library.