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Thread: Black and white and color

  1. #1

    Default Black and white and color

    Okay, so I have a question. I'm really quite new to the whole video-editing process, but I do plan to make a career out of filmmaking, so I have to start somewhere and right now I'm at the stage where I ask a lot of questions about techniques, how-to's, etc.

    I have a project in mind right now which might involve having the entire film in black and white except for certain figures (a select few people) who would be in full color, and before I get wrapped up in this idea, I want to know if I will even be able to achieve this effect on my own.
    Can anyone tell me how I would go about doing this? And how difficult it would be?
    Last edited by mongrelterritory; 01-12-2011 at 09:58 AM.

  2. #2


    Welcome to the forum. I hope you get an answer to this as I'm interested to see what people recommend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    Hi. What software are you using? I know something like this can be done is Final Cut Pro but I'm not sure of the process. You can also do this in After Effects, one way would be to use masks and rotoscope the people you want to be in full colour but I think there is an easier way. these tutorials will show you the basics of After Effects and after that it's a lot about finding your own work arounds to things: After Effects Basic Training . You can download a free trial if you dont have the software. Either way to answer your question it is definitely possible with some compositing software but you may have to do some research.

  4. #4


    In theory there are effects available in various editing/effects programs that let you leave colours in the shot while desaturating everything else.

    In practice it's not that simple.

    First, if you want to leave certain figures, rather than just colours, your going to have quite a range of colour information you'll want to keep, this information will also exist in plenty of the areas you want to desaturate.

    Second, to do this level of colour work you'll really need to shoot with a high quality camera that records with as high a level of chroma sampling (the amount of colour information it records) as possible.

    The long way round is to rotoscope it (cutting out masks around what you want to keep and animating them to follow the action). You can do this with any quality video, from any camera. But it is very time consuming.

    The shorter way round is a combination of both.

    I'm actually just wondering, this could possibly be the ideal job to spend time getting to grips with the after effects rotobrush. I've been going to take a further look into the tool when I get some spare time, I think you've just pointed me to my test subject when the time comes.


  5. #5


    Okay, thanks everyone! That really helps me out a lot. With the situation I'm in right now, it looks like I'll probably have to wait on this project, but this information will definitely come in handy sometime in the near future!
    Thanks again!

  6. #6


    You might be able to just get away with green screening the color characters too. Kind of depends on the content.

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