Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Coloring is no different. We wanted to put together a small guide to help you determine which pack, or packs, you think could serve you the best. Since everyone is different, we wanted to help run through a series of questions and scenarios to help break down the kinds of things you should consider when you’re creating your footage.
Which LUT pack should I buy?
What kind of work do you shoot?
The kind of work you shoot is going to really impact the latitude you have in post-production, as well as the variables of control that you have while you are shooting. Commercial work can lend itself to having days, if not weeks of pre-production, dialing in lighting, set, and creative theory.
Weddings, on the other hand, are typically run-and-gun. You might be lucky if you get a break, let alone the ability to choose the lighting scenario.
For weddings, there are so many variables to the day that having a really “trusty” color grade can be really helpful to help finalize films and see them through the variety of variables you encounter. Most of the time, it helps to rely on something that will render colors true-to-life.
We love Dolce for this reason. It works well, is generally non-destructive in color theory, and helps provide a strong color system throughout the pack.
When shooting editorials, you may not have the entire set of a commercial shoot, but you are more likely to have the creative freedom to determine your shoot times, locations, and, generally, most of the things you don’t get to control with weddings.
The Stratus pack brings so many lifestyle elements into the pack. From colors that are seen among lifestyle and travel bloggers to muted tones that adapt well to urban editorial, it’s a pretty strong choice if you’re shooting both weddings and editorial.
Coloring for commercial films is often uniquely different than coloring for weddings because you’re often asked to deliver a specific type of grade and edit the has been pre-determined by a client, agency, or art director.
Since there is often ample time to build out a set and lighting system to fit the mood, it really comes down to nailing shots in camera and then coloring them in a way that enhances the dialed light. We think Stratus is great starting point for both populist and expected colors.
What element is most important to you?
Every filmmaker cares about different elements of a film. When we were building Gamut we wanted to create an easy way for you to think about your films and why you were choosing the colors you were during the grading process. Here is what we came up with:
Mood: How you want your films to feel
Environment: How the filmmaker approaches the situation (people, location, energy)
Palette: Design theory behind the shoot (colors, brand assets, wardrobe)
Films have a way of allowing emotions to rush back without warning. Sadness. Fear. Love. Joy. Understanding. Whatever you desire your viewer to feel, we want to help you get there.
For a profound sense of wonder and quiet, we think the Lotus pack offers some of the most dynamic flexibility in mood. From dramatic lighting to back-lit sunsets, between the highlight and shadow casting, it is reminiscent of pushed film that feels deeply nostalgic.
Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from a shoot until you arrive on set or at a wedding. For all of you that forge ahead into the unknown, we wanted to have LUTs that, for all the variables you experience, could consistently make an unfamiliar environment more familiar.
Adagio is full of bright whites, ephemeral pinks, blush, and soft blues. Because of this, whether you’re in harsh light or indoors, Adagio has the ability to help you consistently conform your environment to your needs.
In addition to the feeling of the film and the location and casting/people that are on set, the design theory is an integral part of grading and editing. Whether you’re trying to tie in brand assets from a client or wanting to highlight the details a couple has put together, the palette can be a starting point for so many filmmakers.
We love Stratus for it’s palette, because it can be utilized for so many applications. From lifestyle bloggers to brand films to weddings; it is able to be contextualized for the palette your shoot requires.
What is your approach to Color?
There isn’t one right way to see color. It’s personal and it will vary from person-to-person. Because of this, we encourage everyone to have an intentional approach to their visual language.
Some filmmakers want to create a vision and color spectrum that is entirely their own. Even if it isn’t as favorable to all lighting conditions, having a “signature look” can set you apart.
While we think all of our LUTs are great starting points, Free the Bird has a strong sense of color dynamics and has a strong latitude for both cool and warm. We think these LUTs can be modified to help you achieve a one-of-a-kind look.
Dialing in Color so that it just looks right seems like a thankless (and endless) task. Despite having been preset for so many of the films that we color, recalling the color exactly as it was can be frustratingly difficult.
We think Dolce is a great place to start your journey towards true-color. Dolce preserves whites and skin-tones and tends to just bring a bit more vivacity to life. While certainly not simple, it doesn’t overcomplicate.
Building a portfolio that has a consistent look across every film is one of the most difficult tasks as a filmmaker. It’s easy to be excited by trends and its normal to evolve, but some filmmakers want to create a consistent mood and look across their films without going overboard.
If that sounds like you, then we suggest Timbre. With warm notes in the shadows and subtle greens, this pack works in woodsy and urban environments and has a handful of LUTs that maintain the same color system.