Metadata Tool To Uncover The Facts?

Last time I mentioned there are times when I don’t know how the footage I’m editing was captured. Specifically, I want to know if there was a particular LUT (Look Up Table) that was used while monitoring on location or one suggested by the Director of Photography (DP) for use in post.

Sometimes the edit software automatically pulls up the right LUT and sometimes it doesn’t. Even if the LUT gets applied automatically, I find it useful to know what the LUT is, so eventually, I can confirm it’s the right one. There’s nothing like the look on a DP’s face when you show them a cut and the LUT isn’t what they expected.

One of the tools I’ve found to help me discern LUTs from ARRI cameras is ARRI META Extract. ARRI META Extract is an application (Windows and Mac) that allows you to take a footage file and derive a host of metadata, including the LUT used on set. It even creates a LUT you can use in many editing applications. The application is free to download but you must register on the site.

The ARRI META Extract interface is straightforward: you choose a clip and a destination for the extracted metadata.
The ARRI META Extract interface is straightforward: You choose a clip and a destination for the extracted metadata.

The process is fairly straightforward. You start the application, point it to a single clip and click on Start. Once it processes the clip, you are presented with a table of information for each frame in that clip.

You can scroll through the table of metadata. It is 8 pages wide.
You can scroll through the table of metadata. It’s 8 pages wide.

Each column represents a field of metadata. Data includes the ISO, Color Space, Shutter Angle, Frame Rate and more. In the “and more” is the LUT filename used for the clip (if one was used at all). This table is exported in a CSV (Comma Separated Value) format that you can import into any spreadsheet application.

Although having the LUT name is helpful, what if you don’t have that LUT and can’t find it online? Once the META Extract application finishes its metadata extraction, it creates the LUT that was used in .cube format compatible with many editing applications.

Once the process has finished the destination folder contains the CSV metadata table and LUTs in several formats.
Once the process has finished, the destination folder contains the CSV metadata table and LUTs in several formats.

Once I have the metadata of the footage I am working with, I can dive into it to make sure I deliver what the DP expects.

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