Embedded LUTs

Now, on to pros and cons.

On the pro side, Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014 supports AMIRA-embedded LUTs, so when you import your footage, it looks like it did when you viewed it with the LUT in the field. You don’t have to apply a LUT effect and import the LUT to each clip. It just works. This means that every time you double-click a clip and load it into your source monitor, it has the LUT applied. If you scroll in a source bin, you’ll see the footage with the LUT applied. The distraction of viewing Log files goes away. So, from a strict—let’s call it offline-editing—perspective, embedded LUTs are great. (At the end of my response, I’ll explain the way to apply a LUT to all the clips in a bin to avoid this problem.)

So what’s the downside of embedded LUTs?

The embedded LUT doesn’t necessarily work everywhere. For example, as of this writing, if you were to send one of the embedded LUT clips from your Premiere timeline to After Effects, the footage wouldn’t appear with the embedded LUT. This may be true for other applications you use. However, losing the LUT isn’t always a bad thing: You may want to do some processing in After Effects before you apply any LUT or color correction.

Another downside is that having an embedded LUT in each camera file’s metadata increases your project size. In one test, I took a 1 MB project to 50 MB. The increase was due solely to the embedded LUTs in the original footage.

I know that in this day and age of 1 terabyte drives that sell for under $60, a 50 MB Premiere Pro project file doesn’t seem like a lot. And it isn’t. But what it does affect is project save time. Hitting the Save command in that same test caused the Save progress bar to pause for at least 10 seconds before continuing.

(Note: You can remove the embedded LUTs by highlighting all the clips in the bin and using the command Remove Masterclip Effects. If you want to reapply the LUT, you need a LUT file from the DP who shot the project, and it needs to be in a format that Premiere Pro can import. That isn’t always an easy thing to get. Another approach is to keep one file with the Masterclip Effects turned on so you can copy and paste the effect from that clip.)