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Meet The Edwardians
April 18, 2013 11:39 AM   Subscribe

"This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames." Watch corrected and cleaned footage of circa 1900s London and Cork (5 min 35 sec). (via)
posted by The Whelk (112 comments total) 84 users marked this as a favorite

 
What ho!
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I kept expecting them to break into song.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2013


This needs a soundtrack stat. I volunteer to play the guy clearing the kids out of the way and smoothing his mustache.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:44 AM on April 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


I was disappointed there was no baby in any of the shots so I couldn't make an amazing Bioshock Infant joke (patent pending) #BioshockInfant™
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:46 AM on April 18, 2013


I loved that mustache guy.

This is amazing. I just finished rereading my favorite novel, A Month in the Country, set just after WWI, and in it the narrator comments about how no one could forsee at that time that horses were about to be gone as a ubiquitous animal. They had been constant companions and parts of life, and they were suddenly (for such a large change), replaced by the internal combustion engine.
posted by OmieWise at 11:49 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stop showing people on boats. We dont want to see the boats. We're not impressed. Show us more randoms on the street please. Ugh. I hope this show gets cancelled.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:49 AM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are you liveblogging?
posted by OmieWise at 11:50 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is spellbinding, and underscores the need for me to learn the art of tailoring. Also: Emily Howard and Florence Rose at about 4:40.
posted by usonian at 11:50 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The guy carrying the rucksack at 2'37" looks pretty suspicious. He's not even paying attention to the other Edwardians passing by on their velocipedes.

Too soon?
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:54 AM on April 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bioshock Infant joke

I'm just going to go ahead and kill this joke before it starts.
posted by The Whelk at 11:54 AM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Slightly disorientating when the smoothness of the stabilization and interpolation come into play, but very cool stuff.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:55 AM on April 18, 2013


Wow! The motherland, home of my great grandfather and the long lost main branch of the Street family tree. Wellspring of story and myth...

That was amazing. It's always so cool to see these old videos and realize once again that the past isn't another country or a fictional creation, it's just the same world we live in now, but with less mileage on it.

Oh, and one observation: everyone was so thin back then! There was one chubby guy getting off a boat, but he seemed to be very much an exception to the norm.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:56 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. That was amazing, and unreal. Or hyper real. I haven't decided yet.
All the more amazing is that it wasn't, in the larger picture, that long ago. Heck, my grandmother was alive then (though in California, not there.)
posted by cccorlew at 11:58 AM on April 18, 2013


Otherwise known as Electric Edwardians.
posted by altersego at 12:00 PM on April 18, 2013


Back when the streets were so clogged with kids you needed to push them out of the way.

Too bad software interpolation was needed to upscale the resolution to HD. A rescan of the original print would make this film even more intimate.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 12:01 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


/Shutter whir noise
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We really need more posts that warrant the HATSEVERYWHERE tag. I know we don't do fedoras well, but what is MetaFilter's stance on bowlers?
posted by usonian at 12:11 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I imagine it must have been mind-boggling to witness all the truly fundamental advances of this era - like electric street lighting, the telephone, the transatlantic telegraph, recorded sound, moving pictures...and then afterwards, wireless communication and flight.

Next time I see someone shooting video in public, I'm going to stare directly into the camera and keep sidestepping to stay in frame.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:11 PM on April 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Damn. People dressed well back then. I wish more people of today still felt the urge to wear nice clothes when they went out in public.
posted by KHAAAN! at 12:12 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I love the part where the guy is putting has hand on top of women's heads so they don't knock their hats off when they get off the ship.
posted by interplanetjanet at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why don't they just play it back at 18fps, instead?
posted by Malor at 12:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish more people of today still felt the urge to wear nice clothes when they went out in public.

You ever smell someone dressed like that after a long day?
posted by griphus at 12:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm just going to go ahead and kill this joke before it starts.

They tried to abort #BioshockInfant but he engineered their specula into a wind-up spider toy and startled the doctors prodigiously upon its emergence.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2013


I loved that mustache guy.

Yes! Him and the umbrella twirler (4:32). And not staged, which is the best part.

There seems to be relaxed self confidence, almost a swagger in the walk that you don't get quite so clearly in the usual herky jerky film of the time. Or today. Or is that just me?

