Colorizing Historic Photographs And Films On The Philippines

I have always been fascinated with old photographs and black-and-white films in the Philippines because, unlike other countries like the United States and Europe, we never had that much historical media of our past. When we talk about any visible reminders of what our past looked like, most of the really old photos and films were taken by the first half of the century, especially during the latter half of the prewar period and the Second World War.

There is even a purported historical film entitled "Luzon Lingerie," which was described as the oldest film in the Philippines. It's apparently a mashup of old films by Burton Holmes taken by the 1920s. Whatever old films, including newsreels about the Philippines, I'm trying to get these black and white classics colorized to bring out the life of it. Moreover, it also enhances certain elements that you see.

When colorizing old films, you have to color every single frame. As much as I want to, the resolution is not that good since most were posted on YouTube a few years ago. Some from historical archives and official government channels are of better quality though. There is a process of upscaling low-res videos into 4K however, it will take a lot of time and resources to finish one film so I decided to just colorize with AI machine learning. This will automate the coloring process but it won't be historically accurate. You can only do that manually. (EDIT: unfortunately, YouTube doesn't allow the repost of old historical films due to copyright concerns)

On the other hand, colorizing old photographs is straightforward. You can manually color it and even fix certain issues like scratches and torn parts through Adobe Photoshop and even artificial intelligence. With colorized photos, you can see historical figures and unnamed personalities come to life as if the photographs were taken today. Animating a static image by adding a dynamic background with ambient sounds is bringing it to the next level.

Check out my Facebook page for new colorized photographs and films about the Philippines. Don't forget to see some of the colorized historical films and newsreels on YouTube as well!

This article is a reprint of my article in my Cebu history blog Istoryadista.

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