best original LUT for Canon EOS R

Started Oct 24, 2019 | Discussions thread
MariusMasalar Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: best original LUT for Canon EOS R

They don't do a very good job of making it easy, but we can go on a journey to narrow down the best LUT from the many options they provide in the download. Skip to the end if you just want to see where we end up.

The purpose of these LUTs is to conform Log footage to a more useable form as the first part of preparing it for delivery. If you aren't shooting in CanonLog, you shouldn't be using these LUTs—they're not "creative look" LUTs, they're utility LUTs. They might look ok applied to certain neutral picture profiles, but that's a happy accident, not their intended usage.

The first thing to bear in mind is that the download provides LUTs for all of their cameras, including the cinema lineup, so actually very few are appropriate for the EOS-R.

As you dig into the downloaded package, you'll want to pull from the 3D LUTs folder rather than the 1D—in most cases, it's a better format for applying a LUT and it's not worth worrying about where 1D LUTs are fine to use.

Next, we need to tackle grid size; Canon 17/33/65 choices. Think of grid size as the "resolution" of the LUT: higher means more precision, but it only matters if your footage is of sufficient quality.

If you're recording internally, you're working with 8-bit footage, so the 17 grid size is sufficient. If you're recording 10-bit footage externally, then you'll want to step up to the 33. It's unlikely you'll ever need or benefit from the 65 grid size with EOS-R footage.

The higher the grid size, the more intensive an operation it is to apply the LUT to footage, so if you're on a mediocre computer then stick to LUTs with a grid size of 17. If you have a decent machine, then pick from the 33 and call it a day.

Now we can tackle Full-to-Full vs. Full-to-Narrow. FF will give you a punchier, more contrasty look because it's trying to fit all brightness values within a certain broadcast-safe threshold. FN doesn't do this, so you'll get a slightly less contrasty, flatter look that gives you a better starting point for making your own contrast adjustments with the full range of captured detail still mostly visible.

If you don't intend to do your own colour grading, you should use the FF LUTs to turn the footage into something a bit more "finished" looking that just needs creative colour adjustments to deliver. Though again, if you don't intend to do your own colour grading you shouldn't be shooting CanonLog to begin with, which means you won't need these LUTs at all.

Anyway, we're three folders deep and are finally looking at actual LUT files...but there are still 36 choices, so which do we use? Well, now we only have one final bit to clarify before we can pick: the gamut.

BT709, BT2020, DCIP3, and CinemaGamut are all colour spaces, but only the first two are available on the EOS-R so we can immediately discard 24 of the LUTs in the folder. You can think of BT709 as the video equivalent of sRGB, with BT2020 being a wider gamut like AdobeRGB. You're almost always going to be shooting in BT709 (unless you explicitly choose to use BT2020 when recording 10-bit footage externally), so you can discard all but the BT709 LUTs.

Now we're down to 3 choices!

CanonLog, CanonLog2, and CanonLog3 are all slightly different Log profiles. How do they differ? Doesn't matter! You can only use the first one on an EOS-R!

We have our answer, but let's recap:

  • For practical purposes, we only care about the 3D LUTs folder, so we can discard the 1D options
  • Similarly, we don't need the 65 grid size options and may as well use the 33 over the 17 even though it's not necessary for 8-bit footage. If we ever do record 10-bit externally, we'll know we have enough precision to apply the LUT. Bye bye 17 and 65 folders!
  • Within the 33 grid folder, we now understand that Full-to-Full and Full-to-Narrow offer two different "starting point" options. FF being closer to "done" and FN being a better starting point for further creative grading. Both are valuable, so keep both options.
  • Each of those folders contains a ton of LUTs that aren't relevant to us because they use gamuts or Log profiles that the EOS-R doesn't have, so it actually leaves us with just one LUT choice per folder!

In the end, you should probably just keep these two LUTs handy for your editing:

  1. BT709_CanonLog-to-BT709_WideDR_33_FN_Ver.1.1.cube
  2. BT709_CanonLog-to-BT709_WideDR_33_FF_Ver.1.1.cube

If you need other ones, you'll already know it and you'll know why so you probably aren't reading this.

 MariusMasalar's gear list:MariusMasalar's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8
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