More than just a LUT loader for Final Cut Pro X: LUTx

There are quite some LUT utilities for Final Cut Pro X, but Roger Bolton from Coremelt succeeded in developing a plug-in that gives you more than just a LUT loading mechanism. LUTx delivers a LUT browser, various fine-tuning features, masking capabilities and, for the Look LUT effect, the unique ability to apply your LUT to a specific luma range. The LUTx plug-in has four effects in all.

lut plugin for Final Cut Pro X lutx

Denver Riddle’s LUT Utility was probably the first LUT tool available for Final Cut Pro X. It was very simple. Since then, Denver’s Color Grading Central released Color Finale, which comes with its own LUT loading and saving feature, while Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Looks has a LUT loader too. Coremelt’s Roger Bolton saw room for improvement and he created LUTx. As is common with Coremelt’s products, and despite the relatively crowded market, LUTx has unique features that make it stand out from the crowd.

basic lut in lutxFor starters, this plug-in has three “effects”. The first is free and offers basic controls. Well, basic when compared to the rest of LUTx. Even this free effect offers Exposure and RGB tuning and post saturation. The second one lets you load a camera LUT. The plug-in supports 16 camera LUTs, including models from RED, Panasonic, Sony, BlackMagic Design, Canon and Nikon — all converting the camera’s tone curve to Rec.709. Arri LogC is supported too, as is Technicolor for CineStyle. With so many camera LUTs already available, but HDR soon(?) to become the standard that will replace Rec.709, it will be interesting to see how quickly Coremelt will be able to add LUTs for HDR/PQ.

The LUTx “Apply Look LUT” effect — the third of the range — has a dynamic LUT browser, i.e. it shows your clip with the LUT applied, not some static image. Furthermore, the browser has buttons to load LUTs from disk and to buy them from Coremelt’s website. In addition, you can organise LUTs in categories. If you know how to create LUTs — which is relatively easy when using Color Finale — you can load and organise these as well.

camera lut in lutxThe plug-in itself can also load LUTs from ad hoc disk locations. The Look LUT plug-in has a Pre-Exposure slider and Red-Green-Blue EV sliders, enabling you to fine-tune the LUT look. Below that group of controls, the real fun begins. You can mix a LUT by Luma. A slider allows you to set a luma range and when you change one of the controls, a popup window shows you the masked areas you’re changing. In this group of controls you’ll also find additional LUT mixture sliders (for shadows, midtones and highlights). Finally, this group has a post saturation slider that enables you to crank up or turn down the saturation of the colours.

The last group of controls lets you mask your LUT effect. There are 12 static masks to choose from.

lutx combinedThe very last control in the Look LUT plug-in allows you to change the direction of the wipe. The wipe is a star-shaped on-screen element that you can move around to see the effect before/after applying the LUT. The last effect is a combination of the camera and look LUT rolled into one.

So far, LUTx has only delivered its LUT effects to one clip at a time. If there weren’t another unique feature included, you would have to repeat the LUT settings for each and every clip. That’s not too difficult: you just select your clip, copy and then paste the effect. But it can be made easier and simpler, and Coremelt has included that too.

In the Titles category of the Final Cut Pro X Inspector, you’ll find the same four LUT effects as titles. This allows you to load the LUT only once and apply it across multiple clips.

Conclusion

Coremelt has turned a simple LUT utility into a colour correction/grading powerhouse, with exactly the right mix of configuration parameters. That makes LUTx a hot plug-in and you should rush to Coremelt’s website to buy it — it’s on sale for a limited period of time: around €30 instead of €48.

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