Deepfakes: Do we still need actors on set ?

Original article was published on Deep Learning on Medium

Deepfakes: Do we still need actors on set ?

Spoiler alert the answer is NO but not everything in life has to come out of necessity, especially for entertainment.

In the great french series “10% “or Call my agent” as it’s called on Netflix, we can follow and enjoy the many misadventures of movie stars agents dealing with their client’s many, and often weird and laughable crisis. Hot-right-now actors or has-been celebrities, they are all depicted in their most bigger than life and all very human flaws: lazyness, self-interest, weird demands, you name it. Because, hey “we’re dealing with human here”… but what if… not ?

Are deepfake the future of talent management and image rights licensing for actors ?

The above (and f**king amazing) video is 128h of work using non bespoke material. Adding sourcing time (being generous i’m doublingit ) we’re looking at a 1 month production for a 1 man band on a consumer computer and free hashtag machinelearning softare… This is 1000x cheaper and faster than the Industrial Light & Magic efforts and budget necessary to recreate the infamous Star Wars Rogue One digital version of the late Peter Cushing.

Beyond the argument about the moral problem of resurrecting dead legends, let’s imagine this: the total disruption and uberization of the star system

In years or maybe month to come, we could very well see talent management companies like CAA could store their clients facescans, expressions and visemes and simply licence the data ressources for them to appear in any given content production: I mean being in a movie or a a full series, without EVER setting a foot on set or even meet with the producers and directors.

No more travel costs, no more insurance fees going over the roof after the the covid19 pandemic…: new way of just syndicating the world’s most famous and beloved faces and performance

Let’s also imagine the 3 degrees of “acting”: live and actual performance for premium productions: movies released in theaters and big fat budget series on Netflix or HBOmax, Deepfake version for advertising and lower ambitions Nicholas Cage worthy DTV films and finally digital double version for Unreal Engine native originals.

I mean, other industries have done it…

Find it shocking ? As you should… but let’s keep in mind that screen performers already have stand-ins, body doubles, stunt guys and gals on set and even local actors doing their dialogues in dubbing in non englisg speaking countries… what is the minimum of “real” presence and involvement needed so that the big name on the poster isn’t a total lie and fraud ?

The savings andor creative possibilities are endless and exciting, and all very creepy