At the very end of the 19th century, a French filmmaker called Louis Lumière shot a 45 second clip of a train pulling into a station.
It was groundbreaking for its time and Lumière, along with his brother, went on to become pioneers in the field of motion pictures and filmmaking in general.
Urban legend holds that when the film – called L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat – was shown to audiences they fled to the back of the room out of fear the train was going to come steaming through the screen.
But now, 124 years later, technology has moved on and the grainy, black-and-white footage clearly shows its age. However, a YouTuber called Denis Shiryaev got hold of the film and ran it through an AI system in order to ‘upscale’ it.
The results speak for themselves.
Shiryaev used a neural network algorithm to remove the grainy look, smooth out and increase the frame rate and convert it to a much denser, 4K resolution. The software calls on a database of imagery to build out the image with extra pixels to give it much more detail.
Here’s the original video:
And here’s the 2020 4K version:
As you can see, the upscaled version looks like it could have been shot on a smartphone or GoPro with actors dressed in period costume.
Thankfully, we doubt anyone will be running away from the screen no matter how realistic filmmaking gets in the 21st century.