What techniques are used to colorise old black and white movies? Are there different techniques? How to choose the right technique?

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    If you're interested in how the pros do it, this article on Wikipedia explains it. I'm not sure what software is available to consumers. I believe the pros write their own in many cases. (Plus a lot of it can still be done by hand in one form or another.) – user1118321 Dec 1 '14 at 0:25

It is a largely manual and labor intensive process. Each object is manually identified and assigned colors. Computers can help by providing tracking of objects within a scene to apply some initial values for each frame, but it still comes down to manually picking the color of everything.

The problem is that black and white footage only provides information about luminance and luminance on an object is highly variable as it moves through light and shadow. There is no information at all to be able to determine the color, just how brightly the color would have been. The colors have to be chosen based on what people would expect it to be (green grass, skin tones, blue sky, etc).

There isn't any software available to consumers for doing this that I can think of. Might be able to find a plug in for After Effects or something, to make tracking masks and apply tints that way, but even that would be tricky. There isn't really an easy way to do it since it effectively comes down to painting the old footage, even if a computer provides some basic assistance.

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