ARTICLE

Harness the power of 3D LUTs in the Canon EOS C70

The Look File EOS C70 function enables you to apply 3D LUTs to your videos for next level creative control. Here's how to set it up.
An image of a woman holding a book in front of water, split down the middle to show the effect of applying a 3D LUT to the image's colour.

3D LUTs enable you to create a specific look for your video, from a simple colour correction to something more original and transformative. And with the Canon EOS C70, you have the freedom to apply your own 3D LUT files in-camera, using the Look File function.

The Canon EOS C70 enables you to create up to 20 Custom Picture files that can be used to give different treatments to your videos.

It's an efficient way to speed up your workflow and bring a consistent look to clips, as once you've set parameters such as gamma, colour space, black level and skin detail, and registered them to a Custom Picture file, you can instantly recall that specific setup at any point.

But did you know that you can also register 3D LUT (Lookup Table) files on the EOS C70, giving you an even higher degree of freedom to adjust the colour and character of an image?

What is a LUT?

A LUT (Lookup Table) is essentially a set of mathematical instructions that remaps the input or recorded values for each pixel to different RGB output values. Think of it as two columns of numbers, where the input number in one column has a corresponding output number in the other column. When you apply a LUT to a video, the numbers are converted – as is the look of your footage.

One of the drawbacks of a standard 1D LUT is that it doesn't allow the red, green and blue colour values to be mixed. It's a linear conversion from one R, G or B value setting to another. A 3D LUT does allow this, however, so it provides more control over specific colour values and a more sophisticated level of colour manipulation as a result.
A ballet dancer in a flowing yellow dress and shawl poses atop a mountain overlooking a valley, with half the frame showing the Canon Log version, and the other, the graded one.

Processing with a 3D LUT file can improve the appearance of Canon Log footage, which tends to appear washed out and compressed when recorded.

The 3D LUT advantage

As the name suggests, a 3D LUT maps red, green and blue in a three-dimensional grid, allowing for more complex and nuanced colour transformations. There are three grid sizes, or 'resolutions', of 3D LUTs – 17grid, 33grid and 65grid. Although 65grid offers the most accuracy, applying it to footage in editing software requires a computer with more processing power.
LUTs are often used as a starting point for grading, and for on-set monitoring. If you're taking advantage of the wider dynamic range of Canon Log, for example, then the footage tends to look washed out and compressed straight from the camera. But using a LUT enables you to monitor the content in a standard colour gamut such as Rec.709 or BT.2020 while you're filming. The addition of the Look File function on the Canon EOS C70 unlocks the opportunity to record video with a 3D LUT applied and the ability to achieve unique colour and contrast characteristics without the need to colour grade the footage.

You can create your own custom 3D LUTs in editing and grading software or download free-to-use or commercial files, which are widely available online. For compatibility with the Look File function, these must be 17 grid or 33 grid 3D LUT files in .cube format (33 grid 3D LUTs allow for more accurate image conversion). They should also be designed for Full Range signal input and output. While it's possible to register 3D LUTs that are designed for other signal configurations, these won't give you a correct conversion.
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There are a host of different applications for a 3D LUT. They can be used for straightforward colour correction, for example, or to emulate a specific cinematic look or style to help tell a story or create a mood.
An explanation of Look Files beside an image of a woman in front of a wall with a diagonal strip running through it, within which the photo has been recoloured by a 3D LUT.

While 3D LUT files are often used for previewing the look of 'finished' footage, the Canon EOS C70 gives you the opportunity to record video with the 3D LUT applied.

A woman sitting on a balcony with half of the image adjusted by a "Bleach Bypass" 3D LUT.

You can make your own custom 3D LUT files in editing and grading software such as Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve 17.

How to register a Look File on the Canon EOS C70

To use a 3D LUT on the Canon EOS C70, you need to register it as a Look File through the Custom Picture menu. It's also possible to combine a Look File with other Custom Picture parameters. In this case the Look File will be applied after the other Custom Picture parameters, except for Noise Reduction and Skin Detail, which are processed after the Look File has been applied.

Just like with a Custom Picture file, adjustments made using a Look File are applied to all images, including MXF and MP4 clips, HDMI video output and the image displayed on the LCD screen.
Filmmaker imeon Quarrie filming with the Canon EOS C70 camera.

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So how do you turn your 3D LUTs into Look File options? Here's a step-by-step guide:
A CP file slot being selected from the Custom Picture menu.

Step 1: Save the 3D LUT file on the root directory of an SD card and insert the card into the Type B SD card slot on the Canon EOS C70. Then select the desired CP file slot and unprotect it if necessary.

A screen showing Gamma/Color Space choices within the Custom Picture menu.

Step 2: Choose your preferred option for the base gamma and colour space in the Custom Picture Edit/File menu. It's important to set this before you register the Look File. If this setting is different from the configuration for which the 3D LUT was designed, you will not achieve the desired look. Additionally, if the Custom Picture file's gamma or colour space setting is changed after a Look File was registered, the registered Look File can no longer be applied.

A 3D LUT (.cube) file being registered as a Look File within the Custom Picture menu.

Step 3: Select Look File Setup > Register. When a list of the 3D LUT files saved on the SD card is displayed, select the desired 3D LUT (.cube) file to register it as a Look File.

Conform to Custom Picture being selected from the Gamma/Color Space setting within the Custom Picture menu.

Step 4: On the next screen, select the 'Gamma/Color Space' setting to use when the Look File is applied. If the 3D LUT being registered includes a colour configuration conversion (for example Canon Log 2 to PQ), select the final gamma and colour space output. Otherwise, select "Conform to Custom Picture" for 3D LUTs without colour configuration conversion.

The Custom Picture menu, indicating that the Look File function is on.

Step 5: The 3D LUT will then be registered as a Look File. When you activate it, the icon will change to the "Look" icon. On the status screens, you can confirm that the Look File is applied to the clips recorded on the card and all video outputs.

A Canon EOS C70 cinema camera.

The Canon EOS C70 is the first Cinema EOS camera to support the Look File function, but it's also available on the EOS C500 Mark II and EOS C300 Mark III via a firmware update.

Additional enhancements

While the Canon EOS C70 is the first camera to incorporate the Look File function, both the Canon EOS C500 Mark II and Canon EOS C300 Mark III now support the functionality as well, via a firmware update.

Additional performance enhancements and creative options have been added to all three cameras as part of the same Cinema EOS firmware release. For example, the updated EOS C500 Mark II is now able to record in 4:3 and 6:5 aspect ratios in Cinema RAW Light. Both the EOS C500 Mark II and EOS C300 Mark III also now feature a 1.8x de-squeeze option, enabling access to a wider range of anamorphic lenses, and the two cameras can even be controlled remotely by the Canon RC-IP100 remote camera controller via Canon's original IP-based XC Protocol.

EOS C70 users will benefit from the improved autofocus capabilities, thanks to the addition of 'Whole Area' to the existing 'Small' and 'Large' frame size options. Touch Tracking and Face Detection can now be initiated by touching the LCD screen when you're using this new mode.

The latest firmware also adds support for a further seven zoom lenses to the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x. These supported lenses allow for full optical correction, autofocus and metadata compatibility with the EOS C70, with even further lenses planned to be supported in future updates.

Download the latest firmware at https://www.canon-europe.com/support/consumer_products/product_ranges/digital_cinema/cinema_eos/

Napisal Marcus Hawkins


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