Unlocking the Power of LUTs in Video Editing: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Maximizing Their Use

Unlocking the Power of LUTs in Video Editing: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Maximizing Their Use

In the ever-evolving world of video editing, professionals are constantly on the lookout for innovative tools and techniques to enhance the visual quality of their projects. Among these, one powerful tool has risen to prominence in recent years: the LUT (Lookup Table). 

LUTs have revolutionized color grading in video editing, empowering editors to achieve stunning visuals with remarkable ease and efficiency. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the realm of LUTs, unraveling their true nature, exploring their significance, and providing valuable insights into their various types. Furthermore, we will equip you with practical knowledge on how to effectively incorporate LUTs into your video editing workflow, enabling you to unlock the full potential of your creative endeavors. 

Prepare to embark on a journey that will empower you to harness the transformative power of LUTs in video editing and elevate your projects to new heights of visual splendor.


What Are LUTs?

LUTs, short for Lookup Tables, are an integral part of the video editing process. In essence, LUTs are mathematical formulas that serve as a roadmap for transforming and manipulating colors within video footage. When applied, these digital filters allow editors to achieve specific visual effects or color grading styles with ease. LUTs act as a guide, mapping one set of colors to another, and enabling precise adjustments to hue, saturation, and luminance values in the video.

In the context of video editing, LUTs serve as a powerful resource for achieving consistent and professional-looking color grading. They provide a way to quickly apply predefined color adjustments to your footage, eliminating the need for manual tweaking of individual color parameters. By applying a LUT, you can instantly transform the overall look and feel of your video, enhancing its visual appeal and evoking specific emotions.

Video editing LUTs are compatible with various editing software and can be used across different projects. Whether you're working on a short film, a music video, or a promotional video, LUTs offer a flexible and efficient way to experiment with different color grading styles and achieve the desired aesthetic. With a vast array of LUTs available, ranging from film emulations to creative color presets, video editors have a plethora of options to choose from, enabling them to add a professional touch to their work and create visually stunning videos that captivate audiences.


6 Types of LUTs for Basic Color Grading

When it comes to color grading in video editing, LUTs (Lookup Tables) are invaluable tools that allow you to achieve striking visuals and evoke specific moods in your footage. Understanding the different types of LUTs available can greatly enhance your color grading capabilities. Here are six essential types of LUTs that can be used for basic color grading:


1. Cinematic LUTs

These LUTs are designed to mimic the color grading styles seen in cinematic films. They offer a wide range of looks, from warm and cozy to cool and atmospheric, allowing you to create a cinematic ambiance in your videos. 

Cinematic LUTs are popular for adding a touch of professionalism and visual polish to your footage.


2. Vintage LUTs

If you want to infuse your videos with a nostalgic flair, vintage LUTs are the way to go. These LUTs replicate the color palettes of different eras, such as the vibrant hues of the 1960s or the faded tones of the 1980s. 

Vintage LUTs can add a sense of authenticity and evoke a specific time period, enhancing the storytelling aspect of your videos.


3. Vibrant LUTs

When you want your visuals to pop and grab attention, vibrant LUTs are the perfect choice. These LUTs boost saturation and contrast, resulting in bold and vivid colors. 

Vibrant LUTs are particularly effective for content that requires a lively and energetic look, such as music videos, fashion shoots, or product advertisements.


4. Natural LUTs

Sometimes, the goal is to enhance the natural beauty of your footage without altering it drastically. Natural LUTs provide subtle adjustments to colors, maintaining a balanced and realistic appearance. These LUTs are useful for preserving the authenticity of documentary footage, interviews, or any content where a natural aesthetic is desired.

5. Black and White LUTs 

The timeless elegance of black and white can add a touch of sophistication to your videos. Black and white LUTs convert your footage to grayscale, emphasizing contrasts, textures, and emotions. They are often employed to create a classic or artistic look, and they can be particularly impactful for storytelling or conveying a specific mood.


6. Creative LUTs 

If you're looking to push the boundaries and experiment with unique visual styles, creative LUTs offer endless possibilities. These LUTs provide unconventional and artistic effects, allowing you to create personalized looks and explore your creativity. 

