NASA’s 1969 Moon landing has been forever immortalised on video and film. And although photos of astronaut Buzz Aldrin saluting the US flag have become iconic, some of NASA’s video footage has struggled to stand the test of time. Filmed in 16mm format at 12 to six frames per second (fps), the footage can at times appear incredibly grainy and choppy.
But a YouTuber and film restoration enthusiast who goes by the name of Dutchsteammachine has used artificial intelligence to beautifully restore the iconic NASA footage.
Using open-source technology called Depth-Aware frame INterpolation (DAIN), NASA’s tapes have been upscaled to a format that could have very well been filmed today.
Apollo 11 video from outside of the Lunar Module spacecraft, for instance, has been upscaled from 12fps to 24ps, which is a standardised framerate used across cinema and TV today.
You can now watch in crisp detail the moment Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon for the very first time.
The YouTuber said: “I really wanted to provide an experience on this old footage that has not been seen before.”
And the videos have been showered with praise online, with many viewers mesmerised by the upscaled quality.
One person said: “God bless you Dutch. Putting the greatest human achievement in the modern era!”
Another person said: “60fps brings us a little closer to what it really looked like. Thanks.”
I plan to improve tons of Apollo footage like this
In another effort to restore the magic of the Apollo space programme, the YouTuber restored footage of an Apollo 16 lunar rover ride.
The video was originally filmed in 12fps on a 16mm camera.
The video has now been upscaled, colour corrected and synchronised with the mission’s audio logs.
Apollo 16 was the second-to-last NASA Moon landing in April 1972.
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The mission saw astronauts Ken Mattingly and Charles Duke land in the lunar highlands.
During the course of the mission, the astronauts covered nearly 17 miles (26.7km) of land in a lunar rover.
The restoration technique used by Dutchsteammachine uses AI to generate new frames of video in between existing ones.
The new frames help the footage become more fluid, crips and eliminate blur and stutter.
Dutchsteammachine said: “People have used the same AI programs to bring old film recordings from the 1900s back to life, in high definition and colour.
“This technique seemed like a great thing to apply to much newer footage.”
The technique is so power-hungry, rendering just five minutes of footage can take anywhere from six to 20 hours.
The YouTuber said: “I plan to improve tons of Apollo footage like this.
“A lot more space and history-related footage is going to be published on my YouTube channel continuously.”
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