Take a Trip Back in Time Via Colorized Footage From a Day in 1920s Paris

Travel back in time to Paris during the roaring ’20s featuring flappers, bobbed hair, and cloche hats in this short 2-minute archival video colorized by Glamourdaze. The video was created using artificial intelligence to restore the footage and add color.

This short clip is an edit from a series of travelogues by early filmmaker Burton Holmes, who himself coined the term “travelogue.” According to Glamourdaze, Holmes gave lectures and included slides and motion pictures of his trips, with this being one such example. The original footage can be viewed in its original state below.

To make a direct comparison between the finished, colorized, 4K footage uploaded by Glamourdaze and the original source material, the footage starting at 0:28 of Glamourdaze’s video can be found at 12:12 of the original archival footage.

To create this particular video, Glamourdaze writes that first DeNoise was applied and artifacts removed, followed by an increase in motion interpolation to 60 fps using a deep learning open source program Dainapp. Next, the footage was upscaled using AI to 4K, and finally, color was added using Deoldify.

This finished footage is much smoother than the original thanks to the 60 frames-per-second interpolation. While less “cinematic” than the original, the result is slightly more lifelike motion. The original footage has significant artifacting and low resolution which has been fixed, but it is imperfect. Many of the individual frames look “mushy” or “hazy.” Coloration also can be inconsistent when looked viewed on a frame-by-frame basis, but the finished product is still pretty good considering the quality of the source material.

These issues are part of the reason some historians are asking people like Glamourdaze to stop upscaling and colorizing historical footage.

“It is a nonsense,” Luke McKernan, the lead curator of news and moving images at the British Library, told Wired last year. “Colourisation does not bring us closer to the past; it increases the gap between now and then. It does not enable immediacy; it creates difference.”

“The problem with colourisation is it leads people to just think about photographs as a kind of uncomplicated window onto the past, and that’s not what photographs are,” another historian argued.

Still, the outcries of a few historians have not slowed the interest in colorized footage. This particular short video from Glamourdaze has already amassed more than a million views on YouTube since it was uploaded at the end of January, and many of the other videos on the channel have millions more.

If you would like to see more peeks into a colorized past, you can subscribe to Glamourdaze’s YouTube Channel.

(via Laughing Squid)