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TECH TIP: Convert Video from Color to Black & White

Linux Journal reader Girish Venkatachalam contributed this useful tip on converting video from color to black & white.

The versatility of the Linux command line is often underestimated. Tasks, such as sophisticated multimedia processing, need not be done with heavy GUIs that will run only on powerful machines.

The simple Linux command line can do it if you have MPlayer and the companion program mencoder installed on your machine.

mencoder is an extremely powerful program that can record analog and digital television, post-process recorded videos, apply various filters and so on. More information is available in the on-line man pages and HTML documentation that comes bundled with the source.

Here, we are faced with a simple task of converting a color movie to black and white. This line will do it for you:

$ mencoder color-video.avi -o black-white-video.avi -vf hue=0:0 -oac copy -ovc lavc

If you are interested in trying out various values for hue and saturation, you can invoke MPlayer with: $ mplayer -vf hue color-video.avi

Press and hold the 5 or 7 keys to reduce hue or saturation.

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