Incredible restored video of Tokyo from 1913-1915

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/08/incredible-restored-video-of-t.html

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In B4 complaints about colorizing B&W footage.

ETA: I found it interesting how the algorithm had some trouble with the bouncing ball at 3:30. When it slows down you can see it’s opaque, but when moving quickly it looks like a translucent specter.

Cued:

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Oh, that guy carrying his whole stall on his back, magnificent.

The thought that none of these people are likely still alive, nor ever considered that I’d be watching them more than 100 years later from my living room on the opposite side of the Earth as entertainment on a tiny handheld device…its so, I don’t have the words for it.

Beautiful, and wonderful. I really like things like this. A wonderful thing indeed

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Very nice. I wonder about the sound. This is 1915, 13 years before the Jazz Singer. I’m guessing it was recorded separately, probably on a tape or wire recorder (look that one up!) since it didn’t need lip sync. Or else someone just generated it later.

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It seems that most of these restored and modernized films are adding foley sound. Horse hooves, carriage wheels, vague human murmurs.

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That was my first thought as well. Even the smallest babies are now no longer with us. Imagine a hundred years into our future when they look back at our primitive culture and technology. It’s like a quick trip on a time machine to an alien world. Very cool!

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I’m not sure if this is evidence against or evidence for us being in a simulation.

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It was cool how the store signs and art angled toward the people on the street, rather than being designed for some distant car driver. We should see more of this in modern pedestrian friendly developments.

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Only spotted one time traveler at 1:13

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Fascinating. Thanks!

The architecture at 1:20 was unexpected.
The density of ‘signage’ at 1:58 was too - one can see how we got to the same situation in modern Shinjuku!

Yes, there’s a credit for ‘ambience sound’, which I interpret as being created afresh. I did think some of the crowd noise sounds like it’s indoors, rather than open air street noise.

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It does some weird things with faces, too, when they’re out of focus, or motion-blurred, or in the distance. Either that or haunted expressionless porcelain masks were in fashion at the time…

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As the notes said, the colorization was not historically accurate. My impression was that there should have been a lot of very bright red in the signage at least.

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My guess is that the restoration process detected faces, picked the closest higher-resolution face in its database, and then replaced it … so the faces seem to have the emotion of the mugshots in the database. (The process could be different; just guessing)

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“Western” architecture was fashionable in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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My mind wants to view these images as representative of life before Covid-19. Look how closely packed everyone is!

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Yeah, I was wondering what long-lost Japanese magic that was. :wink:

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The straw boater hat is due for a comeback.

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I noticed that too. It also can be seen from 4:14 on people dangling from ropes. I believe it may be due to parts of the video reconstructed using other parts shifted in time for added resolution, however with fast moving objects, like the ball for example, they could be in different places and appear as such at the same time.

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I thought the crowd noise was off, too. “Crowd babble” varies greatly depending on situation and culture (Japanese crowds at sporting events being particularly different than other countries), and in this case sounded more like kids playing at a swimming pool to me.

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it may seem odd… but the entire thing sounded to me like it was recorded in a side-room of a crowded cafeteria… with a lot of children in mostly adult-filled scenes.