Lens Profiling - What Is It And Why Could It Be Useful?

Lens Profiling – What Is It And Why Could It Be Useful?

March 1, 2017

Is lens profiling something we should be looking at as colorists or is it a lot of extra effort to save a small amount of time in the grade?


Is It Worth Borrowing This Technique From Stills?

I’m kicking off a new short series this week looking at the idea of lens profiling.

If you’ve ever used Lightroom you’ve probably seen the lens profile box.

It applies a preset correction for vignetting and distortion preset for that particular lens.

After a recent grade with a fashion photographer and talking about lightroom I thought could this be useful for us as colorists?

Could It Save Time?

My theory is that if you are on a long project that is shooting with the same lenses for weeks or months at a time is it worth shooting test charts and balancing the lens characteristics?

With modern lenses, it is probably less important but when working with vintage lenses I have come across many situations like this where a 50mm lens is greener than the macro lens, etc… some even have strange colored vignettes around the edges.

In theory, you could have a set of LUTs,  lens correction settings and preset power grades for each lens that is being used.

I’ll be shooting a follow up this week after I’ve done my own testing but I’d love to hear your comments if anyone is doing this currently.

Check out the video below where I discuss my thought process in more detail

If you’ve got any questions, be sure to leave a comment!


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1 thought on “Lens Profiling – What Is It And Why Could It Be Useful?”

  1. Hi Dan,

    I’m a Colourist that’s doing DIT work now. Having worked on both side of the fence now I can see clearly what goes on.
    I watched your video and thought this idea would be great as I see this geometry, colour/brightness everyday onset. During prep we go through the cameras and lens the primes match pretty well in a set, the short zoom versus the long zoom are a different story. We have some issues with NDs not matching as you go from .3nd to the IRs over .9, etc. Shooting a scene with a prime and long zoom and NDs and you see quickly where this goes. VFX gang may ask for charts to see the geometry issues with the lens and I’m sure there quite a few issues.

    If all this data could be programmed into the cameras/metadata what a wonderful timesaving workflow this would be.

    When this footage gets to the Colourist all the above information has been discarded and they wouldn’t know which lens is which and this would be something great for the manufactures of the cameras, lens and NDs to capture and pass this metadata along. I guess this sorta works for the new gear but we use the lens from decades ago to get a certain look and no metadata exists for them.

    Your idea is great and I get it for big show show we’ll have to pick the brains of the big thinkers of how to pull this off on a much higher level of software interrogation. Thanks for starting this conversation.

    There’s an interesting thread on the CML regarding fixing “Software to correct lenses” which has some further information.

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