Gawd damn, this is serious corporate dystopia right out of Cyberpunk / Blade Runner.
I really wish there weren't so many articles that just demanded the use of the 'Spawn of Satan' icon.
Hollywood's top labor union for media professionals has alleged that studios want to pay extras around $200 for the rights to use their likenesses forever. That would allow the studios to recreate those background actors using generative AI as necessary, whenever they want, rather than rehire the workers. The likenesses would …
[Big Media, Inc. Memorandum]
From: CEO Burns
To: BMI Board Members
Since we had to walk back the "your face is ours in perpetuity for ~$200.00" contract term, I propose an alternative: that we scan faces from films of actors and actresses to whom we no longer owe residuals, and feed those into our background-actor animation/manipulation software. A zero-dollar payout is even better for us than $200.00 payout.
Oh, they probably already can. This is a smoke screen, a way to legitimize the output of their generative models, in the face of the training data for such models becoming more and more scrutinized for copyright breaches. So, more like:
"See, see, this one person gave us the go-ahead on this output! Never mind the mounds of copyrighted data used to train the model, and absolutely necessary to produce this output! "
Sure. I wouldn't give them the time of day either. Unfortunately there are potential reasons to boycott most or all of the big-media conglomerates these days. I'm staying away from Warner Brothers Discovery after Zaslav's massive act of vandalism.1 Once in a great while I watch something on Prime but I'm seriously thinking of boycotting them, given Amazon's generally repulsive business practices. Disney is pretty awful too, particularly with their continued abuse of IP law for their own benefit and against others'. There's some decent imported content but in the US the conglomerates are buying up all the import-reselling streaming services.
Truth is I don't watch television much any more, and I suspect it will be less and less as time goes on.
It's not like there was some golden age of ethical studios and producers, of course, but I'm tired of participating in it. At least with books2 there's a dribble of money going to the creators.
1And, I suppose, because he and his company are generally assholes. Rebranding HBO – the original subscription TV service in the US, a significant historical legacy – as "Max" just because they can is typical of their "cheap and stupid content for cheap and stupid viewers" philosophy, which of course is right out of the Discovery playbook. A plague on the lot of them.
2Conventional books, with a single or sometimes two authors, or the occasional collection, where I have some decent evidence about the provenance and confirmation that the authors are real people.
It would be a lot easier to just wait for not famous faces in TV and film to pop their clogs and build the models from their old works.
The ones who haven't set up massive trusts to argue that their likeness is protected until the Disney limitations run out.
But as for you suggestion, why invoke AI (with or without scare quotes)?
We already have good enough rigging for human form models in CGI and can create models to wrap onto those, giving us the monsters, Ultron to Gollum. Even if we still need to have Andy Serkis's students doing motion capture, two hours of "walking on city street" can be reused for background extras. Generating coverings for those rigs doesn't need anything AI or "AI", in fact you'd be better off without: less chance of being sued "because you obviously used my likeness in the training", as opposed to "nah, we just threw dice and fed it into the body generator; you aren't really unique, get over yourself" and use the existence of lookey-likey agencies as proof of that.
"Actually, I suspect that the next step will be to use "AI" to generate realistic, high quality models of non-existant people, and then use those as "actors". It's not possible right now, but it has to be around the corner."
That's been possible for still images for years now. I sent Cory Doctorow a story seed based on that since I think it would make great sci-fi since I'm not a very good writer. My premise was based on a generated image that looks to a human just like a real person, but to a machine/facial recognition as a completely different 'person'.
To go from still non-people to video is just computing time and a good set of tools.
Real people in massive crowd scenes have been a rarity since Ben Hur (ah, the glory days of Samson and Delilah and that flood scene...).
The elephants were walking in a ring around the camera, with set dressers throwing different blankets over them.
And would you believe that most of the cityscape backgrounds you've been watching aren't real either?
Good old Uncle Travelling Matte.
>The elephants were walking in a ring around the camera, with set dressers throwing different blankets over them.
