Colorized Footage Reveals What Downtown L.A. Looked Like in the 1930s

Video restoration expert NASS colored and enhanced footage nearly a century old to create this video of 7 minutes that shows what downtown Los Angeles looked in the 1930s.

A Colorized View of Downtown Los Angeles in 1930s

NASS, a France-based video restoration company, has over 200,000 YouTube subscribers. They restore old footage with neural networks and state of the-art software.

A colorized still frame of downtown Los Angeles in the 1930s
Street cars, vintage automobiles, and pedestrians on a busy road in downtown Los Angeles in the 1930s. Colorized still frame by NASS.
A main road from a high vantage point in downtown Los Angeles in the 1930s. Colorized still frame by NASS.
A colorized still frame of downtown Los Angeles in the 1930s
A downtown Los Angeles intersection in the 1930s. Colorized still frame by NASS.

Boing describes NASS’s colorized footage as “The familiarity and overall architecture are striking even though the people and vehicles seem like something from a… Hollywood film set.”

How Colorized Footage from Downtown L.A. 1930s was Created

Los Angeles’ original footage was a 10-minute black and white video hosted by Internet Archive.

NASS increased the frame rate to 60 frames per seconds, upscaled image resolution to high definition and colorized the footage. It also did some restoration work (e.g. Stabilization, cleaning, deblurring, and denoising.

“Fantastic shots from 1930s Los Angeles,” NASS wrote. “We can clearly see the events in broad daylight.”

The restoration artist did note that the goal was aesthetic, not accuracy. As always, many of the original colors have been lost to history.

NASS states that “colorization colors are fake and not real.” “The colorization was created for the ambiance only and does not reflect historical data.”

Colorizing photos and videos has never been easier thanks to modern software. Adobe Photoshop’s October 2020 major update brought a new Colorize neural filters that allows you to magically transform any black-and white photo into a colour image using artificial intelligence. The results are amazing.

You can see more of NASS’s work on YouTube and follow the action over there.

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