Cinema Artificial Intelligence I

by Sherif Awad

Cinema Artificial Intelligence

A YouTuber has used AI to revamp the world’s oldest-known surviving pieces of film footage.

The original film, referred to as the Roundhay Garden Scene, was shot by French inventor Louis Le Prince on October 14, 1888. It shows a gaggle of 4 people – including Joseph and Sarah Whitley, (Le Prince’s parents-in-law), his son Adolphe, and Harriet Hartley (sometimes called Annie Hartley) – walking during a small revolve around the Whitley’s garden near British city of Leeds. Le Prince is widely credited because the person to record motion images on film, although he remains unknown nowadays perhaps thanks to his bizarre disappearance in 1890 (a bit more thereon later). 

Running at just a few of seconds long and shot at 12 frames per second, the black-and-white clip marks a fantastic breakthrough within the development of technology. Just think: In 1888, van Gogh was painting his masterpieces, Jack the Ripper was stalking the streets of East London, and therefore the Eiffel Tower was still within the middle of construction. Although the film wouldn’t be winning any Oscars nowadays, 1888 was a really different world. 

To revamp the legendary video, YouTuber Denis Shiryaev colorized and upscaled the frames of the first video using an ensemble of neural networks. As explained within the video, he started by obtaining the stills from the video on the museum UK website collection. The individual frames were then centered using algorithms and their brightness levels were made more consistent. After adding a touch of color to the frames, neural networks were wont to effectively “fill within the gaps” of the missing frames, giving the film a more realistic flow. From just 20 original frames, the work ended up with around 250 frames. Finally, ambient background sounds were added to offer the film that tiny little bit of extra depth. 

Sarah Whitley, the older woman within the film, died 10 days after the scene was filmed. To further increase the spooky Vibes, Le Prince mysteriously disappeared in 1890 while on a train journey towards the French region of Dijon. His body and luggage were never found.

The YouTube channel features a bunch of equally impressive unscaled videos from the past 130 years, from the streets of Moscow in 1896 to Tokyo in 1913, so make certain to see it out.

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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