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Tech tips

Turn nostalgic old photos of family into lifelike videos

There’s little life in old photos. When you’re browsing through the family history books and see pictures of long-gone family members, it can be difficult to remember what they looked like when they were alive. Luckily, a company named MyHeritage is infusing new life into old pictures.

Its new service called Deep Nostalgia animates the faces of folks in old photos, creating short videos that look like they’re posing before the camera shutter’s click. The automatic, AI-generated videos look like Apple’s Live Photos feature, which shows several seconds of video before and after the snapshot. Tap or click here for the best features on your iPhone you may not know about.

But Deep Nostalgia is unique compared to any other AI feature we’ve seen. It’s specifically designed to bring old shots to life — even though these photos came long before the modern smartphone. Here’s how it works.

Kim tried this out and it works like a charm

On MyHeritage’s website, you can make high-quality, realistic videos in a snap. When you upload a photo, it goes through Deep Nostalgia’s drivers, which apply a set sequence of gestures. Then, the tool applies those movements to your photo, which lets you see your ancestors smile, blink and move around.

Although the videos can look a bit robotic, they also give you a new perspective on people we’ve lost to the sands of time. Since so many historical photos are small and blurry, Deep Nostalgia enhances the photos and sharpens their faces. This means that even if you upload a messy picture, you can get crystal clear results.

When Kim heard about this tool, she had to try it for herself. She ran an old picture of her dad through the algorithm. Here are the results.

If you want to follow in Kim’s footsteps and give this tech a go, here’s how to use it.

YOU’LL LOVE THIS, TOO: Save your old photos and videos by digitizing them

Breathe new life into old photos

First, head to MyHeritage.com. Then, create an account. Once you’ve made a username and password, you can tap the orange button to animate old photos.

From there, artificial intelligence gets to work and in a matter of minutes, you should get an animated GIF of your family. Luckily, there doesn’t appear to be any security issues: According to the MyHeritage FAQ, it doesn’t share photos with third parties.

Unfortunately, the tech doesn’t yet work for group photos. If you upload a family picture, you’ll have to select a specific face for the feature to focus on.

MyHeritage asks people not to upload photos of anyone who’s still alive since it wants the Deep Nostalgia tool to be a pleasant way to see deceased loved ones in action. As you can imagine, though, some creative tricksters are stretching the limits and having fun.

If you’re ready to hit the ground running, be careful about the pictures you select. You can upload five photos for free, but after that, you have to pay.

Maybe this inspired you to check out the old photos in your family albums. Some of them are probably sepia-toned, smudged or scratched.

You may think it’s time to throw them away, but not so fast! You can digitally preserve all your pictures, no matter how damaged they are. Check out our handy guide to digitally enhance your old photos.

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