Convert Video to Grayscale

By  on  

I'm a JavaScript fanatic but I've always been fascinated with media manipulation. Maybe it's because I've secretly always wanted to be a designer, but I'm fine with being able to manipulate art with software instead of create the art myself. One type of art I've always enjoyed was black and white (/grayscale) video.

To convert a video to black and white, you can utilize ffmpeg with a few simple arguments:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vf hue=s=0 output.mp4

The preceding command turns this color video:

... to the following grayscale video:

If you were to search ffmpeg on this blog, you'd find dozens of tutorials about how amazing the tool is. Play around with ffmpeg and let me know what awesomeness you come up with!

Recent Features

  • By
    Write Better JavaScript with Promises

    You've probably heard the talk around the water cooler about how promises are the future. All of the cool kids are using them, but you don't see what makes them so special. Can't you just use a callback? What's the big deal? In this article, we'll...

  • By
    Interview with a Pornhub Web Developer

    Regardless of your stance on pornography, it would be impossible to deny the massive impact the adult website industry has had on pushing the web forward. From pushing the browser's video limits to pushing ads through WebSocket so ad blockers don't detect them, you have...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Firefox Marketplace Animated Buttons

    The Firefox Marketplace is an incredibly attractive, easy to use hub that promises to make finding and promoting awesome HTML5-powered web applications easy and convenient. While I don't work directly on the Marketplace, I am privy to the codebase (and so...

  • By
    MooTools: Set Style Per Media

    I'd bet one of the most used MooTools methods is the setStyle() method, which allows you to set CSS style declarations for an element. One of the limitations of MooTools' setStyle() method is that it sets the specific style for all medias.

Discussion

  1. Nice, ffmpeg seems to be quite handy!

    Btw the same effect may be achieved on the client using CSS grayscale-filter, which is nowadays supported by any major browser (but IE). E.g. https://codepen.io/MattDiMu/pen/pBqQqR

    Doing this on the client-side, however, will probably result in much larger file sizes than necessary, as grayscale videos offer much better compression. In your example the difference is 399kB vs 270kB.

  2. Tom Gallagher

    I noticed the file size difference as well.

    David, could you confirm that just adding -vf hue=s=0 reduced the file size by 129KB, there were no other transformations?

    Thanks

  3. Hey David! Since there is difference between BLACK AND WHITE filter and GRAYSCALE filter.

    A truly black and white image would simply consist of two colors—black and white. Grayscale images are created from black, white, and the entire scale of shades of gray.

    Is method you mentioned rather grayscale? Or rather black and white filter?

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!