Everyone in Hollywood is using AI, but “they're afraid to admit it”

For horror fans, Late Night with the Devil Marked as one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Embracing an analog film filter, the David Distamalchian-starring found-footage flick flaunts its over-the-top production design with a nod to '70s-era grindhouse. Dawn of the Dead or Death Race 2000. After a late-night talk show host aired a Halloween special in 1977, it had all the makings of a cult hit.

But the film may be remembered more for the controversy surrounding the use of cutaway graphics created by creative artificial intelligence tools. One image of a dancing skeleton in particular angered some theatergoers. Leading up to its theatrical debut in March, it faced the prospect of a boycott, though it never materialized.

The film's directors, Cameron and Colin Cairns, defended the use of AI, explaining that the art was touched by human hands. In a statement, he said, “We experimented with AI for three still images that we further edited and ultimately appeared as very short interstitials in the film.”

Less than a month later, A24 suspects AI tampering with five images generated from post-apocalyptic scenes. Civil War sparked similar outrage from a section of fans. There were some telltale signs that the graphics were rendered by AI with historical accuracy and consistency: one poster features the two Chicago Marina Towers on opposite banks of the river; In another, a shot of the wreckage shows a three-door car.

In response, a reader on A24's Instagram post wrote his reaction late night “There was more than enough to make it transparently clear to everyone: We don't want this.”

But in the entertainment industry, AI's Pandora's Box has already emerged. Behind closed doors, from writers' rooms to VFX departments, most corners of production have embraced creative AI tools. For every project that has been hit by using AI in some part of the production pipeline, there are dozens that have quietly embraced the technology.

“There are a lot of people who are using AI, but they can't admit it publicly because you still need artists to do a lot of the work and they'll turn against you,” David Says Streepens, a veteran of the VFX industry Avatar, The Man of Steel and Marvel titles. “Right now, it's more of a PR issue than a tech issue.”

“Producers, writers, everyone is using AI, but they're afraid to admit it publicly,” said David Defendi, a French screenwriter and founder of Genario, a tool for film and television writers. Agree to specific AI software systems. “But it's being used because it's a tool that gives an advantage. If you don't use it, you're at a disadvantage to the people who are using AI.”

One of the reasons for the backlash against the use of AI late night And Civil War That may be the precedent that seems to set it. Hiring or commissioning a concept or graphic artist would have been a negligible cost for the productions involved. If companies are willing to use AI to replace such peripheral tasks – in the case of late night And Civil War, jobs that could be filled by anyone on their production design teams — what positions are ahead? The writer? VFX artist?

“Most writers who have tried AI have found that it's not a very good writer,” says David Kavanagh, executive officer of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE), a group of writers and unions. which represents more than 8,000 authors in 25 countries. . “So I'm not putting it in our place just yet, but the impact on other sectors of the industry could be very damaging.” He points to areas such as children's animation and soap operas, where there is a lot of “repetition of the same situations through the same characters”, as areas that could be hit hard.

The displacement of labor by low-level workers in Hollywood likely plays a role in the extent to which the use of AI is considered acceptable, and those who are lightly excluded. Much of the conversation about the issue has been filtered through the lens of Hollywood's historic double strikes last year. Using AI tools Civil War And late night This means artists are out of work.

Some sectors of the industry are already at risk of extinction. “Dubbing and subtitling is dead in Europe,” Kavanagh says, pointing to AI technology that can produce lip-synced dubs in multiple languages, even for the original actor. Using performance versions. “It's hard to see how they're going to get away with it.”

At Cannes on Saturday, indie producer/distributor XYZ Films will present a sizzle reel of AI-translated trailers for international films, including a Nordic sci-fi feature. UFO Swedena French comedy thriller Vincent must die. and Korean action hits Smugglerswhich showcases LA-based company Flawless' TrueSync dubbing technology. Flawless and XYZ are touting the tech as an opportunity for successful international films to affordably produce a high-quality English-language dub that will make them more attractive to the global market. Flawless, XYZ Films, and T-Shop Productions plan to roll out. UFO Sweden Worldwide in what they are calling the first mass theatrical release of a fully translated film using AI.

during this, PutinA new political biopic by Polish director Basiel, which is being shopped to international buyers at Cannes, uses AI tech to recreate Vladimir Putin's face on the body of an actor with a similar build to the Russian leader. does. Basile says he plans to use the same technology, developed in-house by his post-production company AIO, to create deepfake actors to play extras and supporting roles.

“I predict that film and TV productions will eventually employ only leading and perhaps supporting actors, while the entire world of background and minor characters will be created digitally,” he says.

In Hollywood, the specter of AI casts an ominous shadow. A study surveying 300 entertainment industry leaders released in January reported that three-quarters of respondents indicated that AI tools supported the elimination, reduction or stabilization of jobs at their companies. Over the next three years, it is estimated that approximately 204,000 positions will be adversely affected. Concept artists, sound engineers, and voice actors are at the forefront of this displacement. Visual effects and other post-production work were also criticized as particularly weak.

There is also an imbalance in resistance to the use of AI. Civil War And late night But not, for example, Robert Zemeckis' upcoming Miramax film Herewhich will feature a minor Tom Hanks and Robin Wright. Their transformations were accomplished using a new generative AI-powered tool called Metaphysics Live.

Deploying AI to allow actors to play younger or older versions of themselves could boost A-list talent as they are now suddenly able to play roles of all ages. As with graphic artists who can get lost in the work. late nightSimilarly, a young Tom Hanks could have missed out on being cast in a major studio film. Why hire Sophie Nellis to play a younger version of Melanie Lynskey's Shauna? The Yellow Jackets When the production can only established star d age?

But where many see danger, some see opportunity. “We see AI as a tool that we believe will unlock creativity and opportunity that will create jobs, not eliminate them,” said Charles Rivkin, CEO of the Motion Picture Association. ” The Hollywood Reporter In Cannes, as long as there are guardrails and copyrights are protected.

Rivkin, The Jim Henson Co. , notes that the late, great Muppets creator was always on the cutting edge of technology. “If Jim were alive today,” Rivkin says, “he would be using AI to do amazing things, and use it to tell his story.”

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