Everyone in Hollywood Is Using AI, but “They Are Scared to Admit It”

For horror fans, Late night with the devil marked one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Adopting an analog film filter, the found footage film starring David Dastmalchian has garnered praise for its top-notch production design by relying on a ’70s grindhouse aesthetic reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead Or Death Race 2000. Following a late-night talk show host airing 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 its use of cutaway graphics created by generative artificial intelligence tools. One image of a dancing skeleton in particular particularly infuriated some viewers. Before its theatrical debut in March, the film faced the prospect of a boycott, although this never materialized.

The film’s directors, Cameron and Colin Cairnes, defended the use of AI, explaining that the art had been retouched by human hands. In a statement they said: “We experimented with AI on three still images which we then edited and which ultimately appear as very brief interstitials in the film.”

Less than a month later, five images suspected to be AI-generated teasing post-apocalyptic scenes in the A24s Civil war sparked similar outrage from a segment of fans. There were some telltale signs that the graphics were created by the AI ​​with errors in accuracy and consistency: the two Chicago Marina Towers buildings in one poster are on opposite sides of the river; in another, a photo of a wreck shows a three-door car.

In response, a reader on A24’s Instagram post wrote that the negative reaction to Late at night was “more than enough to make it clear to everyone: WE DON’T WANT THIS.”

But in the entertainment industry, AI’s Pandora’s Box has likely already been unleashed. Behind closed doors, most areas of production, from writers rooms to VFX departments, have adopted generative AI tools. For every project that suffered backlash due to the use of AI in some part of the production pipeline, dozens more have quietly adopted the technology.

“There are tons of people using AI, but they can’t admit it publicly because you still need artists for a lot of work and they’re going to turn on you,” says David Stripinis, a visual effects industry veteran who worked on Avatar, Steel man and Marvel titles. “Right now, it’s more of a public relations issue than a technical issue.”

“Producers, screenwriters, everyone uses AI, but they are afraid to admit it publicly,” recognizes David Defendi, French screenwriter and founder of Genario, a tailor-made AI software system designed for film screenwriters and of TV. “But we use it because it’s a tool that gives an advantage. If you don’t use it, you will be at a disadvantage compared to those who use AI.

One of the reasons for the negative reaction to the use of AI in Late at night And Civil war could be the precedent it appears to be setting. Hiring or commissioning a designer or graphic artist would have represented a negligible cost to the productions involved. If businesses are ready to use AI to replace these peripheral tasks – in the case of Late at night And Civil war, tasks that could have been accomplished by anyone on their production design teams – what are the next positions? Writers? VFX artists?

“Most writers who tried AI found it wasn’t a very good writer,” says David Kavanagh, director general of the Federation of Screenwriters of Europe (FSE), a group of writers’ guilds. and a union representing more than 8,000 writers in 25 countries. . “So I don’t think it will replace us yet, but the impact on other sectors of the industry could be very damaging.” He cites areas like children’s animation and soap operas, where there are a lot of “repetitions of similar situations by the same group of characters”, as sectors that could be hit hard.

Labor displacement by lower-level workers in Hollywood likely plays a role in AI uses being seen as acceptable and out of reach. Much of the discourse on the issue is filtered through the prism of Hollywood’s historic double strikes last year. The use of AI tools in Civil war And Late at night meant artists were missing out on work.

Some sectors of the industry are already threatened with extinction. “The dubbing and subtitling work in Europe is done,” says Kavanagh, pointing to AI technology capable of producing synchronized dubs in multiple languages, even using versions of the original actor’s performance. “It’s hard to see how they’re going to survive this.”

On Saturday in Cannes, independent producer/distributor XYZ Films will present a series of AI-translated international film trailers, including a Nordic sci-fi feature film. UFO SwedenFrench comedy thriller Vincent must die and the Korean action hit Smugglers, which features TrueSync dubbing technology from Los Angeles-based company Flawless. Flawless and XYZ present this technology as an opportunity for international blockbuster films to cost-effectively produce high-quality English dubbing that will make them more attractive in the global market. Flawless, XYZ Films and Tea Shop Productions plan to roll out UFO Sweden worldwide in what they call the first large-scale theatrical release of a fully translated film using AI.

In the meantime, Poutine, a new political biopic from Polish director Besaleel, currently on sale to international buyers at Cannes, uses AI technology to recreate Vladimir Putin’s face on the body of an actor with a similar build to the leader Russian. Besaleel says he plans to use the same technology, developed in-house by his post-production company AIO, to create fake actors to play extras and supporting roles.

“I anticipate that film and television productions will eventually employ only lead actors and perhaps supporting roles, 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 January survey of 300 entertainment industry executives found that three-quarters of respondents said AI tools were driving the elimination, reduction, or consolidation of jobs at their companies. Over the next three years, it is estimated that nearly 204,000 positions will be affected. Conceptual artists, sound engineers and voice actors are at the forefront of this shift. Visual effects and other post-production work have also been cited as particularly vulnerable.

There is also an imbalance in resistance to the use of AI in Civil war And Late at night but not, for example, the next Miramax film by Robert Zemeckis Here, which will feature a de-aged Tom Hanks and Robin Wright. Their transformations were carried out using a new AI-based generative tool called Metaphysics Live.

Deploying AI to allow actors to play younger or older versions of themselves could solidify A-list talent, as they are now suddenly eligible to play roles of all ages. As with graphic designers who could have lost work in Late at night, a young Tom Hanks lookalike might also have missed out on an opportunity to star in a major studio film. Why hire Sophie Nélisse to play a younger version of Melanie Lynskey’s Shauna in Yellow jackets when production can simply age the established star?

But where many see a threat, some see an 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, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in Cannes, provided that safeguards are in place and copyright is protected.

Rivkin, the former CEO of The Jim Henson Co., notes that the late great creator of the Muppets was always on the cutting edge of technology. “If Jim were alive today,” Rivkin says, “he would be using AI to do incredible things, using it to improve his storytelling.”

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News Source : www.hollywoodreporter.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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