How to Make a Lazy LUT

On some projects with limited time or means for color correction, the best option is to bake a look directly into your camera.  A basic REC709 curve can give you a "normal" looking image that is passable, but once in a while it is nice to a have a look tailored to your tastes or to match the look of another camera you are shooting with. There are many great mathematically accurate ways of doing this (which I will not discuss now, but basically involve measuring the RGB values in decimal points and plotting them onto a graph), but I will describe a simple, non-mathematical way of creating a look to use in-camera.

Download the most recent version of DaVinci Resolve here. The non-studio version is free. 

  1. Shoot your test footage on the camera
    Make sure you are using the codec settings you will be using for your shoot.  Do not add any 709 curves, LUTS, matrix settings, or looks of any type. The 'raw' image should look grey and flat. Make sure your exposure setting, f-stop range of the environment, color temperature, and ISO are all similarly set to how you intend to shoot when using your LUT.  Including a grey card and skin tone is helpful. 
  2. Bring your footage into DaVinci
    - Create a new project file
    - Load clips into Media Pool
    - Go to "Edit" in bottom tab
    - Create a new timeline
    - Drag clips onto Timeline
    - Go to "Color" in bottom tab
  3. Create your look
    To alter the image to your liking in the most simple way, click on the thumbnail of the clip. Use the adjustment curves on the bottom right. There are tiny dark grey dots by the luminance curves charts. Click through these dots and make changes to luminance, hue, and saturation charts. Be sure to check your scopes: Go to View: Video Scopes
  4. Export your look as a LUT
    When you are happy with your image and ready to export your look right click on the original thumbnail and go to generate 3D LUT (.cube) 
  5. Save your look to your camera via an SD Card
    Load the .cube file onto an SD card. Put in your cameras correct file structure on the SD card so it can recognize the card. For the FS7 the card file structure is below. 


Insert the card into your camera and open the .cube file. by going to the File menu then "Monitor 3D Lut" and select "Load SD Card."  Save as User 1, 2, 3, or 4 and make sure to select that User LUT and turn on the LUT in your viewfinder and recording settings to view or bake it in. 

Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom! You got a LUT.