Terry Pratchett references this in Moving Pictures where movie makers handle the fact they only had a single camel by getting the group of bandits to ride in a single file in front of the camera.
It would certainly explain the current trend for Hollywood churning derivative dross.
This is the problem, and it's nothing new. There's an old SF story that I'm pretty sure is called "Out of Copyright" where a bunch of famous actors find themselves resurrected in the future inside artifical bodies. Then grumbling about how their rights are abused. But thanks to technology, I can't find who wrote that, or when cos it's a pretty common search phrase. AI sucks.
Now, we have the technology to digitally de-age actors, or just copy their likeness onto someone else's body. Probably with a rather unequal split between the performers. A lot of the rest I think is the age old problem of risk vs reward and how residuals should be reformed, plus of course Hollywood accounting. It seems entirely fair that the contributors should be rewarded for success, but often it seems they're rewarded for failiure. So a fixed royalty for either writers or actors for some of the dross from Amazon, Disney and Netflix seems a bit unreasonable. They again, the unions have a very valid point that the turkey producers are extremely coy about how well shows like Rings of Power, Wheel of Time, Air, She Hulk etc etc actually performed.
But that's also a challenge with both sharing rewards, and blame. An actor or extra may have given their best performance, but the writing sucked. I kinda wonder if a 'simple' share system would work better, with everyone in the production given.. well, equity. It kinda works that way with productions being set up as SPVs, but calculating the dividends due would be subject to the usual risks with Hollywood accounting.
There's a lot to be said for replacing the star actor with software.
Get Andy Serkis to do the actoring covered in dots and then render any real or virtual actor over the top.
You can add/remove skin tone to suit different markets
If your leading man gets caught "bumping into choirboys" you can just re-render the Usual Suspects with less problematic leads
You can regularly update old good movies rather than having to remake them or make shitty sequels
You can sell special editions: Raiders of the Lost Ark with Tom Seleck, Jaws with Robert Redford and Steve McQueen
There's a lot to be said for replacing the star actor with software.
Get Andy Serkis to do the actoring covered in dots and then render any real or virtual actor over the top.
It's already been done-
Where a lot of de-aging was used as well as making a 'fake' Edward Furlong, and from 2013-2015. Which also had a bunch of uncanny valley issues, like John Connor's look, or Arnies. We know he doesn't look like that now. Or there's the alleged additional movies from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both I guess examples of Hollywood creating problems for themselves. The Terminator is a cyborg, so shouldn't need to age and it could be wearing any skin, but we expect it to have a likeness of Arnie. Or by choosing to set Raiders in the past, they needed to create a fake Harrison. Actors age, why not write an age appropriate story, especially if the intent is to hand over the reins to the franchise? Then being Hollywood, turn it into a 'strong female lead'. But Tomb Raider.
Or maybe Hollywood should just stop milking franchises, tell good stories and stay out of politics. Actors have kind of created this problem for themselves by allowing studios to fake them. Plus trying to fool consumers by pulll Roger Rabbits out of hats and giving us combinations of live action and animation starring likenesses of characters we remember.
But as the genie's out of the bottle, it's bound to get worse. Actors on strike again? No problem, we'll cast out of the image library and let the animators work. Actors can still try to negotiate image rights and royalties, but if they didn't read the contract, that's their problem. Extras could be paid much the same way, ie $200 for the scan and mo-cap, then per-diem based on how many days a physical extra would be expected to be on set for the production.
"The Terminator is a cyborg, so shouldn't need to age and it could be wearing any skin, but we expect it to have a likeness of Arnie."
Bit off topic, but since T101 is "living tissue over a cybernetic skeleton", one could expect the living tissue to act exactly like living tissue and age. Of course I agree that in principle the cyborg could have anyone's face, wouldn't have to be Arnie. In this case one could consider the 'in-world' hypotheses that (a) the cyborgs are made in an identical production run, not 1-off custom made so they all look the same and/or (b) the living tissue comes from a single source DNA so all the models look the same
"where a bunch of famous actors find themselves resurrected in the future inside artifical bodies"
Babylon 5, Season 4, Episode 22: "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"
Already been done. LOL
And the AI turns on their creators in that too! In a spectacularly rewarding way :)
Let the discourse begin!
