CineStlye LOG and LUT explained for people like me

I just got off the phone with BBC freelance cameraman and HDSLR expert Johnnie Behiri who recently did some tests on the CineStyle picture profile. I told him I had already had a hard time understanding the whole log, lut, linear stuff with the Arri in Januar and he said something like: “What? Come on, it’s very simple.”

Ok, I was good in maths but this stuff took some time to settle in my brain. If you’re like me and all this is a bit confusing I’ll try to sum it up once more and real quick:
LOG (logarhitmic) capture modes, such as the new CineStyle by Technicolor for the Canon 5D mark 2 (also works for other DSLR cameras) are designed to preserve image information rather than look good as is. In other words a LOG capture mode uses the whole dynamic range of your sensor and stores the info in the most efficient way (which is logarhitmic), no matter how ugly that result might be.

We DSLR filmmakers don’t care about that “flat” look as long as we get as much as possible out of (or into) the 40mbits of H.264 compression of our cameras. In professional filmmaking on so called digital cinema cameras they have been using these LOG modes from the start in order to get best results. Also analogue film captures logarhitmically if you care to know, so it seems to make sense to go through all this.
To make our lives easier in post production we apply a LUT curve to our unnaturally flat looking “raw” material. Basically it’s an inverted curve to your CineStyle curve, to make the curve linear again. So this converts our logarhitmically recorded footage into a more natural looking linear image again.


histograms via

If I still got something wrong, you’re welcome to correct me in the comments.

Test by Johnnie:
Many members of this board have tested, compared and evaluated the new Technicolor picture style. The best way to sum it it up is probably: It works. You can follow the discussion here.

Here’s another test Johnnie Behiri did this week. We had very nice weather in Vienna so he had bright sunlight which was good for the test.
“The idea was to see first hand how the new picture profile is helping the camera to cope with highlights/shadow + how skin tones look before and after utilizing the LUT.”

Plain CineStyle without LUT (logarhitmic image):

CineStyle with LUT (linear image):

Side by Side:


Here are more C5D articles on the Technicolor Picture Syle:
New: CineStyle LUT now compatible with Apple Color
First tests: Technicolor CineStyle
Technicolor Picture Profile / Style

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