Comparing Features of LUT Boxes for On Set Use 3 min read

When talking about the hardware integrations of LiveGrade Pro we often get asked about the best LUT box to use: “Which is the best LUT box for the film set?” or “Which LUT box do you recommend to work with your software?”. LiveGrade works with a broad range of LUT boxes which in the end leaves you spoilt for choice.

Working closely together with great hardware manufacturers to implement compatibility with their devices and therefore overseeing a broad range of compatible LUT boxes we are constantly dealing with related topics on very different levels. But can we name the no. 1 LUT box to use or is this even possible? Today’s mission is to find a good answer for the question:

Does “The” Best LUT Box for the Film Set Exist ?

Depending on the production environment different solutions are demanded. But how can you find the LUT box that fits your needs? Distinct features of a LUT box have to be considered to find the right LUT box fitting your setup. In the end it comes down to finding a compromise on characteristics.

Here’s a list of the most relevant characteristics of LUT boxes for on set use:

  • Precision: The bigger the size of the look-up table the better its precision of the color processing. The size of the LUT that is applied on the image stream differs from device to device. Precision, meaning LUT size, plays a key role in the reproduction of the look of an image. 
  • Connectivity: There are several ways to connect to a LUT box. Usually you have the choice between USB, Ethernet or a wireless network connection. Make sure the connectivity fits your requirements on set e.g. when you have to access the look on the box remotely because you cannot keep it at your cart.
  • Routing capabilities: Some LUT boxes have conversion capabilities that might e.g. be an SDI to HDMI conversion, provide an additional clean loop through output, or can split the input signal to multiple outputs. Such features might help you to keep your setup small (e.g. by avoiding an extra HD-SDI router or converter boxes).
  • Number of channels: More channels more freedom. Single cam or multi cam shoot? In a multi cam shoot you might need more LUT box channels. So the question is: Two channels in one device? Or maybe two devices with only one channel to be more flexible? The options are numerous but your requirements will provide the way to go. 
  • Form factor and weight: Form factor and weight of the LUT box device can kick in as a decision criteria. For example when mounting the LUT box to the camera a smaller device can be handy. When keeping the LUT box steady at your cart maybe you can favor other characteristics. Just be aware that a bit more weight at the wrong position can be pretty heavy over time.
  • Supplementary Features: Supplementary features like e.g. frame grabs, internal scaling, or even video scopes can help you do a better job. Make sure not to miss catching up on them.

Find Out More About LUT Boxes Supported in LiveGrade

From the list above you see that there is no general no. 1 choice for the “best” LUT box. It really depends on what you need. Our knowledge base offers a comprehensive list of supported devices here:

https://kb.pomfort.com/livegrade/supported-devices-in-livegrade/

Learn more about all other topics  in our KnowledgeBase about LiveGrade Pro and download a free 14 days trial of LiveGrade Pro to take a look at how to control LUT devices through our software.

About the Author
Samuel is a junior product manager for Pomfort's on-set applications. Usually you can catch him defining new specs for the software products or managing feature requests - and sometimes writing blog posts.