HLG3 to Rec709 Premiere PRO Color Grading Workflow

Filmmaking | Editing tutorial

HLG3 to Rec709 Premiere PRO Color Grading Workflow

Table of Contents

In my last article, I showed you how I set up my Sony Alpha 7 III to get the best quality cinematic looking footage. If you haven’t seen it you can read it here. 

In this article, I’ll show you my HLG3 to Rec709 Premiere PRO Color Grading Workflow to bring your HLG 3 footage to life.

Disclaimer up front

There might be a thousand different ways to turn your HLG3 footage into cinematic Rec709 footage and in the past few years I tried several. But the one I’m showing you today worked actually best for me. A little disclaimer right up front: The LUTs I’m using are paid LUTs.

I’m not sponsored, and those are also no affiliate links. Those are simply the LUTs which work best for me. So this article won’t be a deep dive into color grading. It’s simply a very fast way how to achieve good looking colors in your videos, especially when you’re starting as a filmmaker.

There’s so much to learn and I’m trying to use as many resources as possible to simplify the process.

There will be a time where I’ll be upgrading my color grading skills, but for now I’m relying on experts which know how to achieve beautiful colors. So that being said, let’s jump right into Premiere Pro.

Before Color Grading

After Color Grading

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#1: Interpret footage:

Now start Premiere Pro, create a sequence and pull in some clips you want to color grade.

Now, before you even start to color correct and color grad your HLG 3 footage, you have to interpret the footage.

So what you’ve got to do first is to mark all of the clips in your project bin, do a right click and then go to modify -> interpret footage. 

In the color management tab, change from „Use Media Color Space from File“ to „Color Space Override“ and choose Rec. 709 -> Otherwise you will get some burned out highlights. Then hit OK.

#2 Sequence Settings:

Let’s have a look inside my sequence settings:

  • editing mode is custom
  • 23.976 frames per second timeline
  • 4k 3840 by 2160
  • working color space: Rec. 709 

The rest you can keep like it is and hit „OK“.


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#3 HLG3 to Rec709 with Conversion LUT 

First step you have to do is to convert the camera color space into the Rec. 709 color space. You can do it manually, but as mentioned above I rely on experts, who know best how to achieve goog looking colors.

So I’m using the conversion LUT from Leeming LUT pro

There you’ll find the fitting LUTs for different camera modells and also a very good set up guide for your camera, so the consversion LUT works best.

It’s not super expensive and it does a really good job. 

As soon you have doanloaded the LUTs, go to Premiere, open up the Lumetri Color Tab -> Basic Correction -> Input LUT and search for the „Leeming HLG3 to Rec. 709“ LUT.

Now you can already see that the colors changed a little bit. It’s now a little bit darker and a little bit more contrasty.

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#4 Color Correction with Lumetri Scopes

Next we open up the Luma Lumetri Scopes. If you can’t see it -> go to window -> Lumetri Scopes. What we’re looking for is this diagram you can see here. It’s called the „Parade RGB White“ diagram. What we can see here is the full white point at 100 and the full black point where it hits zero.

Now we adjust the white and the black in the Lumetri Color Tab until the Parade hits 100 for the whites and 0 for the blacks. 

Like this we can make sure, that we have no under-, or overxposed areas in the image and get the maximum contrast / dynamic range.

Now adjust the shadows, highlights, exposure and eventually the temperature and tint to your liking.

I think now we go to curves. We put in a little bit more contrast to like an S-curve, just very slight curve. Otherwise we would get like clip blacks or whites. All right. I think that’s good. The last step I’m doing is it uses secondary and sharp and the footage just a little bit like this. All right. That is already it for the basic color correction you can now look, if your next clips look more or less the same and then do like a copy, mark all the clips, paste the attributes, just select the luminary color hit.


#5 Final Adjustments:

Now we go to curves. We add a little bit more contrast with an S-curve, just very slightly. Otherwise we would get like clip blacks or whites.

The last step I’m doing is to go to HSL secondary and sharpen the footage just a little bit.

That’s already it for the basic color correction you can now look, if your next clips look more or less the same and then do a right click on your color corrected footage -> click copy -> mark all the clips -> paste the attributes -> just select the lumetry color and hit „OK“.

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#6 Cinematic Look with creative LUTs

Now, as all the clips are color corrected, we will give the images a little bit more punch.
And for that I’m using the creative LUTs from Niklas Christl.

I think all of you might have heard already the name. Niklas is creating really nice videos on YouTube and he also developed his own signature LUTs. He sells them for €49. As I said before, there are no affiliate links and I’m also not sponsored.

I just really like the colors he’s using in his videos and those  LUTs work well on Sony footage as he’s using a Sony A7 S III as well.

So what we’re going to do now is: Create an adjustment Layer -> pull the adjustment Layer into the timeline and cover all the clips.

Now go into the the creative tab of the adjustment layer -> Look -> Choose „browse“ -> and search for one of the creative LUTs from Niklas. The one I like a lot, especially for sunset shots is „sunkissed“.

At first the LUT works way too strong. But you can adjust the intensity.

What I usually do for the LUTs: I start at zero intensity and then I slowly start to increase the intensity until I like the look. 

Remember to not overdo it!

That’s basically all I’m doing to color correct and color grad my footage.

I hope I could help you in some way and make your workflow a little bit more efficient.


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