Bag of LUTs – a look at the VisionColor OSIRIS LUT collection

Last week, I stumbled over VisionColor’s new set of OSIRIS LUTs.

A grab bag of high quality Film emulations that gives you a great starting point for your grading. 

Similar to FilmConvert they provide a range of film stock looks,  albeit without the grain function that FilmConvert features. But instead of just emulating film stock, they up the bar a notch and provide processed film stock emulation, what I find very interesting.

There is a ton of stock emulation plugins and LUTs out there since years now. Some are great, some are not so great.

The organic looks of this collection are based on analog film colorimetries, digitally and photochemically processed and developed.  All films were processed and developed at Light Works and scanned at Monaco, San Fransico.

What strikes me with the Osiris set is, that they went an extra mile to give you the most precise and elaborate processed stock emulation I ever saw on top of it.  Since digital became popular and affordable, processing film is almost an black art and only a few people out there still have the knowledge to master this art – James Dilworth is one of them.

James is the CTO of a relatively small photographic processing laboratory in San Francisco, and one of the very few people, who still knows how to handle and process motion picture film.
His expertise on analog film is legendary and something you seldom see those days.

That’s why VisionColor asked him, to help them to develop the OSIRIS LUTs.

So I was asking Steve Griffith of VisionColor, how exactly they nailed those LUTs, and how they where able to make them work with man different cameras and sensors.

Here is what he told me:

First we shot all of our reference material of high resolution color charts on a number of digital cameras with a number of different LOG and REC.709 profiles. Using the same setup we shot the film reference with Kodak Vision 3 5213 color negative (except M31 and DK79) which we handed to Jim for processing.

He printed the camera negative to about 10 interpositive duplicates to create different dyes with an ECP-2D color positive processor using push/pull, bleach skip, cross process and color reversal techniques.

At this point we printed the resulting negatives back to positive release prints and scanned them using a Spirit 2k scanner with 14bit DNG output (at another facility).

Instead of creating patches for each digital camera we had sampled we decided to instead go with one-size-fits-all LOG and REC.709 standards by calculating the differences in input data from the various cameras we had shot our digital references with and derived average profiles from that using proprietary software. While all of the sampled LOG color spaces (with Canon’s C-LOG being the only notable exception) were strikingly similar, Rec.709 shooters are advised to shoot a neutral/flat image using the recommended profiles from the table on the OSIRIS product page.

We then loaded the digital reference shots with these average profiles into a proprietary image matching system, transformed them to match the various film scans and generated 3D LUTs for each of the transformations.

Theoretically this could be a completely automated process but actually required a lot of fine tuning on our part because of some shortcomings of our IMS.

Some of the resulting LUTs were so similar to others that we decided to go back and scan one of the untouched interpositives to use as a base for some digital color grading processes which we then printed back to film and generated our final LUTs from.

The Osiris LUTs play nice with most of todays cameras and sensors. They come in two flavors: LOG and 709. I tried them with LOG material out of an Alexa and BMC and also with 709 material out of my FS100 – they actually work the same in both color spaces. Also included are several utility LUTs for easy color space conversion.

Her are examples of the LUTs on some BMC material I shot. The first one is, with the standard BMC LUT applied, that comes with Resolve – just for reference.

LUT-STripe

The LUTs work in most NLEs and about any software that supports 3D LUTs

Adobe Photoshop CS6+
Adobe After Effects CS5+
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5+ (with LUT Buddy)
Adobe Speedgrade
Apple Motion 3,4 (with LUT Buddy)
Apple Shake
Assimilate SCRATCH
Cineform Firstlight
DaVinci Resolve FULL/lite
Digital Vision Film Master
FilmLight Baselight
Final Cut Pro 6,7 (with LUT Buddy)
Pandora Revolution/Pixi
Nuke
Quantel Pablo

Using the LUTs in Resolve

The best way, I found to use the LUTs in Resolve, is to put them in the middle of two corrector nodes.

1. You start with one node and select your LUT.
2. You use the camera/raw tab and dial in the basic exposure. Make sure you bring the skintones where you want them, this is important – if you shift them later in the process, you must go back and forth the bring them back on spot.

Resolve1

3. Dial in color temperature and tint
4. Place a node before the LUT node and dial in your basic shadows, midtones and highlights, also do your power windows here. Make sure you fix everything in the “before LUT” node that is over or under exposed, since here you have full control over the whole DR. You will notice, that – depending on the LUT, you can’t crush the shadows or burn out the highlights, since the LUT prevents you from doing that. But stay with me, we fix that in a minute.

Resolve2

5. Place a third node behind the LUT node – there you can dial your shadows down to zero IRE or wherever you want them. I also do any sharpening and other sweetening there

Resolve3

Verdict:
I was working on my own experimental LUTs since a while and even graded my last shortfilm with one of them.
But let’s be honest, making a LUT with the tools Resolve provides is something completely different, than going trough an complicated analog/digital process, with people that forgot more about stock and color, than I will probably ever know.

I realized this, when I played wit the Osiris LUTs in Resolve. The M31 for example, does something very similar, as my own experimental LUT does, but much better and way more responsive. If I would have found the Osiris LUTs a week earlier, that would have saved me a ton of time and headaches, grading my short.
But please, don’t just slap them on your material and call it a day, like many folks do it with Magic BulletLooks and similar plugins.
Those LUTs are a great starting point for your further grade, but try to develop a distinctive look for your film that supports the story and atmosphere – make it something unique and special. It may take a while, but it’s well worth it.

And yeah, for just 49 bucks, I think they are a steal.

Frank

13 thoughts on “Bag of LUTs – a look at the VisionColor OSIRIS LUT collection

  1. Great post! Just a question: As far as some of us don’t shoot in RAW, What’s your approach when 7D-5D users want to use these LUTs? (steps 2 and 3)

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Here’s my solution for those who don’t shoot on flat curve. Shoot your film. On FCP 7 apply magic bullet looks2 and choose the flat preset. Add 1.5 % film noise. Then add lut buddy. Choose 3d lut from the Osiris bank. May try using log luts too. Adjust tones with 3 way color corrector. Trust me… You got a stunner.

  3. Pingback: La chasse aux LUTs | Nicolas Lossec

  4. thank you for your post about it. i tested before and it looks quite similar with original film look. as you said, it can be just for the guide. it’s not that suitable for every shots especially Asian skin tones. I’m quite satisfied tough.

  5. Frank, Great informative article on the Osiris LUTs. Didn’t know about it until now. Thanks!
    I’m sorry for double posting. I couldn’t find a way to edit my post after publishing.

  6. Hi Frank, Thanks for the great tests your making with the FS100. Just a question about the profiles, since the camera doesn’t have a real LOG profile – are you using your own G-Log profile? Is there any picture profiles to get the FS100 to a true rec709 color space? Do you have a rec709 profile for the FS100?

  7. Pingback: Using ImpulZ LUTs to grade HDSLR footage | Marginalia Film

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