Only downside - the uncertainty whether it's England or Ireland.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:18 PM on April 18, 2013


The music is so sad. Why not something from Merrie England?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to be thankful that I didn't live back then every time I tried to put all my hair on top of my head. I would have been stuck inside all day!
posted by whatdidyouforgettoday at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2013


I wish this YouTube video identified the source, rather than all this "I have been told" stuff.

Someone actually researched this and did the work to make it this watchable. I've searched archive.org and it doesn't seem to be from there. But I wish people would use YouTube a little differently.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mustache guy at :40 is actually two children piggybacking in a trenchcoat. How else are
they going to sneak into the Nickelodeon?
posted by sourwookie at 12:22 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


You ever smell someone dressed like that after a long day?

As someone who has and still kinda does dress like this from time to time, let me just say you figure out the value of changing your clothes twice a day VERY QUICKLY.
posted by The Whelk at 12:23 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


We can't have nice hats, because we don't have the nice suits to match. We can't have the nice suits, because most of us live in hot places now, which gets to griphus' point.
posted by bendybendy at 12:30 PM on April 18, 2013


Thing that stood out most for me was the use of hats as overt and specific indicators of class.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:34 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it's not very scientific but as a(n expat) native of the city I can confirm that the first half at least looks and somehow feels very much like Cork, which has remained essentially unchanged. Also, I pretty much do still dress like this. I only wish it gave me license to brush aside urchins.
posted by steganographia at 12:35 PM on April 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


I wish more people of today still felt the urge to wear nice clothes when they went out in public.

I'm of two minds on the matter. On the one hand, I don't really want to see a return to those intricate levels of etiquette and tut-tutting. And all those layers in the summer do get uncomfortable quickly.

On the other hand, the older I get, yes: It would be nice if anyone dressed up for anything anymore (and did so without getting all pouty about it.) If I didn't telecommute most of the time, I would probably have gone full dandy by now.
posted by usonian at 12:36 PM on April 18, 2013


Thing that stood out most for me was the use of hats as overt and specific indicators of class.

From a previous Mad Men post, apparently hats were class status indicators right up until the end of the 60's. Our classless, hatless age is the strange time.
posted by GuyZero at 12:37 PM on April 18, 2013


You ever smell someone dressed like that after a long day?

The poor tended to smell bad, but, then the poor have never had access to the sorts of expensive hygienic improvements available to those with money, who changed clothes three times per day, and washed at the washstand every time, which meant they were probably cleaner than -- well, me, for one. The used alcohol-based eau de cologne as deodorant, and the alcohol killed bacteria -- they also reapplied this at every clothes change.

So the key to dressing up like that is to have several pairs of clothes to change into every day, and wash yourself at a basin between changings. I think we can all manage that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


That this was shown with the correct frame-rate is a great step forward. I wonder what it would look like if software interpolation could give us simulated 24fps of smooth movement. It might look something like a cartoon, I'd imagine.
posted by Therapeutic Amputations at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2013


Mustache Guy FTW.

There seems to be relaxed self confidence, almost a swagger in the walk

I was struck by the body language also. It's hard to say what it is, exactly, but it looks different enough from my experience of an urban crowd to be noticeable. Maybe it's an expansiveness, less of a concern for matters of personal space. The segment at the Cinematograph is my favorite; there's an eerie moment where the people looking (presumably) into the camera seem almost to be looking at me.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:47 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our classless, hatless age is the strange time.

Now everyone simply looks down rather than up. Shoes carry our class signals now, and jean pockets.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:48 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the body language of someone not worried about being killed by a car at any arbitrary moment.

Really. See how much we have given up.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:49 PM on April 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


Are those wheeled signboards passing at 1:10? The Edwardian version of steetcorner sign spinning? Or are they transporting signs?
posted by steef at 12:50 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was simply amazing. Thank you for posting it! I loved the scene of the smokestacks in the background-the air back then was TERRIBLE and everything was always covered with coal dust. I could have watched that all day. I wish they had more video of the woman, I love looking at their attire.

There's an amazing book called "Inside the Victorian Home:A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England" which deals with the social history of living in the time right before the Edwardian Era. It details how they kept clean, how they kept the house clean, the jobs around houses, how they went to the bathroom, how they washed clothes, made candles. Its amazing. I can't imagine its very different from this era.
posted by aacheson at 12:50 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank god we don't have smell-o-vision yet!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the body language of someone not worried about being killed by a car at any arbitrary moment.

