It’s quite surreal to see footage of the olden days—specifically, the days from a hundred years ago. Cameras were nowhere near as good as they are today, but even if the video is all garbled and distorted, it’s amazing to see what life used to be like a century ago.

Well, it’s only garbled and distorted until the moment it goes through some neural networking goodness and is upscaled and updated for modern eyes and audiences.

It’s amazing to think how much a neural network AI can do in upscaling a 100-year-old video

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

Denis Shiryaev is back with yet another video that he has put through the magic of modern tech. Previously, Bored Panda has covered two of his other upscalings, namely the 1895 short film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat by the Lumière Brothers and footage of New York City in 1911, originally shot by Swedish film production company Svenska Biografteatern.

This time, it’s historical footage from 1910s Japan. Specifically, it’s various footage of people’s lives in Tokyo, Japan in 1913 and 1915. It includes shots of people in marketplaces, swarms of children, beautiful Japanese urban scenery, various artwork, and many other bits and pieces of video from over a hundred years ago.

Denis Shiryaev released a new video of 1910s Japan in all of its 4k color 60fps glory

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

Some of the scenes are taken from the short documentary Japan of Today, which was produced by Post Pictures in the United States in 1915. It is currently hosted on YouTube by the Eye Film Museum for you to check out.

Denis sourced the video for his recreation from Guy Jones, who uploaded the footage set to a natural speed (as old videos were often played back faster due to playback errors or for aesthetic reasons) and sound was added for ambiance.

The upscaling AI makes use of Depth-Aware Video Frame Interpolation and Gigapixel AI, among many other tech

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

The video underwent several enhancements, including frame per second boosting to 60 frames, further playback speed issue fixes, image resolution upscaling to 4k, footage noise reduction and damage removal, and, of course, colorization.

Note that Denis’ footage is not meant to be an accurate reproduction as the colorization is done with approximation. The true colors might be lost to time at this point, unless clothing, architectural, and other experts take a look into it.

Unlike with previous videos, the AI algorithm now also uses a facial enhancement neural network

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

All of this was done using AI and neural networking. Denis has effectively glued together an algorithm that makes use of tech such as DAIN Depth-Aware Video Frame Interpolation, commercial image-editing software called Gigapixel AI by Topaz Labs, and a number of other technologies.

One new innovation that Denis started using since boosting Arrival of a Train is facial recognition and enhancement. In the video description, it says that a neural network specifically designed for facial restorations was added to the algorithm, making the faces more crisp and detailed.

The footage is from 1913–1915’s Tokyo, Japan and gives a glimpse into the daily life of its people

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

And this honestly does a very good job at making it feel like it was filmed closer to our days than in the early 1910s. Sure, it’s not perfect as the footage is still relatively blurry and some of the visual noise is still there, but given that this was filmed over a hundred years ago, it’s amazing to see how much tech has truly advanced if it managed to upscale and enhance as much as it did.

Here is the original video Denis used for upscaling

Image credits: EYE Filmmuseum

And here is the end result with 4k resolution, color, and other enhancements playing in 60fps

Image credits: Denis Shiryaev

You can check out this and much more on Denis Shiryaev’s YouTube channel, where he has upscaled many historical videos already. But before you go, let us know what you thought about this in the comments section below!

Here are some other of Shiryaev’s boosted and upscaled videos