TNB Night Owl – Seeing History

Little girl and cat in 1896 film, updated to modern video standards.
Little girl and cat in 1896 film, updated to modern video standards. Image captured by the News Blender.

Few things could be more fascinating than time travel into the past, especially if history has the power to grab your attention like it does mine. When we can see history with our own eyes, it seems more real or at least more real than simply reading about it. The people were real, but what were they like, how did they live, what was life like back then? I want to know! Actual time travel seems unlikely to become a reality anytime soon, but some hard-working people have restored several early films thereby providing the next best thing to being there. Most (but not all) of the following film restorations were made by one man: Denis Shiryaev. The restoration is so good in some of these works of art, it almost looks and feels like they could have been filmed in just the last year (proof that they weren’t is provided in the second to last video: “Oldest Video Ever Recorded – 1874 ?! – History”).

To bring these antique films into the 21st century involved several processes. (1) Most of them were upscaled to 4K resolution, so they’d look good on an ultra-high definition (UHD) television screen. Computers were used in this process to interpolate the pixels from the original prints. Scratches and other imperfections in each frame were removed digitally, and pixels were added digitally to increase the resolution. (2) Most were enhanced digitally to 60 feet per second (fps) to remove the ‘jumpiness’ common in old films. (3) Most were colorized, digitally of course. The results are similar to Peter Jackson’s film “They Shall Not Grow Old” (a trailer for that work is at the end, below, in case you haven’t seen it or would like to see it again).

“[60 fps] The oldest recorded video, “Roundhay Garden Scene”, England,1888” (3:48):

“[4K, 60 fps, color] The lumiere family goes on a trip.1895.” (0:59):

“[4K, 60 fps, color] Kids in Lumiere films. 1896.” (5:09):

[60 fps]  A Trip Through Paris, France in late 1890s / Un voyage à travers Paris, 1890″ (6:07):

“[60 fps] Moscow, Tverskaya Street in 1896” (2:10):

“[60 fps] Laborers in Victorian England, 1901” (5:40):

The Wuppertal Schwebebahn (monorail train – still in use today)… “[60 fps] The Flying Train, Germany, 1902” (3:48):

“1906 – Forgotten silent film (Remastered and colorized)” (1:40):

“[4k, 60 fps] San Francisco, a Trip down Market Street, April 14, 1906” (14:23):

“[4k, 60 fps] A Trip Through New York City in 1911” (8:36):

[4K,60Fps,Colorized] Titanic, First and Last Voyage, April 1912 [AI Recovery, added sound]” (2:48):

“[60 fps] Views of Tokyo, Japan, 1913-1915” (4:49):

“[60 fps] A Trip Through the Streets of Amsterdam, 1922” (9:53):

(Ignore the click-bait splash screen you see below, there is nothing risque in the video). “Oldest Video Ever Recorded – 1874 ?! – History” (9:18):

“They Shall Not Grow Old” trailer…
“The Most IMPORTANT Historical Film You NEED To Watch!” (7:11):

Question of the Night: What is the oldest movie you enjoy?

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.