What Makes Film Print Emulation LUTs Special (and how do you use them)?

March 18, 2022

In this new series, build the foundation to evaluate & implement ANY Film Print Emulation (FPE) - with the Kodak 2382 film stock as baseline.


Part 1: An introduction to ‘FPE’ Look Up Tables using Resolve’s native film print LUTs

Film Print Emulation (FPE) is a hot topic in the world of color grading.  More than two decades after the transition to digital, filmic looks are still common at the highest levels of production.  Why is that?

What do directors, cinematographers, and colorists like about ‘the film look’?

More importantly, how can you evaluate FPE LUTs and software packages to determine what they’re doing to footage?

In this new series, you’ll explore the myriad of film emulation techniques and products available to help build these ‘film looks’. From LUTs & Resolve DCTLs to custom node structures and OFX plugins, I’m taking you on a systemic journey of evaluation and comparison.  As this series progresses we’ll:

  • Dive into the various implementations of common emulations
  • Compare results across a common set of images to help characterize their look and effect
  • Dig into the details of how these different approaches achieve their looks.
  • We’ll use the much-loved Kodak 2383 emulation and compare the results between products.

By the end of this series, you’ll have a better idea of the emulation types and techniques that might fit a certain project, or your individual style of grading. You’ll also have a solid foundation for evaluating any FPE you run across, to decide if it’s appropriate for the job at hand – and to communicate those results to your client.

In this Insight – Project setup and evaluating Resolve’s native Kodak 2383 FPE LUT

In this first episode, we start with one of the original film emulation techniques: film print emulation Look Up Tables. 

The native, high-quality Film Print Emulation (FPE) LUTs in DaVinci Resolve.

Using the highly-regarded FPE LUTs in Resolve (that ship with both the free and Studio version):

  • We examine how to specifically implement Resolve’s native FPE LUTs – setting up the classic Kodak 2383 LUTs as our baseline for the entire series.
  • Discuss the proper image color space and gamma these Resolve’s FPE LUTs require
  • Look at the significant effects an FPE has on different tonal ranges of your images

Sign up for a 7-Day Test Drive to explore these topics (and more)

This free Insight is just the tip of the iceberg! We’ve been teaching these topics for a decade.

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Learning Goals

What are the specifics that members should learn from this Insight?

  1. The provenance behind the built-in FPE LUTs in Resolve
  2. How to set up your image pipeline to use Resolve’s FPE LUTs, and (most importantly, why)?
  3. How do you systematically identify the hallmarks of the Kodak 2383 (or any other) LUT, and how it affects different areas of the image?

By using the Kodak 2383 LUT as our baseline, you learn the skill and develop the eye to evaluate all the FPE LUTs that ship with Resolve. You also build the foundation to evaluate ANY Film Print Emulation solution that you’ll come across in your career.

Feedback? Comments?

I’m really excited for this series. If there are specific packages you’d like me to consider tackling, let me know in the comments!



Homepage Forums What Makes Film Print Emulation LUTs Special (and how do you use them)?

  • Dmitri Z

    Thank you for a nice and informative tutorial on the topic.

  • R Neil Haugen

    Peder, nice presentation, especially showing the ‘base’ setup for testing LUTs. Very important to start off with a correct color basis for accurate presentation and for accurate comparison. Thanks!

    And looking forward to your look on Jason’s tools …

  • Tony S

    Having tested multiple Resolve FPE plugins I consider Filmbox from videovillage.co/filmbox/ to overall be the best FPE compared to others. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

    • I love Filmbox as well, and will be featuring it in this series.  Its a very flexible and powerful OFX FPE plugin.

  • Diego B

    Great tutorial, Peder! I’d like in this serie if you can test the Look designer OFX plugin and some of Paul Dore DCTL’s.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Diego!  Both Look Designer and Paul Dore’s Baldavenger DCTLs are coming up in this series!

  • Jason Bowdach

    Fantastic series, Peder! Really looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the various tools available for FPE-style looks. Some great thoughts on memory colors here and how these emulations tend to target those hue ranges without making them look “unreal”.

  • andi winter


    love the clarity of the setup! looking forward…

  • Maurice Morales

    Thank you. Very informative

  • James Garrow

    Really great presentation. You have a very clear descriptive style!

  • Really good to get method based knowledge of how to use these tools. I have a couple of questions regarding the setup.

    I use these LUTs quite often and my go to is the 3 node technique – prepping the signal berfor the lut and then tweaking afterwards. I get pretty good results, but the cineon transform makes sense and I’m always looking to do things in a better way.

    Following through the steps you took to transform the footage using the clip samples you used was great! And the results on the whole were pretty good However I also used another BRaw sample image (a guy sitting on a patio with a blue shirt) and I noticed that the deep blues go quite noisy and the Red channel goes far out of range at the bottom end. I also tried the process with some Arri Log C footage (transforming from Arri Alexa/Log C – rec709/cineon). I had similar results. It seems to be affected most by the transform to rec 709 cineon.

    I know this is a series on FPE not technical image transforms but how is the best way to break this kind of problem down so I can understand why this starts to happen in some images.

    Thank you! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.


  • Hey Alexander!  You can definitely use these FPE LUTs without the Cineon transform and get good-looking results.  The Cineon log curve is very similar to some of the camera log spaces.  Transforming to Cineon with these LUTs just gives you an “accurate” emulation.

    It sounds like you might be running into a gamut mapping/compression issue with the noisy blues.  Make sure you have Gamut Mapping set to Saturation Compression on your rec709/Cineon CST node.  You can play around with those sliders a bit.  You can also use a Gamut Limiter OFX on a prior node to limit the gamut to Rec709 prior to the CST node.

  • Brilliant! Thanks so much for the knowledge. I watched the next in the series and the adition of the 4 colour grad actually helped me understand some of the issues. Thanks again.


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