Last week's 99 percent Invisible is about how much opposition there was to the car when it first started showing up and killing scores of pedestrians, especially young people.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:54 PM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


the air back then was TERRIBLE and everything was always covered with coal dust.

Yes, and some of those mills certainly do look dark, satanic.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:55 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unwashed masses in wool, coal smoke, smokers everywhere, and we haven't even gotten to the tons of horseshit or the fact that meat packers were just beginning to use refrigeration, yes, it must have been a horridly pungent time.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:02 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this.
posted by Chutzler at 1:05 PM on April 18, 2013


One shudders to think of how many of those happy youngsters didn't make through WWI.
posted by JHarris at 1:06 PM on April 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


George_Spiggott, I'm not sure where this film is from, but a likely source is the Mitchell and Kenyon collection (previously on Metafilter).

There's lots of material from their body of work on YouTube if anyone feels like going through to check sourcing.
posted by bubukaba at 1:07 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the body language of someone not worried about being killed by a car at any arbitrary moment.

I don't know, there were plenty of maimings by horsecart. Bad drivers were bad then too. Maybe they just had bigger sidewalks + no entertainment inside, so it's the street or nothing. Also 12 kids to a family.

The way everyone stares into the camera isn't surprising since they were so unusual and big, but it's a little unnerving. I was wondering about that shot of the street from above close to the beginning..was the camera on a crane, or maybe a moving omnibus/cart, I wonder?
posted by emjaybee at 1:07 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In industrialized cities and towns. everyone who could afford to do so got the fuck out of dodge in the summer because the environment would be unbearable. I was reading a book of essays by Robert Benchley from the 1920s, and there's an entire PIECE on the proper things a man should do when his wife and children are in Long Island for the summer getting away from Manhattan.

Also, a "sanitarium" (cf. "sanitorium") was a countryside resort you'd escape to from the city because breathing in coal, smoke and ass 24/7 was apparently bad for your health somehow.
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Misread the garage sign at 1:00. Thought it said "Rocket Car," and had a little chuckle.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did I use "cf." correctly?
posted by griphus at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We can't have the nice suits, because most of us live in hot places now

Sure we can. Heat be damned.

As to smell, well, NYC in warm months is still awash with the odor of the unwashed, with rotting garbage, with carbon monoxide, with Axe perfume, and with things I've never quite been able to identify. So- something of a wash, I suspect.

I was reading a book of essays by Robert Benchley from the 1920s....

NB that The Seven Year Itch was from 1955.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:14 PM on April 18, 2013


One shudders to think of how many of those happy youngsters didn't make through WWI.

Yes, quite. But chin up, Old Boy! King & Country, and all that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish this YouTube video identified the source, rather than all this "I have been told" stuff.

At least part of it was pulled from this video. Notice the guy adjusting his hat in the originally posted video at 2:24, compared with the video I link to at 1:23. It is Cork, Ireland, in the 1900s. RTE History is a show on Ireland's public broadcasting channel. If you look at the end of part 3 of 3, they give thanks and credit to the Irish Film Archive so perhaps the original film is kept there.
posted by Houstonian at 1:18 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the video must have been taken from Mitchell and Kenyon in Ireland. I don't think there are any London scenes in there, though I could be wrong.

apparently hats were class status indicators right up until the end of the 60's

C.H. Rolph, in his autobiography Further Particulars, says that men stopped wearing hats around the time of the Second World War:
Ask any man .. when it was that Englishmen stopped wearing hats. He won’t know .. From my babyhood in 1902 until 1938 a bareheaded man in a London street was an oddity. Such creatures were sometimes to be seen, and in my circles they were known as ‘the no ‘at brigade’. In any photograph of a mass meeting of men – a football crowd, even a horde of the poorest children – every male head was covered, usually with a flat cap. Straw boaters, which you could get for three shillings and sixpence, took over in the spring, and in October these were cleaned with ‘salts of lemon’, pushed into brown paper bags, and put away to hibernate. Then came the trilby, which started its career among the upper middle class and worked its way down .. And after the trilby, almost suddenly, nothing .. Before the end of the war, hardly anyone was wearing a hat.
Anyone who likes Edwardian street scenes (or hats) should take a trip in The Library Time Machine and look at Edward Linley Sambourne's photographs. I made a post about these a year ago, but more have been added since then, and the latest post on Kensington street style is perhaps the best yet.
posted by verstegan at 1:41 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think there are any London scenes in there, though I could be wrong.


