An AI Sharpened Up These Videos Of 1930s and 1940s London

By M@
An AI Sharpened Up These Videos Of 1930s and 1940s London

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A crowd of people in the 1930s in the street

Cine footage of 20th century London is endlessly fascinating. We catch glimpses of a city so familiar, and yet so different in its detail. YouTube channel Living History AI Enhanced has given a new lease of life to this old footage, by using machine learning and artificial intelligence to sharpen lower-spec film.

The results can be eye-popping. This 1931 footage from Tower Bridge Road looks like it was filmed half a century later (save for the period dress and horse-drawn traffic).

Wartime London springs to life in this short film from 1940. We're used to seeing gung-ho newsreel footage from the period, but this video captures everyday family life and general street scenes. Children play on swings, soldiers march past landmarks and great barges of sandbags are hauled along the Thames.

Finally, a super-crisp black and white short from 1930 shows street scenes from Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Squre. It was a time when everybody dressed immaculately, but crossing the road was a life-or-death affair.

The channel is reasonably new and currently contains only a handful of videos, but it'll be an interesting one to keep an eye on.

Last Updated 17 October 2023

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