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Colorized video clips reveal what California looked like almost a century ago

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A YouTube creator who goes by NASS revived video footage obtained from the Internet Archive, and colorized it with added sound, to reveal what California looked like almost a century ago. In the 2 clips, taken in the 1940s (above) and 1930s, respectively, viewers are taken on a tour of bustling areas including downtown Hollywood and Orange County’s Balboa Peninsula. The original clips are black and white with no sound.

A scene from downtown LA has been colorized. While not accurate, it was added in for ambience.

Software platforms such as Adobe have made colorizing black and white photos and video with PremierePro and Photoshop possible. NASS increased the frame rate to 60p, boosted the image resolution up to HD (high definition), enhanced the sharpness plus brightness, and colorized the footage, with added sound, for the sake of ambience. NASS acknowledges that the footage is not historically accurate, nor is it intended to be. Footage is also stabilized, de-noised, de-blurred, and cleaned up considerably.

NASS’ body of work can be found on YouTube and the channel currently boasts over 210,000 subscribers. Other colorized video clips include scenes from Detroit, Michigan, Newark, New Jersey, and New York in the 1940s. Other California scenes from the 1950s can be found there as well.

All 35mm video clips that were restored became available under Creative Commons Fair Use through the Internet Archive. NASS asks anyone harboring a copyright issue to reach out to him directly, first, via the email provided under every video description.


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