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I know in 1993, Adobe software was not available.

How was this effect accomplished?

  • 3
    See this
    – A J
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 11:49
  • 44
    I think you may be more than slightly underestimating the availability of editing software in 1993. Jurassic Park for example, was released in the same year..
    – mike
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 11:53
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    And both were from Steven Spielberg.
    – A J
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 11:55
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    Two years prior to Schindler's List, Terminator 2 had a liquid metal robot. Making a coat red should be a bit easier and cheaper than animating a killer robot, even accounting for the budget variance between the two movies.
    – user9311
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 18:50
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    Not that Spielberg used it, but technically Photoshop came out in 1990, Premiere came out in 1991, and After Effects came out in 1993.
    – Jeff Burka
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


As I mentioned in the comments, movie editing software certainly was available in 1993 (see Jurassic Park for example). That being said however, I was under the impression that Schindler's List was deliberately filmed by Spielberg on black and white film, in part to prevent a possible future release of the movie in colour (which would have gone against his vision of the story portrayed by the movie).

Apparently this is correct - the movie was shot on black and white film by Janusz Kaminski - a cinematographer who has shot all of Spielberg's films since 1993. However, according to this article:

Kaminski shot most of the film on black-and-white emulsion, save for the sequences featuring the little girl with the red dress, which were shot in color emulsion and then painstakingly desaturated in a process called rotoscoping, which Kaminski describes as "an old version of CGI, except each frame was done by hand."

Rotoscoping is a technique where the area to be preserved is masked off, and the remainder of the image is worked on in some fashion, frame by frame. The technique has been around long before 1993 - it was used to great effect in the music video for A-ha's Take On Me, released in 1985, to pick but one example.

enter image description here

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    Other notable modern examples of rotoscoping: Richard Linklater's Waking Life youtube.com/watch?v=uk2DeTet98o (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (youtube.com/watch?v=hkjDUERgCQw) (2006).
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 14:28
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    If they now spent time to rotoscope it, wouldn't it have taken less of an effort to film it in black and white and then add colour to the coat rather than filming in colour and then having to desaturate all but the coat?
    – Mrkvička
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 14:29
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    @Mrkvička - I can only speak from my own limited photoshop experience, but generally it's easier to remove information, than to add in information that isn't there to begin with. If one looks at old B&W photos that have been colourised for example, there's still an unrealistic feel to them - the tones and subtleties are off....
    – mike
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 14:34
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    Perhaps the best-known usage of rotoscoping: in the original Star Wars trilogy, the actors used lightsaber props with simple metal rods sticking out of them. The brightly-colored glowing blades were drawn on. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 18:54
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    Jokes on him. Anything can be colorized now, automatically. twitter.com/ColorizeBot It would probably take 2-3 days on a desktop to colorize the whole film. I might even put this on my todo list as a minor troll.
    – Chloe
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 22:06

It is called Recoloring.

In the color correction you can "highlight" a color and set everything else black and white (saturation to 0). This is technique for very long time already.

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