There's a shot of a bridge which I swear is the O'Connell Bridge in Dublin cause I was literally just there like two months ago.
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on April 18, 2013


Before the end of the war, hardly anyone was wearing a hat.

Possibly a combination of clothes rationing and constantly wanting to look up to see where that buzz bomb is going to fall. Only sort of kidding with that latter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2013


I love this kinda stuff, so ...thanks for posting! It interested me that so many folks were smiling at the camera. i was under the impression that folks back then still tried to look serious while being photographed, but the new technology was evidently quite a hit.
Mustache guy was pretty tall too.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2013


And no wonder the textile mills covered the landscape and worked night and day. What a phenomenal amount of fabric everyone wore. Particularly the women, whose fashions seem to reflect the single aim of getting as much goddamn cloth onto a person as they can possibly carry.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of the women's outfits are relatively streamlined and practical for the period, the older women are a bit more swaddled, but we're a few years into "not wearing a bustle and chain is fashionable and freeing!" vs "Not wearing 200 yards of fabric around a huge cage-skirt because you're poor or have to work for a living."
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on April 18, 2013


But by 1900s you're a few decades into Dress Reform being a *thing* although it wasn't until the 70s-80s that it became really fashionable.
posted by The Whelk at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2013


One shudders to think of how many of those happy youngsters didn't make through WWI.

But I expect a not inconsiderable number of them lived long enough to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing on television -- imagine how that must have felt to them.

And thank you, griphus! Coal, Smoke & Ass is my new band name.
posted by newmoistness at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2013


The London Review of Books had an article about the end of hats entitled 'Everyone, then no one'.
posted by colie at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2013


Soooo.....

The Rational Dress Society was an organisation founded in 1881 in London. It described its purpose thus:

The Rational Dress Society protests against the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health. It protests against the wearing of tightly-fitting corsets; of high-heeled shoes; of heavily-weighted skirts, as rendering healthy exercise almost impossible; and of all tie down cloaks or other garments impeding on the movements of the arms. It protests against crinolines or crinolettes of any kind as ugly and deforming….[It] requires all to be dressed healthily, comfortably, and beautifully, to seek what conduces to birth, comfort and beauty in our dress as a duty to ourselves and each other.[7]

Woman cyclists, such as members of the Lady Cyclists' Association, were keen advocates of women's right to dress appropriately for the activity, as part of a belief that cycling offered women an opportunity to escape overly restrictive societal norms


There was a certain segment of society that looked upon Cycling as basically THE DEVIL'S OWN TWO WHEELER because it might lead women to RAMPANT PANTS-WEARING. There are some hilarious attempts to build "side-saddle" bikes from the period.
posted by The Whelk at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


The average body shape has changed remarkably since then (but then, I am comparing to crowds in the U.S.).
posted by Wordwoman at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2013


It interested me that so many folks were smiling at the camera. i was under the impression that folks back then still tried to look serious while being photographed, but the new technology was evidently quite a hit.

That is interesting; I know people didn't typically smile for posed still photographs at *least* into the 1920s, but apparently the context here is somehow different - maybe people forgot their composure because the big camera with the guy cranking it is such a curiosity, or just because the setting is informal. Now I have half a mind to post an AskMeFi question wondering when people started smiling in photos.
posted by usonian at 2:23 PM on April 18, 2013


(from 18 fps to 24 fps)
That would be speeding up. I assume they just got the numbers backwards.
posted by w0mbat at 2:24 PM on April 18, 2013


He's using an automatic image stabilization software that's broadly pretty effective, but it screws up badly when something moving fills the screen. See in particular the painted wagon that goes by at about 2:20; the image stabilization tries to keep it centered and follow it, which is quite the wrong thing to do. There's no chance whatsoever that the cameraman suddenly panned to follow it as it went by, this is pure automated postprocessing. It's less obvious what's happening at 1:05-1:10 but the source of the problem is the same, the software is trying to stabilize a moving image that actually should be allowed to move.