I'm pretty sure the book or short story I read pre-dated both. I think it had conversations between actors like Cagney and Monroe, so might try to search for it again.. But it's why I love SF because of the tendency to predict the future, even if that was a dystopian future and a warning. The extras issue still seems solvable by creating a virtual days on set rate and a royalty system. It's not like the entertainment industry doesn't know and ruthlessly exploit DRM and asset management anyway.
Downside is extras would get less exposure to the industry. I got roped into being an extra a couple of times and it was interesting. Got to do a lot of waiting, but a bit of a peek behind the organised chaos that is movie making. FX are already widely used to create crowds, but I think there'll be a need for 'real' extras in a lot of scenes for a long while yet. Then again, the way movies get filmed in jerk-o-vision with a minimum of 1,000 edits per 'action' scene, who'll know?
"I propose an AI to replace Hollywood moguls. Scan them once, give them $200 and see how they like the idea."
Probably the easiest job in Hollywood to replace with AI
Check list of previous blockbusters
If release date < today - 10 years then order remake or reboot
Can't AI already generate faces from a collection.
I believe that only delivers faces that look like they have been created by AI.
Real nature has an element of randomness in it that our perception is somehow able to react to.
The whole "us/not-us" paradigm really needs to be better understood before we go any further with AI. Because already it's starting to irritate the "not us" mechanism that eventually leads to full-scale "we need to eliminate that other tribe" decision.
Technically, you are unlikely to see the same face twice, but you are very likely to see similar faces only different in certain features.
Also, that's a static image. A convincingly moving one is hard to do, even without an AI-actor. See the wonky physics in a quite large number of blockbusters for reference.
With the plan they have for one day of filming they would be using AI to make them move "convincingly".
This is for people in the background, while someone walking on the other side of the street when people in the movie are having a conversation at a table on a sidewalk diner. No need for physics, wonky or otherwise, when people are walking, standing, sitting, in a car driving by and so forth - and even if they don't look perfect they are blurred in the background of a movie frame anyway.
AI face generation is easily good enough, I'm not sure why they want this clause to hire people and scan them other than maybe they want to hedge their bets. If I was the producers I'd say "OK fine we will remove that clause" and rather than hiring extras for a day just not hire them at all. That's assuming the AI creation of background people is cheaper than hiring them. Maybe it isn't today, but if not when it is no one will hire extras except for directors who are old school or want to go "retro" in their production - I imagine before long hearing about a new film that was made entirely without CGI/AI will seem pretty novel. Kind of like someone making a black and white film in the 70s and 80s after everyone had moved on to color.
What happens when an AI face looks like yours? You sue.
This $200 proposal works around the inevitable likeness lawsuit.
We know that poor people will sign anything for $200... Predators B' Prey'n
Once you get a few magic faces for $200, you can animate them and make them cost free actors... Cha-Ching$!
To be honest, I'd do it for $200 as I have no aspiration at all to ever be an actor so to me it's basically a free $200.
What happens when an AI face looks like yours? You sue.
On what basis? If I saw a movie with an actor who was my doppelganger do I get to sue because they used someone who looks like me? If they can demonstrate the process "this is how our fake faces were created" and that's how the AI face that looks like me was created I would have no recourse.
The only people with a possible recourse would be public figures who are already known. I mean, if you let an AI face generator loose for a few weeks of CPU time maybe you'd eventually come up with a Samuel L Jackson and a Meryl Streep. Just saying "but the process was random" wouldn't cut it if the choice that was made between the billions of faces was not.
There's a few thousand photos of most people knocking about on the Internet.
If you discovered that the background characters were computer-generated yet one of them looked exactly like you, the onus would be on the studio to prove they hadn't stolen your likeness.
