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5 ways AI has already been integrated into the film industry

Science fiction stories and films were the main route through which many of us learned about AI. Whether it was the Terminator films back in the 1980s or dystopian TV series like Black Mirror that highlighted the perils of AI and where unfettered, unregulated use of this technology could lead, as with all things Hollywood, there’s artistic license and a decent slice of exaggeration. However, that’s not to say there aren’t some warning signs worth paying attention to. Ultimately, many in the film industry believe AI will be a net positive, and much of this integration is only just beginning.

 

1. Video editing

Many professions are concerned about the rise of AI, and many jobs within the film industry, including video editing, could be streamlined or made redundant by AI. Let’s take a step back and look at the broader consequences of AI video editing. It will almost certainly be a significant focus and part of any upcoming legislation, and we’d like to think that this will involve strong legislative powers to protect critical roles.

Fake news stories and persuasive video editing have led to scams and celebrities being misquoted on social media. While the technology is still in its early stages and can be reasonably easy to spot, with so much investment piling in, there’s no doubt that it’ll become more difficult to spot over the next few years.

If AI can edit videos as well as a human, human editing could become surplus to requirements, and it’s already being integrated at all levels, from small-scale TV productions to big-budget Hollywood films, where the most significant integration is currently taking place.

It’s only a matter of time, according to AI experts, until AI-generated content, actors and video editing software will be scooping up Oscars themselves. It’s a bizarre thought that is extremely challenging to comprehend now — what would an AI acceptance speech look like? Will the industry integrate preventative measures to stop AI from completely taking over video editing? There’s going to be many crucial discussions regarding this throughout the course of this decade, that’s for sure.

 

2. Script writing and analysis

Script writing and analysis are widely considered to be first in the firing line for AI integration. ChatGPT has exposed the masses to where AI is headed. Apple is close to an agreement that will see OpenAI integrated into Apple devices, which will again add fuel to the fire and dilute the real-time need for writers who have spent years perfecting and crafting stories, film scripts, books and a whole host of other creative artistic avenues.

Given that there are now a multitude of AI tools that can write complex, university-level pieces of text, it’s a concerning time for content writers. Where will the industry be a decade from now? Perhaps this issue is exemplified by well-paid scriptwriters who, until the rise of AI, were considered irreplaceable. This is rhetoric that is being ferociously challenged by movie executives who see AI as a cheaper alternative that can churn out the same quality results. Many writers have walked out over issues regarding their pay, and AI’s rise has come at an unwelcome time for many.

According to some experts, AI content writing and creation could be automated entirely within the space of half a century. Where this leaves artistic creation and authentic expression is a difficult question.

The main battle will be balancing the social and economic costs of increasing AI involvement in script writing and analysis. Other film production companies will begin to use AI, and without potential subsidies or incentives to support the use of human scriptwriters, we could end up in a spiralling situation.

 

3. Generating CGI

Of all the integrations we will list today, CGI could be the industry with the least human impact. Movie executives, CGI experts and designers use AI to enhance the quality of CGI, but it still requires human oversight. AI is still a long way off from understanding the nuances of CGI, and this is evident if you’ve come across any entirely AI-generated clips, especially some of the ones on YouTube.

Artificial intelligence streamlines both talents rather than replacing CGI experts, ultimately leading to a stronger final product. CGI in film is a great way to highlight the benefits of AI and the fact that it’s not necessarily here to take over.

 

4. Location scouting

Identifying film locations was a much more costly and time-consuming process prior to the rise of the internet. The availability of Google Earth and 3D image-based maps has meant that location scouts can now pick destinations and shortlist countries simply based on a few hours of research on the internet.

Obviously, when it comes to the logistics of shooting a film in a different country, this is where many location scouts will earn their keep. However, AI now runs off sophisticated prompts, so it has started to impact film significantly. For now, it’s being used as a tool to assist location scouts. However, as the prompts become more detailed and the technology continues growing in sophistication and scope, there could be a switch toward giving AI more free reign and taking many of the decisions out of the hands of location scouts to cut costs.

AI programs can create complex responses based on hundreds of different criteria. As they become more sophisticated and streamlined, they’ll be able to rank locations holistically, ranging from climate to terrain to the length of time needed to shoot.

As the increasing innovation of AI land management tools means that this information will be more detailed and easier to access, this could be one of the most significant AI-based changes we see in film, especially in the short term. Location scouts will still be needed, but AI could free up a lot of the initial work and time it takes to find and travel to suitable locations.

 

5. Casting and auditioning

If you’re an actor or actress, it might be bizarre and even more daunting to imagine walking into a casting room and having to impress a robot. Casting directors are more attuned to the subtleties of human emotion and acting, but given that recent integrations range from AI being able to read the quality of prompted facial expressions, accent control and voice diction and volume, it can identify the pros and cons that a performer brings to the table.

Once it collates this information, it then provides a detailed analysis of what each person could bring to the role or who the best option would be. Casting directors inevitably have the final say, but it’s a unique way to cast people in a film that is proving helpful. AI essentially brings in a third party with no human bias that can feed directly off the data and the audition quality while avoiding subconscious elements that creep into decision-making.

This is AI’s main power — it aims to iron out the small human mistakes that can occur at these levels. As long as the overall impact is positive, AI will become a commanding presence in film over the next few decades.