By James DeRuvo
L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat” (The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station) was the first short film shown at a movie theater back in 1895. And it looked so realistic to its unsuspecting audience, that legend has it people fled the theater fearing they were about to get hit. Nowadays though, the low resolution black and white film looks comically tame on YouTube. Then someone decided to apply the neural networks of artificial intelligence to it, to see if they could recapture of of that realism in 4K. And the results are remarkable.
Filmmaker Denis Shiryaev teamed up with Topaz Labs to use AI to not only upscale the silent short film to 4k, but also to add frames in order to bring the film’s frame rate up to 60 frames per second, thereby eliminating the cartoonish jerky motion that early short films are known for.
While they were at it, they modernized the film by using the same technique to colorize it. Here’s the original film for comparison:
As you can see, the colorizing isn’t great, but it is an improvement over the early attempt to colorize black and white films from the 80s and 90s. And the image, while not strictly as sharp as ultra high definition, is more than made up for by the smoother frame rate.
I also think we can conclude that whole using AI to improve older films is still in its infancy, it’ll only get better, and will be yet another great film preservation tool to save these old films for future generations to enjoy.
Hat Tip – FStoppers