Warner Bros “Reminiscence” site uses deepfake tech to put you in the trailer

[A new website for the film Reminiscence lets users create and share a trailer that incorporates a deepfake of the viewer using only a single uploaded photograph. The first short story from SlashGear below describes the process and the film (which at this writing has a 7.8/10 rating at IMDb) and the second story from Protocol provides details about the technology and company behind the interactive, personalized trailer. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: DDay]

Warner Bros Reminiscence site uses deepfake tech to put you in the trailer

By Brittany A. Roston
August 14, 2021

The soon-to-be-released science fiction movie starring Huge Jackman, Reminiscence, has one of the most unique promotional websites in the industry — it uses ‘deepfake’ technology to put viewers or their loved ones in the trailer. The website also encourages viewers to engage with the content using interactive commands.

To understand the unique trailer offered on the Reminiscence website, you first need to know what the movie is about. The film, which comes from director Lisa Joy, tells the story of a scientist who figures out a way to relive past memories, kicking off the conspiracy plot we’ll see in the movie.

The Reminiscence website gives viewers the chance to experience this memory retrieval for themselves, sort of, using deepfake technology. To do this, the website’s visitors upload images of either themselves or someone they know, then answer a question about the memories associated with that person.

A couple of interactive prompts require the user to “connect neurons” and adjust the emotion associated with the person before proceeding to the ‘memory.’ The trailer involves actor Hugh Jackman inserting a card with the user’s name into a machine, then pulling up the beginning of a memory that features the face of the person they uploaded.

The deepfake quality is excellent, fully animating a static image to look like a real video of that person. Users can download the memory to share elsewhere if they’d like. Note: The website’s interactive trailer will only work if you disable any adblockers you may have on your browser.

[From Protocol]

Warner Bros. Is Using Personalized Deepfakes For Its Latest Movie Promo

By Janko Roettgers
August 12, 2021

Hollywood is embracing deepfakes, and we all can be a part of it: Warner Bros. has tapped synthetic media startup D-ID to promote its new movie “Reminiscence.” A new website allows anyone to upload a photo, which D-ID’s AI then turns into a moving deepfake video sequence in a short video clip promoting the film. I tried it and was impressed by the way D-ID’s algorithms estimated facial movements just from a single photo.

D-ID actually started out as a privacy-focused startup, aiming to develop technology that protects consumers against facial recognition. Along the way, the startup’s founders realized that the same technology could be used to optimize deepfakes. “We built a very strong face engine,” D-ID CEO Gil Perry told me.

  • This allowed the company to reduce the amount of training data for its AI. Many competing solutions need multiple video clips, or at least a large amount of photos, to train an AI for creating deepfake videos.
  • D-ID’s tech instead works with just a single photo, which is ideal for marketing campaigns like the one launched by Warner Bros.

The same tech also can bring dead people back to life. Before going live with the “Reminiscence” campaign, D-ID made headlines with its collaboration with MyHeritage, which allowed people to create videos from photos of deceased relatives. Critics called the feature creepy, but Perry claimed that 95% of the tweets about it were actually supportive. “It gave us confidence that we know what we are doing,” he said. Plus, the media attention resulted in over 600 leads for new partnerships.

  • Next up: Taking deepfakes to the museum. D-ID is currently in active conversations with multiple museums about integrating its tech into exhibitions. The idea: Visitors will be able to scan a barcode next to an artwork to access a deepfake video of an artist talking about their work.

D-ID is just the latest in a string of startups to help Hollywood with synthetic media. AI has been used to dub movies, make commercials during lockdown, and, yes, add some controversial audio to the Anthony Bourdain documentary.

It may take a couple more years until AI can replace actors in Hollywood movies, but Perry told me that this is very much something his company and others are aiming for. “Our long-term vision is to create full productions using AI,” he said.

  • Influencers may be first to trial this approach; Perry said that D-ID is looking to move from facial to full body animation. Putting this tech into the hands of TikTok and Instagram creators could help democratize video production, he argued.

However, deepfake generators may need some safeguards first. Given its background in privacy tech, D-ID is looking into ways to make sure its deepfakes aren’t being used for manipulation and harassment, Perry said. “The most important thing is that it will not cause harm.”

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