Exporting a grade as a LUT

Hi y’all,

So I had a question asked to me that I was curious about. I have done color on some long form spots for editor and he was wondering if I could output a “LUT” so he could apply same look to additional spots in AVID. I did the editor a favor for the color and 4k LongForm spots eat up so much space. So my question is: Is there anyway to export a color batch schematic into a .CC or CDL file? I know it can be done if the color was done in the image node, but I have everything built within batch with a few CC nodes and CW nodes. I wasn’t sure if it was possible to translate that information into an exportable/importable file. To be perfectly honest, I don’t care if I can export for this editor, but I’m curious for future endeavors, where it may be very efficient. Thanks in advance!

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not that I know of. the “Look” node makes CDL files, and you already know what the image node can do. The CC and CW are from an old time when no one wanted to share anything.

Thanks, Andy. I kind of thought that it wasn’t possible. So is the “proper” Etiquette to ask before you grade to ensure there aren’t any issues. Or should it be the usual, if you want more, you pay for it?

I don’t even know of a way to export a LUT even if you did use the Image node. If you know how I’d love to know too!

The only way I see to export any kind of LUT is when you’re going through a custom Color Management node, and even then I think that’s exporting just what’s within that node, not anything in the Image node or elsewhere.

Well, I know you can export a .CC or CDL file ( I forget which it is). That can be translated in a few programs, but I don’t know accurate to the original it truly is. I personally never solely graded in the “look” or “image” node. I’ve always worked in batch and usually have done multiple gmasks/power windows since CDs are so particular in what they want. Mostly, putting 2 unnecessary cents in to explain their paychecks.

Hey Pete! I don’t think this it’s really a thing to send grade setups back to editorial. The only times I can think it’s really feasible is if the grade is done in Baselight and the editorial has the baselight plugin that can read BLG files. Or if they did the edit in Resolve. But for normal workflow… there’s a reason what we do is called Finishing.

Yeah good point Greg, and now that we’re talking about this, I distinctly remember that the concept of exporting a LUT works “okay” at best. Even in Baselight it will kind of work but will not work with any keys or windows (masks).

Hey Greg,

You are 100% right, but I’ve also had the pleasure of working with you, so you kind of know my predicament. Long story short, I don’t want to hold 14 minutes of 4k footage on my remote machine just to apply my grade and render. This is all in-house if that changes anything, but probably not. Hope you and the fam are well!

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Hey Jeff.

So in this one particular case, The gmasks are stagnant and certain CCs or CWs are applied to those. I don’t know if that would alter the render process. I doubt it will, but i figure I’d ask.

Had that issue today and decided to just not cache the footage so it doesn’t take up space. Of course it will take up space as you render your grades, but it saves a lot of room.

Just throwing my 2c in here as well… To confirm what Andy said, the “look” node has traditional Lift Gamma Gain controls and can export .cdl files which are fairly universal. Other than that, you could create a custom lut in the Color Management node, which isn’t as creative a process. (though with an RGB Waveform and separate RGB curve adjustments, I suppose you could do the job)

Any cdl, .cube, .lut file will obviously not contain any “window” information or gmasks, keyers, etc, etc. The Baselight import/transport node for Flame is more robust and interesting, but don’t know of too many shops that use it.

For the most part though, if you’re looking to get your editor in the ballpark with a “one-light”, you can send them a .cdl that balances the footage for them. Hopefully something not per-shot, if white balance and exposure aren’t too crazy all over the map… They’re certainly lightweight, compared to rendering and re-sending plates…

Baselight node sidenote for you Eric - I did quite a handful of testing with the BLG (Baselight Grade) plugin for Flame and it is awesome. It holds all the windows / keys / grades done in Baselight–everything except temporal effects like denoise. It’s as if you’re getting a baselight render, except it’s just a Timeline FX that can be updated at the drop of a hat! The catch is it is a little “heavier” than when you just import DPXs of course, since you’re processing all of the color work in the Timeline on the fly (or until you render it).

Only slightly related to this subject, but it does have to do with transferring color around :slight_smile: .


Ok. So I’ve never done this before. Is it possible to tell me a Step-by-Step (Great show btw) way of actually doing that. I’m talking about exporting at the end of a batch schematic, not working out of the “look” node. I’m not worried about gmask/windows, but just a simple export out of batch. It would be great for future projects. Thanks, Eric and Jeff. Also, in terms of Baselight; that’s a plugin, right? I currently don’t have that and I doubt my bosses will approve of me purchasing it. How much does it go for? I’m currently trying to get a checklist of Neat Video, certain Boris FX (Sapphire/Silhouette PT/etc), and others to see if I should try and back charge them or just bite the bullet. Does this make sense?

Hey Pete,

No way I know of a way to export a LUT out the end of a batch schematic. You’ll need to go through the “look” node, or create a LUT using the Color Management node, as far as I know.

Baselight is a color grading software package, much like DaVinci Resolve, and isn’t plug-in level priced, unfortunately…

For those interested in the Baselight Grade Plugin for Flame Linux only, Grant Kay has a great video about it.

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Yeah, Pete, sorry— talking about the BLG plug-in was more of a big side note / off topic. It isn’t really something that will do what you want in the context of your question.

It’s the kind of plugin you would buy if you work at a facility with a Baselight and you want to adopt a workflow that allows you to change a grade without having Baselight re-render anything. They update their scene, you hit refresh, and the update appears in your timeline.

It’s starting to sound like there is no way to do what you’re asking, unless someone else has any tricks up their sleeve.

Thanks for all the input guys. I figured when I first posted it, my overall goal was impossible. I guess the next go around would be to replicate the grade in “look” node and export it from there. Thanks for all the rabbit-hole-ness.


There actually is a way to do what you’re after. It’s not a one button solution but it’s fairly straight forward.

Basically you have to process a test pattern with your grading, export the “graded” pattern and read it into a software that can generate a LUT from it. The processing software will check the difference for all color-patches in the test pattern and generates a LUT with these information.
If you have access to Nuke (X I think) you could do it with the CMSTestPattern and GenerateLUT node. Workflow would be

  • generate CMSTestPattern and write out from nuke
  • import in flame, apply grading, export
  • import in nuke and generate LUT

Apart from nuke there is lattice which can also generate the LUT from the test pattern. And I thought I had an open source tool to do that, but I can’t remember it’s name right now

Edit: all that obviously only works for non-spatial operations, though. So no masks and no blurred keys and alike. But that’s generally the case for LUTs.

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LOL, @JulianMartinz I actually thought about mentioning this tool inside Nuke but I knew that @pete.deandrea doesn’t have Nuke so I didn’t want to muddy the water. Good to mention it though! Of course, it could get pretty messy importing and exporting the test patterns while making sure that no color space issues knock the gamma around.

Yes. You’re absolutely right about importing/exporting. One should test the import/export pipeline and make sure the pattern doesn’t get altered by these operations. Otherwise you might end up with some bogus LUT.
It’s also worth mentioning that the workflow outlined above is intended for video/log footage (so anything with values between 0-1). When your source is linear things are getting a little bit more complicated.