What is a LUT? A creative journey to greatness

If you’re a budding filmmaker or photographer looking to make an impact on your audience, then it’s likely visuals play a huge part in expressing your idea.

Throughout the creative journey of learning and mastering your craft, you are quite often, perhaps seeking the level of quality and finish demonstrated by professionals.

So how can you make you media projects look more professional and cinematic?

It’s a good question with a million answers.

The legendary Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) quickly became a classic with it’s glowing neon lights, night scenes, constant rain and a heavy focus on 2 colours – blue and orange (sound familiar?).

One of the easiest ways filmmakers and photographers improve the aesthetic of their media is by using Colour Grading.

Colour grading allows you to fine tune the colours in the image, or completely transform them.

These changes can make a big difference to the overall appearance of the image and creates a unique ‘look’ that can be used throughout the production with ease.

Cult-classic movies like Blade Runner, 300, 8mile and Moonrise Kingdom to name a few, all demonstrated how tailoring the colours to the mood of the film, gave birth to the ‘signature look’ we all remember them by.

Zack Snyder’s ‘300’ (2007) taking on another approach with a focus on dramatic lighting, grainy noise effect and an emphasis on rich red and golden tones.

So this brings us to the question, what is a LUT?

A Lookup Table (LUT) is a file with a selection of settings and preferences, that can be applied to your project media to instantly apply all of those adjustments.

This applies to digital photos and video.

Most likely, you are just one person, doing every single part of the project yourself.

Colour grading can be a very time-consuming part of the production process that can set you back for time.

The beauty of a LUT preset is – it eliminates the need to enhance every photo or clip from scratch each time.

You can search for thousands of LUTs on the internet.

Of course most will proclaim to be ‘the only LUT pack you will need.’

Truth is – that’s garbage.

I would recommend trying out a range of different preset styles and from different creators.

Delete presets you don’t like, and replace them with presets you will actually use.

When it comes to creativity, versatility is one of our greatest weapons afterall, so we don’t want to be limited for choice.

Download the ones you wish, apply them to your project and instantly notice the difference.

Applying a LUT doesn’t mean you won’t have to make any other adjustments to the photo, still continue to fine tune the lighting and other areas as you see necessary.

LUT presets are compatible with all major photo, video and design editing software.

(Adobe Lightroom/Final Cut Pro/Photoshop CS6/CC, Magix Vegas Pro 16/17, Davinci Resolve) and others that accept .cube format LUT files.

Now that you know what LUTs are… go and download some to spice up your projects!

Here at Lions Detour, we have just finished creating our first LUT Preset Pack.

Inspired by the natural tones and hues of the forest and woodland combined with the nostalgic “Film Camera” effect – “we would like to say, “they are a whole heap better than those tacky ‘insta filters’, thank you!”

If you’d like to see a preview of each preset, please head over to our store.

We are offering the Woodland Film Grade LUT Pack containing 16 amazing presets for £16, that’s $20 for our ‘merican Lions across the ocean!

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