Color Test on B/W Movies

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at colorizing b/w films, but my various efforts were frustrated by software that was beyond my poor comprehension to understand. They say that De-Oldify is the best of the current software but so far it is not “user-friendly” enough for me. I tried out other “consumer-friendly” programs that I could actually figure out but the results were middling. But I discovered that by applying two or even three of them to the same project, a not too bad results could be achieved by combining them.

There are lots of variables including the image quality of the b/w clip, the lighting used, and the need for an abundance of closeups and medium shots. Long shots look simply sepia-toned or worse. But through trial and error I have managed to create a few pleasing clips. Understand that this process has a long, long way to go, especially with the home software market that’s not meant to be professional grade. I have hope for the future but in the meantime, here are some glimpses of where this process is at the moment.

This clip is from the romantic musical comedy, MISSISSIPPI (1935), that stars Bing Crosby, Joan Bennett, and W.C. Fields. I call this clip the “Bing Crosby Fist Fight” because mild-mannered Bing is provoked into duking it out with famous movie tough guy Fred Kohler Sr. Meanwhile, W.C. Fields gets some laughs by just showing up.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Keep it up!!!! Love Mississippi and the song used in the clip.

  2. Thank you very much. Lots and lots of very good memories.

    ~ Eric Butler


  3. This footage is quite spectacular — congratulations! Did you put it in HD as well? The color seems a lot richer than the horrible “colorization” craze of decades past. I encourage you to keep up the good work and keep us posted. This is a lot of fun.

    • Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your encouragement.

  4. Hi Bob,

    They have just discovered a complete Technicolor print of Sally (1929) in Russia. You can watch it at the following link:



    • Thank you, Irene. This is great news indeed! Dare I hope that a sound print – with Technicolor sequences – of GENERAL CRACK will turn up? Bob

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