I've worked in Photoshop to colorize old black and white photographs. I found one excellent way to add color was to tweak the various channels in the Curve effect. It can take a while to get it right!
The problem with doing it for video is that you have to do it on 30 pictures every second for the entire length of the video.
There is no easy way to do this. The Roto Brush might help you when you're isolating colors to certain areas. But other times, you may have to resort to animating shape paths and masks. It's possible that for some shots you could use the Paint Bucket tool to isolate a particular area, but it won't work for most areas, I'm sure.
As I said previously, there is no easy way to do this.
I agree with Szalam: there is no easy way to do it. There is also no GOOD way to do it.
Have you ever seen colorized World War II footage? If you have, you know it looks like the color has been faked, and at the moment, that fake look is state of the art. Furthermore, if it was easy you would see a lot more colorized black & white footage.
Thanks Szalam.. you are right .. and this is so disappointing
No, Dave, i haven't seen it but will have a look to see what you mean. Thanks a lot
Here's a step by step and a few other ideas. To add color to a black and white film it is best to use the Color blend mode. AE CC 2014 has very powerful mask tracking which can be used to isolate things like faces and clothing. A bit of hand work may also be required. For some scenes, you'll need to use RotoBrush to isolate the elements you want to colorize. You cannot effectively colorize just by manipulating channels unless you want very subtle colors because black and white images may have exactly the same color channel values for a man's shirt that you want to turn blue, the leaves on a tree that you want to turn green or the car he is driving that you want to turn red. You can, however, create a mask that tracks the car and then add a red layer or fill effect using the color blend mode to turn the gray car red and maintain all of the highlights and shadow values.
Really powerful color correction software has the power to isolate and track areas based on edges (much the same way rotobrush works) so this kind of color correction can be done on the fly but it still requires a separate mask for every color you want to add.