Creative LUTs can help you achieve dreamy, surreal, or otherworldly visuals, making them ideal for experimental or stylized projects.


How to Use LUTs When Color Grading a Video

Color grading is a pivotal aspect of video editing, allowing you to create captivating visuals and evoke specific emotions in your audience. And when it comes to achieving remarkable color grading results, LUTs are the secret weapon in your arsenal. 

In this chapter, we'll explore how to effectively harness the power of LUTs in your video color grading process, elevating your footage to new heights of visual brilliance.

  • Select the Perfect LUT: Like an artist selecting their palette, choosing the right LUT sets the foundation for your color grading journey. Dive into a treasure trove of LUT libraries, online marketplaces, or even craft your own custom LUTs. Consider the desired mood, ambiance, and aesthetic you want to convey. Are you aiming for a nostalgic vintage look or a vibrant cinematic style? Find the LUT that aligns with your creative vision.
  • Apply the LUT Magic: With your chosen LUT in hand, it's time to work wonders on your footage. Import your video clip into your preferred editing software and navigate to the LUT panel. Unleash the transformative power of the LUT with a single click, instantly witnessing the colors of your footage come alive in a mesmerizing display.
  • Fine-Tune for Flawless Results: While LUTs are a remarkable starting point, customization is the key to achieving perfection. Fine-tune the LUT to harmonize with your specific footage. Play with exposure, contrast, saturation, and other color parameters to refine the visual impact. This delicate dance between creativity and precision ensures your color grading is tailor-made for your video.
  • Layer and Blend for Artistic Brilliance (Optional): For those who dare to push the boundaries of creativity, layering and blending multiple LUTs can unlock a realm of limitless possibilities. Create a symphony of colors by combining different LUTs, adjusting their intensity, and experimenting with blending modes. This intricate interplay of LUT layers allows you to sculpt a truly unique and captivating visual experience.
  • Preview, Polish, Perfection: Step back and marvel at the transformation you've achieved. Preview your footage and evaluate the final result, meticulously examining color balance, contrast, and overall coherence. Make any necessary final tweaks to ensure your video radiates the intended emotional impact and visual brilliance.
  • Export and Share Your Masterpiece: As the final strokes of your color grading masterpiece fall into place, it's time to share your creation with the world. Select the optimal export settings, ensuring your color grading prowess shines through in the final output. Whether it's on the silver screen or the small screen, your video will captivate audiences with its unparalleled visual allure.

Unleashing the Vibrant Spectrum: A Colorful Conclusion to Your LUT Journey

Congratulations! You've journeyed through the ultimate guide to understanding and maximizing the power of LUTs in video editing. Armed with this newfound knowledge, you're now equipped to take your color grading skills to extraordinary heights and breathe life into your videos like never before. But before we bid adieu, let's recap our colorful adventure and inspire you to continue your creative exploration.

Now, armed with this arsenal of LUT knowledge, it's time to put your newfound skills to the test. But where do you go from here? Look no further than Flixier, the ultimate video editing software that empowers you to unleash your creativity with ease. With Flixier's user-friendly interface and seamless integration of LUTs, you can bring your visions to life, experiment fearlessly, and craft captivating videos that leave a lasting impression.

As we conclude this guide, remember that mastering the art of color grading with LUTs is an ongoing endeavor. Keep exploring, experimenting, and refining your skills. Embrace the power of color to captivate your audience and evoke emotions. Let your videos tell stories that resonate deeply and leave a lasting impact.


Now, go forth, armed with your newfound LUT wisdom, and create visual wonders that will mesmerize the world. The stage is set, the spotlight is yours—let your creativity shine!

Frequently asked questions

What does LUT mean in video editing?

Is LUTs color grading?

Why use LUTs?

Create beatiful videos in minutes with Flixier

  • fast editing on any device - no installs
  • super easy to use
  • built-in libraries of Motion Titles and Transitions
Get Started

Dramatically speed up your video editing