I purchased Denver Riddles LUT Utility for Final Cut Pro this week after reading some positive reviews. One of the best features about this utility is it now gives FCP X users the opportunity to import LUT's in the .cube format into the FCP X edit suite which has not been possible before.

The first LUT I imported was Captain Hook's after jealously viewing people using it in resolve\premier and loving the picture or 'look' it was producing.

The importing of .cube files works fine but there are workflow issues caused by FCP X. Once you have applied the LUT (or any for that matter) you will find you will still want/need to make minor changes to saturation\WB\Exposure. The rule of thumb is if you need to make changes to an image the changes must be applied BEFORE the LUT gets applied. This is because the LUT adds its own kind of 'baked in' image so grading on top of that is a no no and causes harsh clipping and not full control of the image.

The problem with FCP X is that its inbuilt colour correction tool in the effects panel cannot be dragged to the top of the stack, therefore the changes in the inbuilt tool can never be applied before the LUT..therefore extra grading and changes are not possible.

With Nick Shaw's Plugin it has its own sliders for exposure and temperature and these work brilliantly. When using these sliders within the LUT you can see the extra versatility you get with control over the image compared to trying to grade after the LUT is applied.

In resolve and/or Premier this is not an issue as in resolve you can just add a node before your LUT to make subtle changes on and in Premier you can just add an adjustment layer before the LUT.

There is a workaround however!...or a few actually.

Firstly if you have Apple Motion you can create you own Final Cut Effect with its own exposure\WB\Saturation sliders and then import that into FCP X and then add it to your clips and make sure it is then stacked ABOVE The LUT. You can then apply the LUT and any subtle changes you make to it can be done in your custom effect above it.

If this is not an option you can add magic bullet looks as an effect above the LUT and simply use the tools within its interface such as exposure and saturation to make your subtle changes. This option is not ideal as magic bullet looks takes you into its own interface and because you are editing above the LUT the only preview image you get to see is the log version so its hard to judge what subtle changes you want to make.

The last option is a bit convoluted but it works. You can make the subtle changes to your clips first with the in built colour corrector, once done highlight all the clips and create on big compound clip. Then you apply the LUT to the compound clip. The way FCP X works is it processes the effects on the clips first and then the effects on the compound clip afterwards. Again the problem with this solution is that you kind of need to make your subtle changes before you even apply the LUT, which is pretty much impossible.

Anyway...What I did in the end is create some very crude exposure\saturation\temp sliders in Motion and use them above Captain Hooks LUT.

Here is a very rough first try with Captain Hooks LUT within FCP X. It definitely has some of the Hook aesthetic but I need to work on my grading skills to get it there 100%.

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