Cinestyle on DaVinci Resolve Lite

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I needed to use the Cinestyle LUT for DaVinci Resolve, yet the supplied LUT from Technicolor is not in a compatible format. The one good conversion that I know of came from a user called desktopvideoguy. However, his blogspot has since been removed, and the file gone. I have since retrieved both from the archive.org. Here they are for your convenience:

Cinestyle on DaVinci Resolve Lite

The last week has been amazing! First, Avid Media Composer 6.0 was released. Then, Blackmagic Design released an update to it’s “lite” version of DaVinci Resolve that opens up the full capability of this amazing color grading package. This solves a problem for me in a big way – how to apply a LUT file to my Canon 60D footage when shot using Technicolor’s Cinestyle picture style.

First of all, if you own a Canon DSLR and have aspirations to make movies you should try Cinestyle. It allows the full dynamic range of the camera’s sensor to be recorded by the somewhat inadequate H.264 files that the camera creates. The highs and lows are squeezed into a smaller range and then expanded later on in editing, getting back all the detail in those dark parts of the frame that would otherwise be lost.

This expansion is performed using a “LUT” file, which stands for “Look-up table”. It applies the opposite curve to the picture style in the camera. But this file needs to be applied somehow. FCP and After Effects users can make use of Red Giant Software’s LUT Buddy, which is a plug-in that allows is for those applications. However for my humble Media Composer system no such plug-in exists. A very kind user on the Avid forum did post a bin with some hand-created color correction effects that contained an approximation that works just fine. But it’s a little messy to apply two color effects to each clip. Here’s where DaVinci comes in.

DaVinci Resolve Lite is now a full-feautred color grading package that is available for free with a few restrictions, namely resolution. You won’t be editing the next Avatar on it. However, it seems to work perfectly with Media Composer, importing an AAF project file and allowing sensational color grading for the whole timeline.

But despite the fact DaVinci supports LUTs, the ones supplied by Technicolor for Cinestyle are the wrong file format. So, because I’m a computer nerd I sat down tonight and built one from scratch from the technolor-supplied LUT file. This is what you do to start applying Cinestyle LUTs to your footage in DaVinci Resolve…

Step 1:
Download the DVG-Cinestyle-LUT.cube file and save it locally.

Step 2:
Copy the DVG-Cinestyle-LUT.cube file to /Library/Application Support/Blackmagic Design/DaVinci Resolve/LUT/CineSpace on your Mac’s system disk

Step 3:
Open DaVinci Resolve and import a video file or project.

Scene with Cinestyle picture style, imported into DaVinci Resolve

Step 4:
Right-click on the node in the top-right corner. Navigate the menus until you find the DVG-Cinestyle-LUT. Select it.

Selecting the LUT to apply in DaVinci Resolve

That’s it! Here is an example of the uncorrected shot without and then with the LUT applied and color correction added. It’s amazing what results are possible using this technique. I’ll produce a tutorial video on the entire workflow shortly. Stay tuned!