Insider Tips: Creating an Adjustment Layer for LUTs in Final Cut Pro

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Reuben Evans shows you how to trick Final Cut Pro into creating an Adjustment Layer that you can use for LUTs and other effects.

Creating an Adjustment Layer for LUTs in Final Cut Pro

Apple’s Final Cut Pro doesn’t feature a built-in Adjustment Layer feature. It prefers that you apply looks and effects at a clip level. But many editors want to be able to apply a LUT or an effect to an entire timeline quickly.

Luckily, Apple’s Motion app makes it easy to create one. Larry Jordan’s technique for creating an Adjustment Layer is a clever way to get what you need.

Open Apple Motion and create a Final Cut title. We aren’t creating a title, but this process places a transparent layer over your timeline, just like a conventional Adjustment Layer. And we can use this for our LUT or effect.

Motion will launch a new project with layers. Delete the layer that says “Type Text Here.” Then save your project and call it “Adjustment Layer.” I created a category with my name.

Adding your LUT

Now go back to Final Cut Pro. Click on the Generators Sidebar icon and select the category that you put it in, (“Reuben,” in my case), and you’ll see the Adjustment Layer. Drag it down into your timeline. And trim it to your desired duration—which can cover multiple clips in your timeline.

Select the Adjustment Layer, and go up to the Color Board (Cmd+6). Now if you make a color correction, it will affect all the clips. And you can easily disable the Adjustment Layer if you need to.

In the “Color” category of the Video Effects you’ll find a “Custom LUT” filter. Drag this filter onto the Adjustment Layer. In the Inspector, you can now select or import a custom LUT of your choosing to affect all the clips below the adjustment layer.

Insider Tips are helpful weekly posts brought to you by’s awesome writers and industry experts. Come back for a new Insider Tip every Wednesday, or subscribe to our newsletter to get a reminder each week.

Screenshots from Amazing Grace (due for release in 2024). Courtesy of Visuals 1st Films, LLC.

Reuben Evans

Reuben Evans is an award-winning screenwriter, executive producer at Faithlife, and a member of the Producers Guild of America. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries and commercials. Reuben’s tools of choice are RED Cameras, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. He writes for Insider and is part of the Blade Ronner Media writers network. Reuben resides in Washington state with his wife, four kids, and one crazy goldendoodle puppy named Baker.

Insider Tips: Correctly Using HEX Color Values in Resolve

Insider Tips: Put Your After Effects Guides Right Where You Want Them

Insider Tips: How to Use FCP’s Segmented Exports for Long Edits