Last August, artificial intelligence (AI) company Flawless said that it was able to reduce the number of profanities spoken in a movie using deepfake technology but now has shown what that process looks like and how it can even seamlessly alter spoken language.
Flawless is a London-based startup that worked with production company Lionsgate in the U.S. theatrical release of Fall, a thriller about two friends who find themselves stranded at the top of a 2,000-foot-tall radio tower. Last year, the company explained that it was able to get the movie approved for a PG-13 rating by removing more than 30 swear words throughout the film in post-production rather than through reshoots.
“For a movie like this, we can’t reshoot it. We’re not a big tentpole,” the film’s director and co-writer said last year. “We don’t have the resources, we don’t have the time, more than anything else.”
The film had an overall budget of about $3 million and it would have cost millions more to physically reshoot the scenes to get the rating they were after. So they didn’t and instead went with Flawless.
The company’s TrueSync AI system is able to map and dub actors’ faces to both change what is spoken as well as alter the mouth so that it looks as though it is naturally speaking a different language. While the company was only able to describe the process last year, it recently shared a short video that visually explains how its technology works on Twitter.
Our software harnesses the power of generative AI to change filmed dialogue.
TrueSync opens a new world of possibilities from fast and efficient AI reshoots to the creation of immersive, visual translations, for any language around the world.#GenerativeAI #Hollywood pic.twitter.com/Mx384s6RbD
— Flawless (@Flawlessai) January 27, 2023
“Our software harnesses the power of generative AI to change filmed dialogue,” Flawless explains. The example shows that not only can words be changed, they can also be completely removed.
“TrueSync opens a new world of possibilities from fast and efficient AI reshoots to the creation of immersive, visual translations, for any language around the world.”
Most online deepfakes are relatively easy to pick out still since there is usually a lack of sharpness or a level of an uncanny valley that is visible in lower-cost efforts — such as is the case with a scammer Elon Musk or Jimmy Kimmel interviewing his past self.
A Flawless-level believable deepfake is far more uncommon and takes considerably more effort to pull off. For example, a deepfake of Tom Cruise is probably the closest example of such a level of detail and that took the creator far more effort than is typical. Still, this technology is evolving rapidly and it is only a matter of time before it is easier to access and becomes more widespread. There is certainly utility for it, as is the case for Fall, but in the wrong hands, deepfakes could easily be used nefariously.