Incredible colourised footage from 1911 shows what life was like in vintage New York

Louis Staples
Saturday 29 February 2020 13:00

Ever wondered what photographs and films from more than 100 years ago would look like in glorious colour?

Well now you don’t have to, because old footage has been brought to life by a YouTuber using artificial intelligence.

In 1911, a Swedish production companyvisited the United States and took black and white footage of the streets of New York City. YouTuber Guy Jones then posted it online for us all to enjoy. Then another YouTuber, Denis Shiryaev, restored and colourised the footage.

IFL Science’s James Felton reports that the colour was restored using using DeOldify, an open-source AI tool available on GitHub for retouching pictures and videos using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN).

Lots of iconic older films have been colourised recently, including The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (1896) and Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I have a Dream” speech.

There’s some more niche examples floating around online too, like old episodes of Doctor Who and old political footage.

H/T: IFL Science