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Low Budget Filmmaking

Making Video Look Like Film with LUTs

On 19, Oct 2013 | 8 Comments | In Low Budget Filmmaking, Production | By vashi

Digital Video is the de facto capture medium for almost all productions these days. The cost, ease and immediacy are all significant factors that make it so appealing. The visual aesthetic of film is the ultimate goal for many filmmakers and there are many methods, on every budget, that can be used to achieve it.

I still shoot a lot of narrative work with the Canon 5DMKII and I know the camera inside out. I know its strengths and weaknesses but ultimately love the full frame look it delivers and its ease of use. My main picture style has been VisionColor for its gorgeous skin tones and VisionTech for its lifted blacks that retain color info for later grading. I wanted to try out VisionColor’s new LUT package ‘OSIRIS’. I bought OSIRIS to test out the 9 film stock and color emulations it offers. To my eye, they are very cinematic and organic feeling.

The 9 LUTs included in Osiris

Osiris has 9 cinematic LUTs that emulate film stocks and colors

In my test, I wanted to try something different. I shot with the Canon 5DMKII and a Nikon 85mm f1.4 AIS manual lens. I aimed my shot down the California Incline which connects Santa Monica to the Pacific Coast Highway. I set the focus about 5 feet in front of me so the cars would come into focus as they approached and passed the lens. The background of PCH and the Pacific Ocean are blurry so I could marinate in the OSIRIS LUTs and just feel them as opposed to trying to nitpick them. At the end of the day…OSIRIS feels very filmic to me and I know I will using these LUTs on upcoming projects.

I used OSIRIS directly in Adobe Premiere Pro CC to apply the LUTs.
It works in just about every NLE and FX software.
Kudos to VisionColor! Check out my test video below:



Until next time…


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  1. I love these LUTs. I did a similar comparison myself (see below). I love how it retains the skin color and shifts the other colors around to get that cinematic/filmic “feel”.

  2. Hey Vashi,

    Great interview on Go Creative, thanks for sharing. How does the VisionColor/ VisionTech picture style differ from Shane Hurlbut’s 5D Mark II tutorial on setting up the camera? Do you know how it compares to C-Log? I’m sometimes intermixing footage from C100 and 5D2, works great in good light, but am wishing for more with the 5D2 in low-light. I know the 5D2 isn’t the best for low-light, but how does the VisionColor/VisionTech hold up?


    • vashi

      Thanks for listening to my rambling babbles! So much to talk about and so little time.
      In terms of my affection for VisionColor and VisionTech…here’s the breakdown.
      Shane’s recommendation for the 5DMKii is the neutral setting with no sharpness, minimum contrast and one notch down for saturation. It’s the same that Vincent Laforet has used and what Stu Maschwitz recommends for his Prolost picture style. Shane goes further to suggest you color balance the camera individually so that skintones are adjusted…per camera.

      What VisionColor does is give you the optimal neutral-like setting and from what I’ve gathered…make the skin tone adjustments for you to give you an optimal all-in picture style. I’ve used it exclusively for the last 2 years and had nothing but wonderful results. It allows me to keep the most information in the image and then drop the blacks and add the saturation I need.

      VisionTech raises the black levels to allow more color information to be captured in low light situations…that can then be pushed back down while retaining the color information. It’s not as harsh as Technicolor’s Cinestyle which for me ended up with noisy footage after color grading. You simply can’t make 8-bit footage behave and respond to a full log profile without some negative repercussions. Again..that’s only my analysis after using Cinestyle and I have seen good results but the workflow was just to deep and layered to get to a beautiful image without denoising and additional steps.

      VisionTech for me has been the best low light picture for the 5DMKii as it captures the most information and lets me color grade it after with the least amount of noise and issues.

      C100 C-Log is very strong but the codec is only 24 Mbps. I would say you can easily intercut C 100 and properly exposed 5DMKii VisionTech footage with no issues.

      I hope that helps in your journey for good low light solutions and options!

      • Very helpful! I’m also excited to hear more about the documentary on PTSD you are working on, I’m a Marine combat vet myself and have a number of friends who have killed themselves or are struggling with things that happened over there. I think it will be good for people to see how “normal” their behavior is upon returning from combat, there aren’t many (if any) films out that really how the struggle. Thanks again for the reply!

  3. nothing gives away DSLR like handheld, no matter what LUT you apply to your footage.

    • vashi

      Totally agree. 85mm Nikon AIS hard to handhold. Next time I will do slider shots on a British beach.

      • hardy har har – i’m not knocking you, just commenting

        • vashi

          No worries…I didn’t think you were. The Film “look” has so many components. I only focused on the LUTs to get a sense of their color science, nothing more.

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