"We Become Their Visual Storytelling Partners": How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Film and Entertainment Industry

“We Become Their Visual Storytelling Partners”: How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Film and Entertainment Industry

Deep fakes use (essentially) a form of artificial intelligence to swap one person for another — essentially a face swap — which is the exact term used by Industrial Light & Magic, the company’s chief creative officer said. visual effects to Fortune‘s Brainstorm AI Summit on Monday.

Speaking on stage at the San Francisco conference, Rob Bredow, also senior vice president of creative innovation at Lucasfilm, said the company tends to use the term “face swaps” rather than “deep fakes.” because “it’s not just about running a deep algorithm…it’s one of the tools we can use for sure, but we use a wide variety of tools.

While Bredow said he expects machine learning and AI to be hugely transformative, it goes beyond that. Bredow said it completely changed their workflow in that something that previously took 10 artists six weeks – in the case of face swapping – now, once trained in the technology and hardware, can get results in seconds on minutes of footage.

During the interview, a clip showing footage of Mark Hamill portraying Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian– only it was a younger version of him. Bredow explained that Hamill was acting off-camera and there was actually a stand-in for him, while Hamill voiced the performance.

The stand-in actor mimicked Hamill’s movements and expressions, but it was the studio’s job to transform the stand-in’s face into Hamill’s. To do this, they used machine learning technology and their own internal system, created with Disney research and Industrial Light & Magic’s own engineers. But that still wasn’t good enough for the highest quality movie streaming, so artists came back with other frame-by-frame techniques, sometimes to add more detail.

“We’re collaborating with filmmakers who hopefully want to do something that no one has ever seen before,” he said. “And that’s when they pick up the phone and call us…we become their visual storytelling partners. And it’s all sorts of different techniques… it’s everything from matte paints on glass 30 years ago to the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques we use today.

The company is innovation-driven, Bredow said. He shared the story of an artist online who posted a version of his work, “a very, very good version on top of ours,” he noted. Bredow’s reaction? “How can I get my hands on this guy?” he tells the audience. And two weeks later, this artist started at ILM.

“When someone does a good job, that’s the kind of person you want to bring in,” he said.

Bredow also spoke about the Abba as the famous Swedish band are on tour again for the first time in around 40 years, with a bit of a twist. It is a digital recreation of the band members’ youth.

“The illusion is that you go back to the 1970s and see Abba doing a live concert,” he said. “And I mean, we were all wondering as we worked on the show for three and a half years, was this going to work? Is it going to feel like someone is tapping the game and we’re looking at a screen, or is the audience going to be in there? »

And they were able to create a show that would never have been made, without the same machine-learning technologies he mentioned earlier – and in the process, Bredow even became an Abba fan.

So what’s the next step? The fifth IndianaJones film. The trailer dropped this month and reveals a look into the past with a younger portrayal of actor Harrison Ford, made possible by AI

“I hope you can continue to focus on those finer details that make the performance of an actor playing, in this case, himself at a younger age, as believable as possible,” Bredow said.

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