London Then and Now Video Puts Identical Footage from 1927 and 2013 Side-by-Side

A couple of times last year, we had the chance to share with you amazing color film footage shot all the way back in the 1920s by filmmaker and cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene. His father had invented the bicolour technique of capturing color film, and using this technique Friese-Greene captured beautiful footage of 1920’s Britain for his collection of films The Open Road.

The most famous of these films were shot in London, at the end of Friese-Greene’s two-year roadtrip around Britain; and now, 86 years later, we can compare his footage with the same shots taken in present day thanks to filmmaker Simon Smith.


Smith clearly took this project very seriously. His footage is a shot-for-shot remake of Friese-Greene’s London tour, meticulously re-created to match in every way so that you might admire both the similarities and differences unencumbered.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter. What’s more fascinating in your opinion: how much has changed? or how much seems to have stayed largely the same?

(via Colossal)

  • Nate

    Not to be nit picky but it wouldn’t be color video it would be color film. Video refers specifically to using electronics to record and wasn’t invented until the 1950s.

  • hugh crawford

    “amazing color video footage shot all the way back in the 1920s”

    I’m pretty sure he was using film, seeing as how he more or less invented much of the technology of filmmaking then sent a letter to Edison about it.

    Not that there weren’t people working with television and even color television at the same time in Britain.

    John Logie Baird demonstrated the first color television system in 1928 and the first transatlantic television transmission that same year. In the 1940s he had developed 3D television and 1000 line high definition television,

    Interestingly enough Paul Nipkow patented the scanning disc video system in 1884 , before the first patents on cinema film in 1988.

  • DLCade

    Corrected :) Thank you for pointing that out!

  • Omar Salgado

    If we’re to compare, then focal lengths do not match.

    What I’m suspecting is that it could be interpreted as one being farther and the other being nearer in time, not just space. Also, perspective is changed. A tighter perspective could mean a tighter space in which we live in nowadays.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just stoned.

  • John Mason

    86 years later and they are still driving on the wrong side of the road :)

  • Prof. Carpenter

    No, I think you’re right. Some of the focal lengths definitely do not match. While the foregrounds seem to be good, the backgrounds in the present footage seem closer. I suspect the older camera had a wider angle lens?

  • lefties

    Its’ the natural side.

  • Marc Lawrence

    “What’s more fascinating in your opinion: how much has changed? or how much seems to have stayed largely the same?” The people.