Software like this is a good tool but it's not a magic bullet. You still need to tune it scene by scene, when not frame by frame. This basically appears to have been done with a single set of settings and just run from beginning to end.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I notice a distinct lack of overweight people in Edwardian England. It's amazing that none of these individuals were afflicted with glandular problems, big bones, or "fat genes".
posted by foot at 2:36 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The boat scenes have a few overweight people, and the older men/women are quite plump.
posted by The Whelk at 2:37 PM on April 18, 2013


It might seem weird but I'd love to see a colourised version of this. I watched that WW2 documentary and it is astonishing how much colour video makes you realise the past was an actual place not a venue for black and white phantomry.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:38 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The years have surely gone,
Like the drays from old Cork station.
posted by jan murray at 2:38 PM on April 18, 2013


There was a certain segment of society that looked upon Cycling as basically THE DEVIL'S OWN TWO WHEELER because it might lead women to RAMPANT PANTS-WEARING.

You see me rolling up pops you step aside.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:46 PM on April 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sebmojo, it's decades later, but if you can manage to catch The Thirties In Colour the next time it turns up it's very worthwhile. Color film was still far too expensive for mundane uses so this represents a pretty rare archive.

Also The Lost World of Friese Greene, a bit earlier in the Twenties, is about a film called The Open Road, which was a deliberate effort to document life in Britain as it was lived at the time, which used a peculiar experimental quasi-color process that worked surprisingly decently.

Personally I wouldn't want to see any of this colorized after the fact. They never get the tones right and their guesses are probably no better than mine. My mind fills that shit in just fine.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:49 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ireland then? Oh well, not the motherland. But still the land next door.

On hats: when my Dad passed I had to go through his things, and I discovered at least a dozen beautiful fedoras, all shiny and new looking because he hadn't worn any of them since the 60s, or even earlier. Before then you had to wear fedoras because that was what people did, but as soon as they invented the trucker cap he took to it like a duck to water. A lot of the people back then would have probably worn a wider variety of hats if they could, but they were limited to what was available and affordable.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:49 PM on April 18, 2013


It's amazing that none of these individuals were afflicted with glandular problems, big bones, or "fat genes".

It's even more amazing the sort of things you can surmise from five and a half minutes of film footage.
posted by griphus at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I must be a morbid person, because whenever I see old photos like this, the first think I think about is how every one of those people is now dead. Even a newborn baby, then, would be very unlikely to be alive now.
posted by zardoz at 2:53 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's funny, because when I watch Star Trek I can't stop thinking about the fact that in it, I am long dead.

Actually I just made that up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is Mitchell and Kenyon, or at least some of it is. If you look here and there you can see poor women with headscarves which must have made England on a cold or rainy day seem awfully different. We associate headscarves with certain things nowadays, but back then England could look like this or this or this.
I was wondering about that shot of the street from above close to the beginning..was the camera on a crane, or maybe a moving omnibus/cart, I wonder?
It is likely mounted on the front of a tram. I recall that there was a video linked on Metafilter a while back showing Barcelona from a tram.
posted by Jehan at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2013


Daft Punk's Around the World just came on the radio. I'd say that makes for a better soundtrack than the one provided.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"There seems to be relaxed self confidence, almost a swagger in the walk that you don't get quite so clearly in the usual herky jerky film of the time. Or today.

Technology has changed so much. Imagine a world where there was almost no recorded music or movies, and no television or radio at all. Most people could read, but they only owned a half-dozen books. For entertainment they'd get dressed and go out for a walk. Meeting the neighbours, socializing with friends and relatives and promenading with your girl, that was the whole world for most people. Their life was defined by social interactions: conversations and relationships with others. It was really hard (and not much fun) to be introverted back then.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:21 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you're ever in Dublin, and want to pretend to be an Edwardian gadabout, you can visit the Natural History Museum, which hasn't been updated since installing a new entrance in 1909.
posted by rollick at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2013


Well your turn of the century introvert would've had a lot more magazines and cheap pulp publications with an active letter-based fandom community ( seriously Sherlock Holmes enjoyed an entire paper-based fan fiction scene) and by post game playing and technical societies - stuff you can do if you live in a large enough city where if you send something out in the morning you can expect someone to get it by noon.
posted by The Whelk at 3:34 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh! And photography. That was a huge fiddily technical hobby that was enjoyed by many men and women who would really rather spend all day locked in a dark room fussing with lenses and chemical baths.
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on April 18, 2013


On hats; people still wear baseball caps, trucker caps, beanies, those stupid fake fur things with ears, flat caps and some of us will even occasionally rock a trilby. To complain about the hat's demise seems to me like mourning the loss of long dresses because no-one wears bustles any more.
posted by steganographia at 3:41 PM on April 18, 2013


(from 18 fps to 24 fps)
That would be speeding up. I assume they just got the numbers backwards.


