Making color video look like old B&W film

john in covina's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2010 - 2:31am

I am interested in taking some of the video I have and making it look like old B&W film. I was wondering if any of the less expensive editing programs have the ability to make this type of conversion. I am interested in the Adobe Premier 6 but wasn't able to find if it did that.

I'd like to be able to take it to B&W,

maybe add some scratches, dirt & hair effect

and possibly change the speed so it looks like undercranked silents or like old newsreels.

I have a simple Hitachi DZ-GX5020A video camera that makes mini-dvds

I am hoping that at some point I'll be able to afford a new computer.

XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

Windows Movie Maker has a basic b&w effect, and film age old, but it doesn't have 24p

D0n's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

imovie does that easily.

grinner's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

all NLEs will. I tell my little trick though. While there are plugins galore for film scratches, ect., I kept an old beta from back in my linear days with reel film sctatches, grain, firt, and leader. I luma key it over footage when I wanna trash it up as it's much more organic. I can literally tell you what plugin was used for fake film trash from the back of the room it's become so recognizable.

birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

Grinner is right - All NLE's have a color correction (or other) FX that allow you to bring the saturation to 0 - This will make your footage B&W. In Sony Veags' version you can have varying degrees (from 0 to 3.0) which will have different effects on the video.

Sony Vegas has a couple of other FX that you can use:

1) Black & White - Just what it says - Blend amount of 1.0 will make it B&W, but you can adjust the slider to varying degrees of B&W (0 - Full color, 1 - B&W).

2) HSL Adjust - Change the saturation to 0.

3) Film Effects - Convert to B&W by checking the "Convert to greyscale" checkbox; add grain and/or tint by using the sliders labeled as such; add particles (dust, flicker, hair, jitter, scratches) by selecting them from the combo box and adjusting the slider to change amount to suit. Add multiple FX for multiple particle types.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions

H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

All the guys have given you great tips of how to do it in post. One thing to keep in mind when shooting color-for-b&w video is to keep in mind your exposure, contrast and the colors of your talent's clothing during the shoot. Remember, all colors will turn to shades of black, white and gray when you convert the footage over to B&W. Blues and browns will turn black or to darker grays, Red and Green will turn to medium gray while Orange will turn to light gray. Pink, yellow or any pastel color will turn to white. You also want to substitute Dark blue or brown for black and yellow, pink or pastel colors for white. Black and white fabrics are a 'female dog' to get proper exposure on which will translate well in B&W.

You'll end up washing out your talent's skin-shading and if you have dark or pale talent then there's that whole exposure nightmare to deal with. Lighting will be your saving grace to help separate your subjects from the background. If you're shooting outdoors, use reflectors if you don't have outdoor lighting available. If you're shooting interiors, use dedicated video lights with minimal diffusion. If you've ever seen any of those B&W films from the '40's, '50's and '60's the light is always harsh. That's necessary to create a sense of depth in the scene.

Here's a link that gives an example of how colors will translate to B&W.

Shooting for B&W

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc.

Daryl jemison Jemison's picture
Last seen: 4 years 3 months ago
Joined: 11/15/2007 - 6:59am

Also some caneras will shoot black and white my FX-1 has this setting. I have used it before and it turned out very nice

Daryl jemison Jemison's picture
Last seen: 4 years 3 months ago
Joined: 11/15/2007 - 6:59am

oops not caneras but cameras