Substituting ACES ADX for Cineon Film Log When Using Resolve’s Film LUTs

January 13, 2023

Explore how to get better results from Resolve’s Film Looks LUTs by leveraging the ACES ADX standard — even if you're not grading in ACES!


Working with greater accuracy while using Resolve’s default Film LUTs

As a colorist, film enthusiast, and color scientist, I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking up better ways to model the behavior of film in a dynamic and scene-referred way. I’ve come up with some great solutions, but sometimes all this head-scratching complexity isn’t necessary — what if we just want to use the Resolve’s native Film Looks LUTs to get a nice SDR reproduction of our camera log material?

The conventional wisdom is that it’s as simple as transforming our source into Rec709/Cineon, and then applying the LUT.

Moving beyond the Cineon

And while this works, it’s not ideal, and there’s actually a better way to get our image into the approximate color space of a film negative. This can be accomplished with the ACES ADX standard, which was devised to provide a method of color managing scanned film, as well as preparing an ACES grade for a film-out.

Learning goals for this Insight

By the end of this Insight you should understand:

  • Why transforming into Rec709 prior to your LUT may be a significant compromise for your image
  • What is the actual color space expected by the Resolve Film Looks LUTs and other legacy film LUTs?
  • The history and intended use of the ACES ADX standard

Related Mixing Light Insights

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Homepage Forums Substituting ACES ADX for Cineon Film Log When Using Resolve’s Film LUTs

  • James Garrow

    Awesome insight. Really helpful in understanding the ADX standard. What are your thoughts using ADX 10 as an input transform to ACES when working from scanned negative. I’ve been testing/using it lately and like the results.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  James Garrow.

    • Cullen Kelly

      Glad you enjoyed it James! I think ADX10 is definitely the best publicly available IDT for working with film scans (especially if the scanner used was APD/ADX compliant).

  • Nice insight. Thank you, Culllen. Do you think Blackmagic will ever update their legacy film looks for colour-managed workflows or will they leave that up to individuals/third-party vendors?

    • Cullen Kelly

      Thanks Luca! I doubt those film looks will ever be updated, simply because it takes a combo of creative and technical prowess than only a few people in our industry possess — and most of them are employed by post houses or other software companies 😂

  • Corey Hunter

    Hello, Cullen. I recently purchased your LUT pack and was wondering if there was a tutorial on here detailing best Davinci Resolve color management settings to use with them? Thanks!

    • Cullen Kelly

      Hey Corey! Do you mean the Voyager pack? Best resource on how to use them is the mini course included with the LUTs. Hope this helps!

  • Hey man, great insight! I’ve used that trick often in the past. However, I can do you one better 😅

    If you have a good negative film emulation LUT or Film convert Nitrate (which allows you to separate the print component) and you’re willing to work in node based ACES; You can convert the source footage with the negative film emulation then use the ADX10 IDT, but go to CCT and grade in a “full” ACES pipeline allowing you to move into HDR.

    I’ve done this for a feature that needed an HDR deliverable, and it worked surprisingly well.

    • Cullen Kelly

      Cool idea Zé! We could do an entire series on film emulation strategies for HDR, but this is a great start!

  • Hi Cullen,

    As usual, very nice insight ! I learnt a lot.

    Thank you far sharing so much precious informations 🙂

    • Cullen Kelly

      You got it Guillaume! Glad this was informative for you!

  • Hi Cullen!

    I’m trying this method with rec.709 source but what I receive are a gamut issues in many clips. I could limit it in parametric mode but reference gamut compress option doesn’t work very good for me. Is there some bigger problem with rec.709 material using this technique, or did I do something wrong? Thanks!

    Edit. Ok, now I understand why it cannot work that way. Rec.709 material needs to be transformed into log before applying LUT.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Maciej Chmielewski. Reason: Answered myself :)

  • Cullen Kelly

    Glad you were able to figure this out Maciej!

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