Have you attended a film or video shoot (one of ours included) and looked at the monitor or the camera and noticed that your shot looks dull, lifeless and grey for colour? You’re not dreaming and we aren’t doing a terrible job – rest assured.

This look and the technology in it is called LOG video or LOG footage. Log is short for Logarithmic. Modern camera’s with cinema capabilities use propriety LOG technology that allows for a higher dynamic range. Put simply, this enables for better image quality, better depth in the black/dark areas of your shot, better depth and recoverability in the light areas of your shot. This wide dynamic allows for more flexibility in the colour grade and getting the most out of your shot.


Makes total sense, right. There are then colour looks can be added in Post Production to to get the most out of the footage and create a colour look. These are called LUTs (Look Up Tables). Many LUTs are either in the edit software or created by camera brands or specialists; available for editors or colourists to use straight away. These pre-made LUTs are an excellent jumping off point and in many cases very accurate. Using a LUT is no silver bullet though, colour correction and colour work is still a skill and specialised field of production.

Camera colour Science

As mentioned, there are LUTs specifically designed for camera’s. At Ottico Lab we shoot with Blackmagic Camera’s and use a Blackmagic video workflow. These camera’s have their own proprietary Raw format as well as a very specific Colour Science. To many (us included) this colour science and the way the camera’s interpret a look and colour is precisely why we choose this workflow.
The generation of Colour Science that we run on our Blackmagic camera’s is paired with a set of LUTs that are ideal for both the Gen5 colour science and creating a series of looks. So when preparing for a shoot, we’ll dial in one of these LUTs that we feel will suit your shoot and we’ll run this as a preview on the camera and the monitors at your shoot.

The monitor at the shoot sometimes flicks between the grey shot and one with nice colour

This is exactly the result of the ‘previewing a LUT’. The cameras will shoot Raw and in LOG but as mentioned we’ll dial in an appropriate LUT and we’ll run it in the shoot as a preview. Then in Post Production that LUT will be the starting point for getting your colour right in your video. Previewing the LUT will also be great for all of us involved in the shoot – as we can comfortably preview the shots in a look that is well on the way to the final video result.

So next time you’re on a shoot with us and notice a de-saturated and sad looking shot on the monitor, don’t panic. And now you’ll be well equipped in knowing the reasons why.