Video

Deep Fake This – Fashion

The whole “Deep Fake” thing is something I have been interested in for some time. Each year it gets better and better, and as AI / Machine learning and technology advances being able to discern what is real, and what isn’t is getting harder. Where will this be in 10 years is hard to say, but the implications are pretty obvious. What does a person do when they can no longer tell if a video of someone is the real thing or not?

OK, enough of what could lead down a long and disheartening rabbit hole of despair about the future and how technology wreaks havoc on humanity.

To showcase the 2022 Spring Balenciaga fashion collection, creative director Marcus Dryden and the talented crew at MDC combined AI/machine learning, a real-time game engine, and hands-on VFX work to create a deepfake of American artist Eliza Douglas wrapped in every look from Balenciaga’s Spring ’22 collection. There is some live-action footage blended with CG and some solid post-work. They don’t say what the game engine is that they used, but I bet it was probably something like “Unreal”, or “Unity”. Below the video is a statement from Dryden breaking down the production.

“In Pre-production, we were able to plan the whole show. We used a games engine to previsualize which looks could be body doubles vs. which one needed to be the real Eliza. Also, the pre-viz defined the scale of the set for the art department and allowed production to choose the best lens, angles, and positions needed to run the multiple cameras in sync whilst on location.

During the shoot, MPC on-set supervisors Carsten Keller and Damien Canameras captured photogrammetry of Eliza’s face and oversaw a variety of in-situ plates to extract her face and transpose it onto the body doubles shot on the catwalk.

We also used a CG scan of Eliza’s head and an on-set photo reference to build a proxy Eliza head to help visualize the face replacements. This allowed our compositing team to study and analyze each shot, each face to define the best process to achieve the highest-quality clone.

The team then applied the best technique to create the face replacements: Planar tracking, roto animation, Keen Tools (a 3D tracking and modeling tool inside Nuke), and Machine Learning (AI/deep fake).

Once we began attaching Eliza’s faces, we matched light, textures, and motion artifacts using compositing. Using the references and the scan of the head, we made sure each clone’s face was as pixel-accurate to Eliza’s face as possible while still retaining the nuance of the specific Balenciaga design aesthetic.

The final film shows all the clones with Eliza’s photogrammetry-captured and CG-scanned face as they march down a minimalist runway to a sci-fi-inspired soundtrack composed by BFRND, which includes an AI voice narrating the lyrics of La Vie En Rose.”

Zendesk Helpers

I always love it when a company decides to use a different marketing approach to subtly promote who they are. I recently discovered that CRM software manufacturer Zendesk has started producing a series of documentary shorts that have nothing to do with Zendesk. I came across the videos on Vimeo while actually looking for something related to their product and then discovered the link to Zendesk Helpers a microsite which has the purpose of being helpful and encouraging, and a little bit of software promotion.

One of the things that I love about the site and the videos, is the high quality production value that is presented. Especially the videos. These are not shoot it on your iPhone and edit in iMovie (although I have seen some videos done that way that look really amazing). All of these have a fairly large production crew and it shows.

Beyond the production however, is the quality of the content itself. Each video left me feeling good about humanity, something we all need these days. As of February there were a total of 5 video stories available on the microsite. I’m hoping they are in the process of producing even more, because these are great.

We set out to look for helpfulness in the world and were amazed at the stories we found. Because being helpful might sound simple, but it’s actually badass.

Zen Desk Helpers

FutureDeluxe for Nespresso

Mcann / Hogarth recently commissioned FutureDeluxe to produce a CG animated commercial for Nespresso that is really wonderful. OK, what am I saying pretty much everything FutureDeluxe does is wonderful. The short clip takes the viewer on a journey that travels through a variety of spaces. Each highlighting the colors and variety of Nespresso machines, all of which are designed to create an atmosphere reflective of the machine itself. The short is made up of 37 films, 44 CG products, and 40 key visuals that live in 7 unique spaces.

One thing that really stands out to me about this advertisement is the fact that you hardly see any Nespresso branding. You occasionally see the logo on a shopping bag or on the Nespresso coffee pod but that is it, and it works. The brand is so well known they don’t need to smack you over the head by plastering the logo in every single shot. Not only that but the spaces themselves continue to elevate Nespresso to be seen as the luxury coffee item that it is.

If you want to geek out a bit, the process real below shows how this was put together from a fairly high level. Sketches, style frames, animatics, wireframe renderings plates, and all. Personally, I love looking at this stuff. I find it absolutely fascinating.

Rubber Bullets

Over the course of 2020, we have all been witness to protests that the news has captured and broadcast to us via TV, the web, and our phones. From “Black Lives Matter” to “End the Covid-19 Shutdown” and everything in between 2020 has been a year of worldwide unrest and protests.

One of the things that come with that, is police enforcement and crowd control using non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets. While rubber bullets are designed to be non-lethal, that doesn’t mean they don’t inflict serious harm on the person that gets shot with one. I’ve seen many social media posts showing the outcome of someone taking a rubber bullet to the face, or multiple bullets to the torso. The result is often devastating and debilitating, and it begs the question is there a need for them? I’m not taking sides here. I’m simply asking.

The video below demonstrates what rubber bullets are capable of. Especially when fired at close range. While the human body is more durable than an eggplant, this video brings home the truth about how much serious harm these non-lethal projectiles can inflict on a person.

Produced by Royale Film Co. and Dan Brown this video was inspired by the protestors in Austin Texas this summer. Protestors including a college student that suffered permanent brain damage when shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

Using a high-speed Phantom camera shooting at 2000 frames per second the video truly highlights what these “non-lethal” projectiles are capable of. And while the visuals are quite stunning and fascinating to watch, they also show what rubber bullets are capable of.