Do you want your project to have that “classic cinema” analog look to it? Then check out these options for film emulation LUTs.

No matter what project you’re working on, at some point you or your client is going to want that production to have more of a “film” look to it. It’s hard to get away from this because the “film” look is engrained within us. Unfortunately, using an actual 35mm cinema camera just isn’t cost effective. That’s why many professionals use digital cameras. But other than the ARRI ALEXA, no digital camera is going to effectively recreate that film look. At least not without help.

Enter: film emulation. During the post-production process, colorists can use film emulation plugins or LUTs to enhance the source footage. Then once this is applied, the final grade process is completed. The end result gives your project the look and feel of classic film stock from Kodak or Fuji.

Let’s check out the three best options available for applying film emulation.

Koji Color

Is there any better source of film emulation than Dale Grahn? Dale is a legendary color timer who has worked on some of the biggest films in the history of cinema. You can see Dale’s color work in Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, Field of Dreams, Toy Story and many more. Dale has worked closely with Koji to develop the Koji Advance software plugin for Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro X, and After Effects CC. Let’s take a look at what Koji Advance really is from Dale Grahn himself.

Works With: Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, and Final Cut Pro X

Let get a look at Koji Advance film emulation in action courtesy of Jesse Gohler-Fleet.

VisionColor ImpulZ

The next film emulation tool on our list might be the most flexible in terms of use. Impulz works with nearly every single NLE system on the market, and much like Koji, it simulates classic film stocks from Kodak and Fuji for those softwares. Another attractive aspect of ImpulZ is its list of clientele. This list includes Discovery Channel, NBC, MTV and HBO.

Finally, one thing we can’t ignore: the price. With introductory and pro level price points that aren’t outrageous, ImpulZ may be a quality solution for many professionals.

Works With: Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Speedgrade CC, Photoshop CC, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve

FilmConvert

Last, but definitely not least — FilmConvert. Out of all the film emulation options, FilmConvert gives you the most bang for your buck, as it has an ultimate bundle for $299 that’s compatible with just about every NLE software out there.

The really interesting part about FilmConvert is that it can be used as a standalone software or as a plugin to your current NLE. Let’s take a look at what FilmConvert can do.

  • Individual NLE Bundle: $199
  • The Ultimate Bundle: $299

Works With: Standalone Software, After Effects CC, Premiere Pro CC, Photoshop CC, Final Cut Pro X, Final Cut Pro 7, Apple Motion, DaVinci Resolve, Avid Media Composer.

One Thing to Keep in Mind

When you want to add film emulation to your arsenal, be sure that your source footage is flat. You want to start from a very generic, level playing field and then let the emulation do a lot of the heavy lifting. If you’re using a DSLR, you may find that your camera is going to give you a very high-contrast look to begin with, so using a film emulation on top of that could make your images look off balance.

Want to read more postproduction content? Then check out these articles from RocketStock:

Are you a fan of that classic film look? Is film emulation something that you’ll look into? Share your thoughts in the comments below!