CookeOptics TV has some great content and in this episode, cinematographer Ben Davis BSC talks about his approach to working with LUT’s.
Ben Davis has lensed such movies as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and the upcoming Eternals starring Angelina Jolie.
It’s interesting to hear how a top tier cinematographer uses LUTs on major Hollywood blockbusters.
Ben creates a basic film emulation LUT in pre-production that gives him good flesh tones and a nice range of color. He then works to that LUT on set. Ben also chooses to not use CDLs or grade on set.
If he wants to change the look of a scene he still uses the same LUT, but he either lights it in a way that works for that LUT or exposes it to get the desired result he is after.
The LUT he uses is applied to footage coming from the DIT and/or used on the camera. I was also intrigued to hear that Ben doesn’t use a light meter as he has grown to trust the images he is seeing on set. Ben will also light to his eye, which is exactly the same as his process when he was shooting film.
Ben also stresses the importance of trying to use the same camera whenever he can, as you get to learn the sensor and how it reacts to different environments and conditions.