As winter approaches, it’s easy to feel all doom and gloom. However, the cold weather brings the potential of snow, and those of us who are kids at heart know that only means one thing: snowball fights! People have been enjoying friendly winter warfare for centuries, and thanks to YouTuber Dmitriy Badin, you can now watch an epic battle from 124 years ago in color.
The original footage was taken by Louis Lumière of the Lumière Brothers, who captured the good old-fashioned snowball fight in 1896 on the streets of Lyon, France. The Lumière Brothers were filmmaking pioneers, and captured some of the first motion pictures ever made. In this particular silent film, titled Bataille de boules de neige (Snowball Fight), you can just about make out the figures going head to head, but it’s difficult to see any details due to the video’s grainy quality. However, the historical footage was recently colorized by Badin, revealing the subjects' facial features and even some clothing details.
Badin used a moderated version of the AI-powered software DeOldify to colorize the old footage, upscale it to 1080p, and insert additional frames for a smoother look. The updated version is so clear, that it almost looks like a modern-day snowball fight—if it wasn’t for the subjects’ outdated clothing. The cheerful scene shows men in top hats and women in long petticoats playfully throwing lumps of snow at each other. Just as the battle starts to get out of hand, an innocent cyclist tries to move through the scene and ultimately gets caught in the crossfire and thrown off his bike. He loses his hat in the chaos, but you’ll probably agree that he was safer buying a new one than going back for it.
Check out both versions of the snowball fight footage below.