Why Dehancer is not a LUT?

In a nutshell

LUT is merely a table of color change values. It cannot contain all the characteristics of the film that determine the feel of the film image.

Dehancer is a complete and comprehensive tool for the film emulation, which recreates all the main characteristics of the film. At the same time, the tools in Dehancer work according to the analogous principles and do not destroy the original color ratios of the film during its interpretation.

Detail answer

LUT is a simple color transformation that does not consider other characteristics of the film that influence image perception, and especially motion pictures. The characteristics, which cannot be transmitted as LUT tables are as follows:

  • color & contrast characteristics of the film (because it has an infinite number of variations depending on the methods of exposure, development and printing of film)
  • local micro-contrast characteristic that depend on the spatial parameters of the film
  • Spatial optical distortions

Hence, a full film profile cannot be generated with the LUT. Furthermore, with the help of just one LUT, one cannot even build the color-contrast film profile, since it has an infinite number of states.

The sensation of a film image is formed by several visual characteristics associated with its nature – that is, photographic emulsion and optical features of signal registration. The main components of the film image are:

  • color-contrast solution
  • grain
  • soft contours
  • red-orange halos on high contrast contours
  • highlights compression
  • soft glow of highlights
  • “Color breath” due to the impossibility of completely uniform emulsion coating
  • frame jitter as a result of film transportation inaccuracy

When it comes to film emulation, it is often limited to the first point. However, from the point of view of human perception, this is far from the main component. Certainly important, but usually useless without the rest.

At the same time, even if we just talk about the color-contrast solution, it is important to understand that for each film it consists of an infinite set of variations due to the following processes:

  • film exposure
  • film development
  • optical printing from film to print media

The color-contrast solution of each film is a basic color ratio that is interpreted differently depending on the creative task. In order for the basic color solution of the film to remain recognizable, distinctive and harmonious, the color interpretation methods must be either completely analogous, or correspond to them (if we are talking about film imitation in a digital image). Standard digital tools for interpreting color solutions in standard processing softwares (contrast, white balance, etc.) are not suitable for this task.

Dehancer Pro plugin is a comprehensive solution for imitating a film image, which not only contains film profiles, but also tools for their interpretation, working according to the analogous principles (instrumentally measured functions of light-sensitive materials and optical systems). First of all, these include:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Color Density
  • Analogue Range Limiter
  • CMY Color Head

At the same time, each film profile is based on 3 basic film states (Underexposed, Normal Exposure, Overexposed), between which you can choose any intermediate states that cannot be achieved by simple mixing.

Any variation of film interpretation in Dehancer can be saved as a LUT file. These LUTs are designed for DIT tasks, but sometimes they are used for a standard grade. This is okay, but remember that this is just one of an infinite number of film states. And most importantly, LUT contains only a color-contrast transformation and is in no way able to convey the rest, more important visual characteristics of a film image, which are adjusted by following tools:

  • Film Grain
  • Bloom
  • Halation
  • Film Breath
  • Gate Weave
  • Vignette

Hence, it is not possible to compare Dehancer Pro plugin with LUT files. Dehancer Pro is a complete, comprehensive film emulation tool that cannot be even partially replaced by the LUTs.