Hand cranked film cameras wander around from 12-20 fps - basically you relied on the cameraman to count well while winding, and played it back at 16 or 18 fps. ish. Projectors switched to 24 fps in the 20's to support sound - the standard we still use today for film. When you take something shot at ~18fps, and run it through a 24fps playback system, it runs 33% faster than it was shot, which is why we tend to associate early film with the 'walking about really fast' look. To slow down the action to what it would it have looked like as shot, while still using a 24fps system, you need to insert frames. You can add frame doubling, i.e. repeating 1 in 3 frames, which gives you pretty jerky motion, or insert blank frames which give you serious flickering. Youtube runs at 30fps IIRC, and some stuff is faster still (the hobbit was shot and shown at 48fps, which caused a number of comments about the 'unrealistic' smooth motion, we're so used to motion blur...); hd video etc natively at 60fps is becoming more common, which just makes the problem even worse.

By using modern video processing tools, you can take a previous and next frame, and work out what the missing frame would have looked like if it existed, had it actually been shot at 24 or 30 fps, rather than just repeating the same actually filmed frame - which gives you much smoother motion, and also slows down the motion in the film to what it actually looked like (more or less), rather than the familiar sped up look you get if you just run 18 fps film stock at 24 fps. Thank god we all use LCDs et al now, so we can start to forget about the extra horror of interlacing added on top by CRTs...

Software like this is a good tool but it's not a magic bullet. You still need to tune it scene by scene, when not frame by frame. This basically appears to have been done with a single set of settings and just run from beginning to end.

Very true. But doing it frame by frame is time consuming and thus expensive at your local vfx place, and film preservation societies are not renowned for overflowing with cash...
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:41 PM on April 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Right, but I guess I'm saying that there just weren't a lot of introverted types back then, because society enouraged (or maybe outright forced) people to interact in a way that doesn't happen anymore. If you caught them at a rare moment when they weren't working long hours to stay alive, most Edwardians would probably seem a lot more relaxed and confident than the average person today.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:41 PM on April 18, 2013


This is wonderful. I can't help thinking "dead people, they're all dead now." Its amazing to see them at the correct speed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:49 PM on April 18, 2013


As a case in point (of what happens to slow shot film not processed, just sped up), the awesome 'smallest car in the largest city in the world' - London, 1913. Deadpan driver for the win.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does anybody know what those 2-wheeled things are at 1:12? Are they mobile advertisements?
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:11 PM on April 18, 2013


So the key to dressing up like that is to have several pairs of clothes to change into every day, and wash yourself at a basin between changings. I think we can all manage that.

Can we? Fancier clothing is more expensive if you don't want a viscose suit that's barely wearable and dressing up takes more time, space and expense to care for it. If you cycle through your clothes to allow for a resting period and need several pairs of clothes like you say, it all adds up. Let allone the shoes, right? ;) Especially considering the availability of jobs and income levels nowadays, slacks and shirt or jeans + whatever on time off are easier to handle even though dressing up is cool if you like it (I do too).
posted by ersatz at 4:14 PM on April 18, 2013


Also the uniform wearing of corset/girdles by women and some men. I have a few outfits I literally cannot get into unless I wedge myself into lots of uncomfortable underwater, a lot of it is vintage from this period. I dot it cause I want to*, but I can't imagine wearing it every day.

*i look like a dandy cowboy!
posted by The Whelk at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2013


ersatz: WOOSH
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:43 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is so cool. Thanks.

Was I the only one hoping to catch a glimpse of Sherlock Holmes?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:47 PM on April 18, 2013


The thing that strikes me is the homogeneity of the crowd. Men and women, dressed in their respective fashions - all with their hats just so, pocket squares and so forth. I live in a part of Sydney that has something like 100 different nationalities present in numbers and the all-white, all-suit thing in the footage strikes me as...well...exotic.
posted by ninazer0 at 4:52 PM on April 18, 2013


Very true. But doing it frame by frame is time consuming and thus expensive at your local vfx place, and film preservation societies are not renowned for overflowing with cash...

