I wanted to point everyone to such an amazing post, written by Matthew Allard for NewsShooter.com. This article is packed with information about what these are, when to use them, and why you should use them:
MY TAKE AWAYS FROM IT:
“The downside of Picture Profiles or scene files is that they are usually very specific to a particular camera model. On many cameras you can save these files to the media and export them to copy or share between identical cameras. This is commonly done on multi-camera ENG productions where it is important to have a consistent ‘baked in’ look for all cameras. It’s very important to remember that any of these Looks, Scene Files or Picture Profiles you use will be ‘baked in’ to the recorded image. “
“In the video world when a LUT is applied to an image, the information from that LUT is read and the camera, computer or monitor changes the look of the image based on the information it reads. If your material is going to be broadcast,you use a LUT to normalise or correct a Log image to see what it will look like when it is broadcast as a standard HD Rec. 709 image.”
“Log recording is very different than RAW but they can be used in a similar way. Log isn’t RAW; it’s video, and is just a clever way of capturing an image that maximizes the tonal range of a sensor.”
SOME OF MY RECOMMENDATIONS:
I’ve personally used a couple of picture profiles for my Canon 7d. Cinestyle and Marvel are great picture profiles but the one that I lean to the most and almost exclusively shoot on now is the Cinema picture profile. It does just enough to give a digital image a little bit more of a filmic feel, without have to process it, spend a ton of time coloring it, etc. You can find the link to it here:
As far as Luts go, i’ve been more impressed with Vision Color ImpulZ than any other platform. I have used a few other Luts from other companies, however. I feel ImpulZ is the way to go. I’d encourage you to do the research, as I have, on the Luts you think will work for your projects. My research led me to purchase ImpulZ.