Some amazing high-definition footage of New York City back in 1993 has surfaced. The imagery, which was shot to demonstrate high-definition VHS technology, takes the viewer back in time to a world that appears all at once strikingly similar to today as well as eons away from modern days.
The footage was apparently taken as a demo for the Japanese high-definition market, specifically to showcase the HiVision MUSE Laserdisc. When D-Theatre was made available in the U.S. in 2002, sellers of the system needed a compilation of high-def footage to demonstrate its capabilities, and the New York footage was used. The uploader surmises that the scenes were filmed with an HDVS camera, "perhaps a Sony SONY HDC-500 attached to a HDV-10 portable recorder which recorded on UniHi 3/4" tape."
Regardless of the equipment used, the footage is a fascinating look back in time through a lens that now instinctively indicates modern technology to the viewer. Of course, hardly anyone in 1993 had heard of HD video, let alone seen it in action, so viewing the footage retroactively feels surreal, much like watching old black and white movies or TV shows after modern colorization.
The footage is somewhat of a time capsule of New York City in the early 1990s, yet a brief glance at some of the street scenes wouldn't be at all out of place in 2016. A closer look indicates the differences — the men's suits with their large shoulder pads, the women's big, blown-out hairstyles, and though just like today, hundreds of New Yorkers are seen rushing down the streets, all in a hurry to get to their destinations, people are actually looking forward as opposed to down, as there's not a cell phone in sight.
While the crisp, beautiful images of Central Park and the East and Hudson Rivers could easily have been taken today and indicate the timelessness of nature, it's the striking views of the former New York skyline that really hit home emotionally. Stunning shots of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in all their glory, both by day and lit up at sunset, tug at our heartstrings and remind us of a simpler, quieter time in our history that has been forever lost.