AI movie dubbing offers “terrifying” glimpse into film’s future

Virginia Gardner in 2022 movie Fall, which used AI dubbingLionsgate

Viva la AI! The artificial intelligence art revolution can’t be stopped, as evidenced by a viral clip of AI dubbing in a 2022 movie – the game has changed, and we never even noticed.

“My mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it.”

These were the panicked, dying words of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000, one of the most iconic AIs in all of fiction. Now, they’re applicable to us, and our failure to register the uncanny work of a computer.

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Just recently, a content creator used AI to transform Family Guy into an ’80s sitcom that somehow felt nostalgic despite never existing. But AI has already been used on the big screen in an “amazing, terrifying” way.

Viral AI movie dubbing is “amazing” & “terrifying”

Fall, 2022’s survival thriller directed by Scott Mann, used AI to remove swear words in order to secure a PG-13 rating.

However, unlike similar cases, the filmmaker didn’t just dub “freaking” over “f*cking” – with artificial intelligence, he was able to alter the actors’ faces and mouth movements to make it seem like they actually said it in the moment. Check out the clip below:

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The innovation comes from Flawless, Mann’s AI filmmaking company based in Santa Monica and London. They used the same technology to create foreign-language dubs, to avoid the loss of immersion that can arise with spoken words being out of sync with an actor’s mouth.

“We went into a recording studio down in… Burbank with the actresses and said, ‘All right, here’s the new lines’. We put the shots in, MPAA re-reviewed it and gave it PG-13, and that was what got into the cinemas,” the director told the Los Angeles Times.

“You can’t tell what’s real and what’s not, which is the whole thing.”

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The clip has since amassed more than a million views, with one user reacting: “On the one hand, cool. On the other hand, this is gonna be used for malice in the future.”

“Scary. I mean, having lipsync in other languages sounds much more immersive, but on the other hand, the original performance of the original actor is completely lost,” another wrote.

“Simultaneously amazed but conflicted at how quickly we are barreling down and embracing ethically dubious technologies,” a third tweeted. “That’s ‘friggin’ amazing. Sidenote, I can’t trust my eyes & ears anymore,” a fourth wrote. “Terrifying,” another reacted.

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In an email to the LA Times, Jeffrey Bennett, SAG-AFTRA’s general counsel, said: “Technologies that do little more than digitally enhance our members’ work may just require the ability to provide informed consent and, possibly, additional compensation.

“At the other end of the spectrum are the technologies that might replace traditional performance or that take our members’ performances and create wholly new ones; for these, we maintain that they are a mandatory subject of bargaining.”

Fall is available to buy and rent on-demand now. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here.

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