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How to Create the Film Look With Your Footage for Free

The film look is often associated with a more high-contrast image with
distinct color tones (I often refer to them as burnt) as well as having
noticeable film grain. It’s is slightly more punchy than straight digital video, which tends to be a bit too sterile straight out of camera, and pleasing to viewers. Film-emulated video usually feels more natural and organic.

Creating a film in post-production look isn’t hard. While you can spend ages perfecting your look, the basics are doable for everyone and don’t take more than a few minutes. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a classic film look with your footage using free resources.

What You Need

This tutorial uses After Effects or Premiere Pro, but the assets we’re using will also work with DaVinci Resolve and possibly other NLEs. In order to follow along with this lesson you will need to download the Free Print Film Emulation LUTs from Juan Melara’s website (or here on the sidebar). You will also need to download a Free Film Grain Pack from VisionColor.

If your footage was not shot in a Log or Cinestyle profile, you will also need to download Juan’s Video2Log LUT in order to easily convert your footage to a Log profile before applying the print film LUTs.

If you’re new to LUTs and need a primer don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: check out our introduction to color look up tables and our introduction to film emulation.

The Creative Film Look

It is important to note that with this tutorial
we are aiming for more of a creative film look, not a perfect film emulation. We will work with print film emulated LUTs, such
as the Kodak 2383, but because of variances in camera profiles and
settings, as well as additional modifications we will be doing to the
image, there is no guarantee that your footage will be a perfect
representation of what it would look like if it was printed on Kodak
2383 film

How to Create the Film Look

We start with the After Effects workflow in the video below. The Premiere Pro workflow is covered at 13:15 on.


1. Create the Reference Layer for the Log LUT

This converts your footage from a Standard or Neutral profile to a flat Log profile.

After Effects

First, grab your footage and add it to a new Composition

Next, create an Adjustment Layer (Layer > New > Adjustment Layer) and name it Log. Select your adjustment layer and go to Effect > Utility > Apply Color LUT. This will open up a search window. Locate the Video2Log LUT you downloaded earlier, select it and click Open.

Premiere Pro

Put your footage on the timeline. Go to the Projects palette, right-click and select New > Adjustment Layer. Rename the layer Log and drag it onto the timeline above your footage. Find Lumitri Color in the Effects palette and drag it onto your adjustment layer to apply. Go to Effect Controls for the adjustment layer and find the tab Basic Correction under the Lumitri Color options. Under Input LUT select Browse and then a search window will open, locate the Video2Log LUT you downloaded earlier, select it and click Open.

2. Apply the Print Film LUT

After Effects

Create another Adjustment Layer (Layer > New > Adjustment Layer) and name it LUT. Make sure it is above everything else. Select your adjustment layer and go to Effect > Utility > Apply Color LUT. This will open up a search window. Locate the Kodak2383 LUT you downloaded earlier, select it and click Open.

Premiere Pro

Go to the Projects palette, right-click and select New > Adjustment Layer. Rename the layer LUT and drag it onto the timeline above your footage and your Log adjustment layer. Find Lumitri Color in the Effects palette and drag it onto your adjustment layer to apply. Go to Effect Controls for the adjustment layer and find the tab Basic Correction under the Lumitri Color options. Under Input LUT select Browse and then a search window will open, locate the Kodak2383 LUT you downloaded earlier, select it and click Open.

3. Apply the Film Grain

After Effects

Import the VisionColor Film Grain clips you downloaded earlier, then drag one into your composition and place it at the top, above all of the other layers. Next change the blend mode for the clip to Overlay. You can adjust the Opacity of the Grain clip to dial up or down the level of film grain on your footage.

Premiere Pro

Import the VisionColor Film Grain clips you downloaded earlier, then drag one into your timeline and place it at the top, above all of the other layers. Next go to the Effect Controls for for the Gain clip and change the blend mode for the clip to Overlay under the Opacity tab. You can adjust the Opacity of the Grain clip to dial up or down the level of film grain on your footage.

And We’re Done!

And that’s it! You can refine the look to suite your taste by changing the Opacity on the Log or LUT adjustment layers. You can also dial back any over exposure issues your footage my have by applying a Levels effect and lowering the White Output.

Links Mention in this Tutorial