When was the last time you were in a snowball fight? Sure, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hit in the ear with an icy one, but, face it, there is something exciting about snowball fights that draws kids and adults alike.

And though it’s not winter yet and we can’t partake in this fun activity, we can at least take a look at how this tradition has never really changed for over 100 years in this old-school film by Louis Lumière from 1896 that has been recently restored (deoldified) with better color, frames, resolution, and whatnot.

A Twitter user recently posted a video he colorized of a very cheerful 19th century snowball fight

Image credits: JoaquimCampa

So, recently, Joaquim Campa, an HR director of a mobile gaming company in Barcelona, Spain, and history/tech hobbyist, with whom Bored Panda got in touch, shared the 1896 film on his Twitter. However, it wasn’t the original footage—no, it was the colorized and upscaled video that he has put through DeOldify.

For those who are unaware, DeOldify is an open-source AI tool for retouching pictures and videos created by Jason Antic. More technically speaking, it’s a self-attention GAN-based machine learning tool that colors and restores old images and videos.

This good old fashioned snow fight is a 1896 film by Louis Lumière appropriately titled Snowball Fight

Image credits: JoaquimCampa

Snowball Fight, alternatively called Snowballing (Fr. Bataille de boules de neige) is an 1896 black and white silent short film (a couple of seconds shy of a full minute) directed and produced by the legendary Louis Lumière of the Lumière Brothers. It was shot in one of the streets of Lyons, France.

The plot is simple: a bunch of adults are having a jolly old snow fight in the streets. Midway through the film, a cyclist appears and attempts to pass by the chaos that is the snow fight, but gets knocked down by a barrage of snowballs. While everyone’s still fighting, the cyclist picks up his bicycle and retreats.

The 1-minute short film is just that—a snow fight, with a hilariously fierce snowballing of a cyclist in the middle

Image credits: JoaquimCampa

Now, Campa is fascinated by history and tech, so it was only natural for him to attempt to colorize the video: I usually colorize photos of my beloved city, Barcelona, only, but from time to time, I also do photos and videos of other places around the world.”

He continued: “I work a lot in my actual job, so when my wife and kids are sleeping, I do research and colorization. When the lockdown started, I started spending more time on colorization and I posted on Twitter more regularly. I started with just 1,000 followers and, after 6 months, it now is around 30,000.”

The video was colorized and restored using AI-based software called DeOldify that has done a pretty good job

Image credits: JoaquimCampa

The resulting video you see in this article is just the work of DeOldify, as Campa explained: “I simply colorized the video using DeOldify. But now, I’m learning to use frame interpolation with DAIN. I’m not an artist, I’m not a developer either. Jason Antic is the creator of DeOldify, so he deserves all the credit here—I’m just resourceful in doing my research.”

Bored Panda has already covered two other video upscaling projects, particularly by Denis Shiryaev. One is another one of Lumière’s films called Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (Fr. L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat) from 1895 and the other is footage of life in Tokyo, Japan from the 1910s. The details on how this AI tech works is provided there.

The video tweet went viral immediately, garnering over 7.2M views with over 66,000 likes

Image credits: JoaquimCampa

Now, the Lumière brothers have a slew of old classic short films, including The Gardener, Horse Trick Riders, and Jumping Onto the Blanket, among many others. We asked Campa why he chose Snowball Fight in particular and he said this: “I know people love the regular everyday things from the past century.” And you know what, there is something oddly satisfying about seeing a bunch of fancy-coated gentlemen having a blast with the other locals.

Once his deoldified video hit Twitter, it went massively viral. As of this moment, the video has over 7.3 million views with nearly 18,000 retweets and over 66,000 likes.

Check out the modernized as well as the original black and white videos below

Image credits: Louis Lumière

Campa also let us in on a little-known fact about old-school movies that apparently there’s a bit of a disagreement when it comes to colorizing old films: “Some people hate colorization, others love it. There is a faint consensus between these two groups that if the footage or photo is not for artistic purposes, you can do it. But there are haters of it too.” Turns out, Campa was confronted about it in a DM he got on Twitter, warning him not to do anything with Charles Chaplin or Buster Keaton.

What are your thoughts on this? What movies would you want to see revitalized in this manner? Let us know in the comment section below!

Here’s how people reacted to the joyful snowball fight