Tonality is the defining element
In the early days of cinema, when great visionaries like Albert Hitchcok successfully pushed the barriers of cinematography, there came defining moments where directors established themselves with a trademark style. Out of this era of experimentation came styles like film noir and bleach bypass techniques; defining examples of unique film "tonality".
Tonality is a great way for a film maker to differentiate him/herself from the crowded space of creative artists. From The Matrix' green crushed tone to LARS VON TRIER's use of ultra slow motion, diverse filmakers are now known for their trademark styles. For example, JJ ABRAMS is recognised for his use of lens flares, JOHN WOO for his heroes wielding double guns, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN for his live actions and MICHAEL BAY for his over the top use of explosions.
Recently, cameras and other creative tools are enabling filmakers to breakout into their own unique styles or tonalities. From Sounds, Visuals and FX, there exists diverse methodologies to creating a defining tone. No place is this more evident than in POST PRODUCTION and in particular COLOR CORRECTION and specifically 3D LUTS.
The simplest way to describe 3D LUT (LookUpTables) is that, they are small files containing specific instructions about how to treat color schemes of video clips. LUTs require an NLE or Editing tool in order to interpret the information. LUTs work best on RAW video files and can shape the final look of a clip or an entire movie. For professional and powerfully unique styling of your video production, there is a tool from Blackmagic Design called [DaVinci Resolve]. It comes in both hardware and software, and gives the colorist complete control over every aspect of your video project.
Resolve isn't cheap and might set a couple of people back but the power behind this tool is absolutely superior and the support from BLACKMAGIC is awesome. For the budget filmaker, multiple solutions are offered by vendors around the world. [OSIRIS] by Vision Color is one such package with an amazing selection of preset LUTs which instantly transforms any video clip into a world-class project. Checkout [RAMPANT DESIGN] and [GROUND CONTROL] for other groundbreaking 3D LUTs.
Studios together with their creative producers have enabled us to see the power of LUTs, embodied in films like Zack Snyder's 300, Wachowski's MATRIX, Frank Miller's SIN CITY and Danny Boyle's TRAINSPOTTING. 3D LUTs are amazing creative tools. It will enable a filmaker to produce unique visual tones. The most powerful LUTs are the ones designed by colorists for a single project, with a specific look, nevertheless preset LUTs are equally powerful.
About the author: Sal Souza is an International Designer (Cinema, Graphic, Visual, Multimedia, Broadcast Media, Industrial, User Interaction, User Experience) and IT Consultant with expertise in New Media, Web 3.0, IPTV, DTV, Media Production, Product Prototyping, Desktop Software, Interactivity, Mobile Applications, Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications and Cultural Goods. He lives and works in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Follow me on @sldsouza