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.”

Everyday Experiments – In Full Bloom

The first cellphone camera I ever used was in an imported unlocked Nokia so-called “smartphone”. It was an expensive flip phone with a screen that rotated 180 degrees. It had some form of limited office functionality, texting, and a 0.3-megapixel camera that shot postage stamp-sized images and no video. I thought it was the greatest phone ever, and the ability to take somewhat decent photos with my phone was a game-changer. Then in 2007 and the world changed.

When the iPhone went on sale in June of 2007, it was light years ahead of the competition. It had a whopping 2 megapixel camera and 320×480 pixel resolution screen. The day it went on sale I was 4th in line at the ATT store to make sure I got one before they sold out. At the time, I had no idea how much this single piece of technology would change the way people create with images, video and audio.

Fast forward 15 years and the impact has been very obvious. So much so that Apple has built an entire marketing platform around “Shot on iPhone” that focuses exclusively on the creative aspect of the handset. One of the best examples being a series of videos by Donghoon J. and James T, called “Everyday Experiments that show people how to create some pretty amazing videos with their iPhones and things they have at home. Something that would have been impossible to do with my Nokia in 2005, or even using a “Flip Video” camera that was hugely popular at the same time.

Everyday Experiments as well as the rest of “Shot on iPhone” show just how far we have come in a very short period of time. If you are into using your phone for creative endeavors I encourage you to take a look at the “Everyday Experiments” content. It’s well-produced and they have a section of behind-the-scenes videos that show how these two actually make the videos Apple commissions from them.

Forget 2020 for 5 Minutes.

If the state of 2020 has got you down, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it has, take 5 minutes out of your day and watch the video below. Created by the New Yorker this is one of the many documentary shorts that they have on Vimeo. This one focuses on the collection of artifacts that the New York Public Library owns. The collection is fascinating, and a bit odd. The video is extremely well made and for 5 minutes you don’t have to think about what a completely awful year 2020 has been in so many ways

6 Minutes of Meditation to Help Ease Your Pandemic Woes. “As Above”

Everyone is just a bit stressed right now, and understandably so. We are for the most part all working from home. In some cases like mine, unable to see loved ones in person do to their location at an assisted living facility. There is the stress of not being able to socialize in person, which goes against the very nature of being human. Some of us are worried about finances, whether or not we will catch the Covid-19 virus, will I have enough toilet paper to last me, or will I have to go to the store and risk infection just to maintain my hygiene…

Let the video below help reduce your stress level by taking you to a place of tranquility and peace for 6 and a half minutes. If you have a large smart TV I suggest firing up the Vimeo app on it and watching this with the sound cranked up. If you don’t, make sure to watch this full screen on your computer or device for the best visual impact.

Oh, and by the way this was done in almost one single shot filmed on the 8mm2 (0.3 square inch) surface of a chemical reaction – making it a one of even more impressive.

“As Above” is a short film exploring the tight link between the microscopic world and immensity of the universe. Illustrating our universe’s never ending dance of destruction and creation, in which life can emerge…

As Above was made of one single shot filmed on the 8mm2 (0.3 square inch) surface of a chemical reaction.

The environment in which we live, is at the constant mercy of the ever changing flow of planets, stars and galaxies… As well as the composition of the microscopic world.
“As Above” is an invitation to contemplate the beauty of this perpetual movement of which we are part of… And perhaps invite the viewer to reflect on his position in the universe and the preciosity of life.

In the same ways, recent events have shown us that a microscopic virus could have a destructive
impact on humanity… A destructive impact counter weighted by a positive impact on our planets
global ecosystem.

Credits

Created by Roman Hill
Music by Thomas Vanz
Co-produced by Nano-Lab