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How to Make Video Clips Black and White in Final Cut Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/15/2010

A quick tutorial on how to switch your digital video clips from color to black and white using Final Cut Pro.

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    Black and White

    Post-production, or video editing, is often when some of the major creative choices get made for your digital video project. You can make images blurry or cropped, and even speed up or slow down the sequences.

    One of the most common alterations that people use when editing in Final Cut Pro is to give the images a clean look by making them black and white. This is a simple task in Final Cut Pro and can be utilized to give each video clip a different feel.

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    Full Desaturation

    After the clip is captured or imported into Final Cut, take it from the Browser and drag it into the Timeline, which will make it easier to work with. Place it where you want it to be in the sequence and then double click it, bringing it into the Viewer.

    Go back to the Browser and click on the Effects tab, which should be right behind your project’s tab unless you have multiple projects open. Either way it will always be the tab that is the farthest back.

    Once there click on the Video Filters folder, which then opens into a series of sub-options. These sub-options range from Blur to Stylize and are all series of video effects that you can apply to your video.

    Click on the option labeled Image Control, and again you will be given a list of sub-options below it.

    Go to the one titled Desaturate and drag this option onto the image in the Viewer. Suddenly your image will appear in black and white!

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    Partial Desaturation

    If you are looking to only give it a partially desaturated look, such as making it just have a slight hint of color in the black and white appearance then you can do this by clicking on the Filters tab in the Viewer. You will see that there is only one effect, Desaturate, which is indicated here. There are two bars here, the Desaturate bar and the Mix bar. Select the Desaturate bar and adjust it by dragging it from the right to the left until the display image you are seeing in the Canvas is exactly the right color consistency for you.

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    Easy Process

    Making the image black and white is as simple as finding the effects selection, picking Desaturate, and then dragging and dropping it over the image. This can be used for only part of a project or for the entire project to give it a classic feel.

    Want to learn more? Check out other helpful articles about video editing in Final Cut.