There isn't any indication that Rick88888888 is with a video preservation society nor that this was done at a professional VFX facility. I suspect this is just something like Adobe Premiere with frame blending enabled and the Warp Stabilizer effect.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:57 PM on April 18, 2013


In industrialized cities and towns. everyone who could afford to do so got the fuck out of dodge in the summer because the environment would be unbearable.

This was also true in not-so-large hot places. Until WW2, the women and children in my Mississippi/Louisiana family left the Delta in late May bound for the mountains of Western North Carolina and returned September-ish. The men stayed behind to manage the farm and suffer out the hot months alone, likely without the somewhat more formal dress necessitated by wives who fancied themselves socialites. As a sidenote, they employed a similar strategy during floods and other natural disasters.
posted by thivaia at 5:20 PM on April 18, 2013


So the key to dressing up like that is to have several pairs of clothes to change into every day, and wash yourself at a basin between changings. I think we can all manage that.

Maybe you and your valet. And it helps if you don't actually have to do anything all day. So maybe you have a roomful of dandy suits to change into several times a day, or a house staff to continuously clean and mend a handful of garments so you'll always be fresh. After a while, you realize this was a convention that largely got tossed by the wayside for good reason.

Folks bemoaning the fact that people don't get all dressed to go outside: nobody's stopping you. Just don't expect me to engage in such pointless cosplay to please your sense of aesthetics.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:28 PM on April 18, 2013


2N2222: WOOSH
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:43 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a two woosher!
posted by JHarris at 7:12 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It interested me that so many folks were smiling at the camera. i was under the impression that folks back then still tried to look serious while being photographed, but the new technology was evidently quite a hit.

That is interesting; I know people didn't typically smile for posed still photographs at *least* into the 1920s, but apparently the context here is somehow different - maybe people forgot their composure because the big camera with the guy cranking it is such a curiosity, or just because the setting is informal. Now I have half a mind to post an AskMeFi question wondering when people started smiling in photos.



If I remember correctly, the serious looks in old portrait photography was due to the long exposure times necessary and the attendant need to stay absolutely still. A "serious" (i.e. deadpan) look was much easier to maintain.

If you google smiling Victorians, you'll find some galleries of very pleasant, not-at-all-stuffy-or-deathly-serious Victorian folks.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:55 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


An absolutely brilliant find. Just at the start I can recognise St Patrick's Bridge. Also the crowds down by the sea-shore might have been at Cobh (Queenstown) the last stop of the Titanic, and generally their last stop on their way to emigration to America never to see their homeland again.

Also the trams going through the city centre peacefully that a few years later would have been burned out during the war of indpendence.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 10:06 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am certain I saw Mrs Bathurst for a moment.
posted by pracowity at 2:20 AM on April 19, 2013


I was looking for the guy nonchalantly walking by talking on his cellphone.
posted by keys at 6:24 AM on April 19, 2013


or a floppy-haired guy in a bow-tie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just don't expect me to engage in such pointless cosplay to please your sense of aesthetics.

Well, hell, what's the point of doing it at all if you won't do it with us?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2013


Just don't expect me to engage in such pointless cosplay to please your sense of aesthetics.

These days I'm astonished when anyone engages in a thoughtful attempt to make the world a less ugly place, sartorial speaking. So I applaud those who take the trouble and make the effort.

But I expect this is simply a bad patch we're going through. Eventually street cred will return to those who make an effort to look sharp.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:38 PM on April 19, 2013


My time-traveling neighbor says he isn't in this video, but give him a few minutes and he will be.
posted by JHarris at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2013


Surely the masted ship would be identifiable to people who know about that sort of thing? That might even give an exact place and date of filming.
posted by glasseyes at 7:15 PM on April 19, 2013


But I expect this is simply a bad patch we're going through. Eventually street cred will return to those who make an effort to look sharp.

Come come now. Surely it's just a matter of perspective? ;-) Check out the guy in this Acura commercial? I just saw this down the pub this afternoon, and his smug little fit of self-congratulation at 0:17 sticks out like the nuts on a Dobermann. I also learned that that little "moment" is standard fare in Acura commercials just now (or it it car commercials for guys?).
posted by sneebler at 6:55 PM on April 20, 2013


This amazing 1927(6?) color footage of London just came across my radar and I was about to make a new FPP for it, only to discover that Miko had already posted it (along with early 1900s footage of other cities).
posted by usonian at 2:29 PM on May 10, 2013


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