OT: "A trip down memory lane"

FilmingPhotoGuy wrote on 8/11/2013, 11:41 AM
This is a trip down memory lane.

Air - La Femme D'Argent

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of April 18th 1906 and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing, but true!

No wonder there had to be laws created to regulate driving habits. This is insane. Good thing they couldn't go very fast.

This is a fascinating movie. A camera on the front of a street car 107 years ago. I watched it a couple of times. Look at the hats the ladies were wearing and the long dresses. Some of the cars had the steering wheels on the right side, I wonder when they standardized on the left? Sure was still a lot of horse drawn vehicles in use. Mass transit looked like the way to get around.. Looks like everybody had the right of way.

Perhaps the oldest "home movie" that you will ever see!

120,000 cars were on the road in 1906.


johnmeyer wrote on 8/11/2013, 12:23 PM
This film got a lot of play a few years ago when the restored version was first shown. "60 Minutes" even did a piece on it:

San Francisco on Film: Days Before the 1906 Quake

The film has been put in the public domain, and you can get a high quality (better than the YouTube version) which you can play with yourself, at this site:

Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire, A (DV25 version) (1906/04/15)

P.S. If you want to see something similar from only twenty-five years later, here is a home movie from 1930 that I transferred for a client and uploaded, with her permission, to my YouTube channel. The middle portion of the film (which you see in the YouTube thumbnail below) shows the end of Market Street, where the 1906 film ends, but looking up the street in the other direction:

I did extensive restoration on this clip: I motion stabilized it to remove camera shake; digitally removed dirt (although some scratches remain); got rid of the sepia tint; removed flicker; and I changed it from 16 fps to 30 fps using motion estimation software (similar to Twixtor). This final step got rid of all the judder on the rather abrupt amateur camera pans.

FilmingPhotoGuy wrote on 8/11/2013, 1:53 PM
Beautifully edited and I like your choice of music for the home movie. Those will be special fond memories for her, ah the nostalgia.

Life seemed so peaceful back then and no one got upset when someone cut in the traffic. Just when you thought you were motoring down the road and some lunatic overtakes you with a bicycle, LOL
B.Verlik wrote on 8/11/2013, 3:02 PM
Great work, John!!
johnmeyer wrote on 8/11/2013, 5:11 PM
Thanks for the compliments.

Today I'm doing a dozen reels of Polavision film. This was Polaroid's instant film from the late 1970s & early 1980s. It is absolutely wretched stuff and is full of chemical pollution caused by the film sitting in the cassette in which it was instantly developed after you finished shooting the roll.

That nice old 1930s 16mm B&W film I linked to above was easy-peasy to restore by comparison.

I keep learning the craft a little more every day. I am in awe of what I see with all the totally restored film that has been appearing on TV and DVDs in the last few years. The "WWII in Color" is my touchstone for what I attempt to achieve, although I obviously cannot colorize, since that requires a large number of people, and a sense of artistry that I do not possess.

farss wrote on 8/11/2013, 6:32 PM
@johnmeyer and others.


The same system also handles the optical sound track by imaging the full width of the film strip.

johnmeyer wrote on 8/11/2013, 8:06 PM
http://kinograph.cc/What an interesting system. I've seen several home-brew capture systems, including the one developed by "VideoFred" who shares his restoration secrets over at doom9.org.

This particular process is interesting since it appears to use a flash rather than a shutter to synchronize when the picture is taken, and then does further alignment using the sprocket holes.

The most unusual aspect is the attempt to digitize the optical sound track using software. I say "attempt" because the actual results I heard on the site were not good at all. This somewhat reminds me of the various attempts at playing LP vinyl records using a laser bean instead of a stylus: both are very intriguing at first, and hold out a promise of better quality, but the actual implementation turns out to be full of unexpected problems.

For my money, it is tough to beat the various transfer systems using modified projectors that Roger Evans sells from his Moviestuff company. He has become the worldwide leader in the field of inexpensive (under $10,000) transfer equipment.

Dan Sherman wrote on 8/11/2013, 9:16 PM
The New York footage is amazing.
A window on an authentic street scene all those many years ago.
Spellbinding for this viewer.
johnmeyer wrote on 8/12/2013, 9:31 AM
The New York footage is amazing. A window on an authentic street scene all those many years ago.Ah, you must be referring to the 1930s New York 16mm amateur film on my site. It was taken by a Jewish person who was in the process of getting his family out of Nazi Germany. He owned a movie camera factory in a major German city and took all sorts of movies of Nazi rallies prior to his departure. I have not posted any of these because of their controversial nature. The man, and then his son, stayed in the movie camera business in this country and left behind a legacy of movies that spans many decades. I spent several months transferring the entire collection.

Here is the New York footage. It includes a low-altitude fly over by the Hindenburg. Quite a strange sight to see that ship, with the German emblem of that era on its tail, flying over the city. If you play the video on the YouTube site, you will find that I have provided clickable links, in my description, which will take you to specific points in the video.