LUTs can be an amazing resource for anyone creating video content. They can help transform your footage with minimal effort, but if you don’t know what you’re doing they can be tough to use.
It’s also important to understand what a LUT is and how to use them, so this article is going to cover the basics of LUTs so that you are better prepared to use them for your video footage. And check out our comprehensive list of the best free video luts available for download here.
This list includes free cinematic LUTs and free conversion LUTs for Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, and After Effects. And don’t forget to check out the 10 FREE VIDEO LUTs we’re giving away at the bottom of the article.
And if you’re using After Effects, make sure to check out our list of the Best After Effects Plugins.
What is a lut?
LUT stands for “look-up table”, and means that a LUT transforms color input values to different output values based on a calculation. In simpler terms, a LUT is a preset color grade for your video that can be applied to your footage during filming or in post production. There are also many types of LUTs that can be used for many different purposes.
When to use a LUT
Filmmakers, video editors, and colorists primarily use LUTs because they can save time. If they (or somebody else) has already taken the time to create the look they are going for, it is often easier to use a LUT instead of stating from scratch each time. Also, LUTs can be used for very specific scenarios like matching one camera to another, previewing a color grade on set, etc. We’ll go into further detail as we discuss the different types of LUTs.
Types of LUTs
- Transformation LUT: This type of LUT converts footage from one color space to another.
- Calibration LUT: This type of LUT is applied to reference monitors to ensure uniform color from one monitor to the next.
- Viewing LUT: These are used typically on set so that the footage can be viewed closer to how it will appear in post, which gives a better representation of lighting, skin tones, etc. For example, the LUT may convert from Log footage to Rec-709 footage, or it may even be a color grade that has already been created for the production.
- 1D LUT: This type of LUT is controlled by one value setting. While this achieves the general goal of a LUT, it does not provide you with the level of control most editors and colorists would prefer. They have the .lut extension.
- 3D LUT: A 3D LUT establishes color and luma in a 3d space, controlling hue, saturation, and brightness. They give the colorist much more control than a 1D LUTs, so they are more commonly used. They typically have the .cube extension
What type of LUT should I use?
The last thing we’ll discuss is what type of LUT you should use for your footage. To start, we’re gonna make the assumption that if you’re reading this article, then you’re looking for a LUT that can apply an overall, creative color grade to your video footage. So, here’s what you should ask yourself next.
- Is my footage log or Rec 709?
- What software am I using for editing?
- What look am I going for?
10 FREE VIDEO LUTS
We’ve created 10 free video LUTs that can be applied to directly to rec 709 footage. This means that if your footage is LOG, you just need to use a LOG to Rec 709 LUT before applying our LUT, which you can find here. These are .cube files, so they can be used in most NLEs, like Premiere Pro CC, FCPX, After Effects CC, DaVinci Resolve, etc.
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Check out some sample images below of before and after applying these free LUTs. Also, we put together a list of 266 free cinematic LUTs we’ve found online. These LUTs can be used with LOG or Rec 709 footage and can be used in almost any video editing software.