The Lumière Brothers—Auguste and Louis Lumière—may not be the two most famous filmmakers that you've ever heard of. In fact, you may not have heard of them at all.
But without these two late 19th century icons, we might not have movies at all.
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps. But these two Frenchmen are the ones who brought movies from the science lab out to the public. In the 1890s, their invention—the Cinématographe Lumière—was the greatest moving picture projection device in the world. And their public screenings in late 1895 and 1896 are seen as the birth of cinema.
From Paris to London, New York to Montreal, Mumbai to Buenos Aires, they brought their projector and dazzled audiences with their minute-long movies. At the time, these were incredible achievements that were like nothing ever seen before. Here is an example of an 1895 film of theirs called L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat (or The Train Arrives at Ciotat Station).
Updating the past
Okay, so Avengers: Endgame is it not. But let's be fair to the past.
For one, movies with sound had not been invented yet (one monumental breakthrough at a time, folks!). And the Lumières weren't Steven Spielberg—they weren't storytellers who were working with actors. They were essentially scientists working to improve technology and show what was possible. And certainly when L'Arrivée d'un train... was first shown in 1896, it was as earth shattering then as any big screen epic today. Probably even more so!
But still. Wouldn't it be cool if their 125-year-old film was a little more up to date? That's what Denis Shiryaev thought.
He's a professional video upscaler. This means he takes old or damaged films and digitally enchances them to have a higher picture quality. Here's what he did with L'Arrivée d'un train...
Incredible, right? Though it is ultimately just an estimation of what the scene looked like on that day in 1895 (the AI programs can only guess at what the missing visual information is), it's wild to see something that old be that crisp and alive. Let's take that train ride one more time!
I heard that when people first saw it, they ducked because they thought the train would run them over.
That’s so cool!!
Cool! I heard that too, in a book somewhere maybe. ❗ ❗ ❗