In general, I am wary of deepfakes, primarily because they can be used for evil and be kind of creepy. There are exceptions, such as the YouTuber that made a way better deepfake version of a young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian than Lucasfilm’s CG division did. Recently, Warner Bros. debuted an impressive deepfake marketing campaign that also made me want to tip my hat to the studio.
As reported by Protocol, to promote its upcoming movie Reminiscence, Warner Bros. partnered with AI face platform D-ID to create a deepfake generator that allows anyone to insert themselves one of the film’s trailers. Using the generator is simple. All you need to do is go to movie’s official website and upload a picture of yourself. The generator will then crank out a short trailer that includes a moving deepfake sequence of your face.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, and Thandiwe Newton, Reminiscence is a sci-fi noir movie that focuses on private investigator Nick Bannister (Jackman), who helps his clients access lost memories through holograms. When his new client, Mae (Ferguson) disappears, Bannister becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. Reminiscence is the first film by Westworld co-writer and executive producer Lisa Joy, who we interviewed about the film earlier this week.
You can check out the example trailer Protocol made with the generator on YouTube. It’s pretty crazy to see how lifelike the expressions on the deepfake are and mind-blowing that D-ID managed to create that with just one photo.
If this tech looks a little familiar, that’s because this isn’t D-ID’s first eye-catching deepfake tool. The startup made headlines back in February with its “Deep Nostalgia” service, which allowed people to animate old photos of their deceased relatives, developed for the company MyHeritage. The tool was later updated to allow users to choose from a variety of movements and expressions, such as smiles, a compassionate look, and kisses.
Five weeks after Deep Nostalgia’s debut, MyHeritage announced that more than 72 million photos had been animated using the Deep Nostalgia tool. In addition to old family photos and movie trailers, D-ID is also working on partnering with museums to create deepfake videos of artists talking about their work.
Protocol pointed out that what makes D-ID’s AI unique is its ability to work with just one photo. The company’s competitors often need various videos and photos to train their AI solutions to create deepfake videos.
In the future, D-ID wants AI to be able to replace actors, CEO Gil Perry told the outlet. However, the tech isn’t there yet and achieving that goal might take a couple more years.
“Our long-term vision is to create full productions using AI,” Perry said.
To his credit, Perry also acknowledged one of my worries about deepfake technology. He told Protocol that the company is looking into ways to make sure its deepfakes aren’t used for manipulation and harassment. Only time will tell if the company actually follows through on this.
Reminiscence hits theatres and HBO Max on August 20.