The year is 1896 and a huge crowd is gathered inside the back room of a Parisian café, where the famous Lumière brothers promised a spectacle of moving images. In effect, this was the world’s first movie theater, dazzling an audience that was still coming to grips with the idea of photography.
One of the earliest movies ever shot and screened by the Lumière brothers is the iconic The Arrival of the Train (L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat). According to some accounts, the audience was so overwhelmed by the moving image of a life-sized train coming directly at them that some people screamed and ran to the back of the room. However, this seems to be more of a myth than an actual account of what happened. Nevertheless, the film must have astonished many people unaccustomed to the illusion created by moving images.
The 1895 short black-and-white silent flick only lasts 45 seconds and features a train’s arrival in the station of the French town of La Ciotat. Though it might not look like much today, bear in mind that this was one of the first films ever produced, shot in a cinematic style pioneered by the two brothers known as Actualités, or ‘actualities’ — brief bites of film.
The short film was shot with a cinématographe created by the Lumière brothers, which was an all-in-one combination of a motion picture camera, printer, and projector.
Since then, camera gear technology has evolved tremendously. Novel AIs allow us to see what the film would have looked like if the French brothers had used modern filming equipment. Using several neural networks, Denis Shiryaev upscaled the iconic black-and-white film to 4K quality at 60 frames per second, and you can see the breathtaking results for yourself.
And here’s the 1895 original for a side-by-side comparison.
That’s not all. On top of all of this, the YouTuber used the DeOldify Neural Network to colorize the film, which you can see below.