(Stolen is the wrong word, but they want to use it so I will)
> To be honest, I'd do it for $200 as I have no aspiration at all to ever be an actor so to me it's basically a free $200.
And when you - oops, just your likeness - become well-known as "The Face(!) Of Pteparation H" would you regret not getting residuals? Or even free samples (does wonders for tired eyes).
I'm not sure why they want this clause to hire people and scan them other than maybe they want to hedge their bets
Showing you used some likeness you licensed for $200 is much cheaper than trying to prove in court that you used a machine-generated likeness that just happens to resemble the plaintiff.
In the instance of background extras with non-speaking roles the technology has already surpassed the issue, "uncanny valley" problems with movement and expression are obvious in main characters who are in close-up but for these $200 a day extras the game is already over. The only reason to keep employing them is that, for now (but not much longer) I suspect it costs more than $200 to animate via CGI than just film the real person.
If the studios are smart they will agree to pay $200 for the day's work that does not license the likeness in perpetuity knowing that digitally re-mapping randomized AI-created faces onto motion captured extras will bypass the re-use regulation anyway (how do you prove that your motion captured performance lies under the CGI background character in some other movie ?)
It's more a CGI problem than an AI one. They can generate full random bodies, some even have 6 fingers.... Text to speech is getting better. But the problem is CGI movement. The term is Uncanny Valley. CGI movement processes aren't currently advanced enough to fool people. That's why green screens are used to capture movement and CGI is laid over top. There is going to come a time when the CGI tools have captured enough actual human movement to be able to build believable profiles of humans. And then we're going to see movies wholly created in environments like Unreal Engine and populated with realistic CGI characters.
AI isn't really a factor with that, it's just the new, hot term. Movies are scripted, so you don't really need an autonomous character. Where the studios could use AI is to create characters with specific traits and mannerisms that would remain consistent. Example, reboot Pirates of the Caribbean and create an AI character of Captain Jack Sparrow. Then you would have that IP to 'star' in sequels without concern of an actor's real life threatening the franchise. (not to mention saving millions of dollars of production costs) You'd also have that construct that could be carried over to other mediums. Video games, immersive web portals.
Davy Jones was mostly CGI he looked fine so we're pretty close to where we could do an AI Captain Jack. They need motion capture for actors to do stuff like facial expressions and especially the eyes. Once AI/CGI can handle that, we will start seeing movies made entirely on a computer, with no actors, sets, or locations to worry about. That's the future the actors fear, but it is coming regardless - I don't expect an actor who is in his 20 or 30s to be able to make a career out of it. There won't be much work by the time he's in his 50s and 60s.
The actors know this and that's why residuals for streaming is one of the biggest things they are fighting for. If they are in something today that stands the test of time is still watched 20-30 years on like Friends or whatever they want to see some of that long tail income rather than have every penny go to the producers.
Sure there are limits to today's technology. But tomorrow's will be able to replace live human actors and at some point no one and I mean NO ONE will be able to tell the difference. The only way that doesn't completely replace human actors is if moviegoers are unhappy enough about that development to vote with their wallets and preferentially patronize movies with real actors.
I could easily see something like that happening, but could easily see it happening mostly for people over a certain age. Younger people (Gen Z certainly, millennials probably) would just see it as the next logical step down the technological path for movies. People didn't rebel against the ever more ridiculous CGI stunts in the Fast n Furious movies, or even movies that were basically all CGI like Avatar (though in that case of course with real actors via motion capture)
Since it is the younger audience that makes or breaks a blockbuster's box office, I don't think such boycotts would be very successful. We might even see a new generation of "movie stars", who are pure AI creations. Movie stars live a fantasy life for people into celebrity culture, so it isn't much of a change for the movie stars themselves to be a fantasy. But even if movie stars ceased to be a thing, there would still be live musical performances, live sports, etc. and of course "influencers" to grab attention from those who follow celebrity culture.
Heck, movies going all CGI might breathe new life into Broadway and the theater experience - it would be the only way to see real humans acting in person just like it was before technology brought us movies and the movie theater.
People will always want to watch actual people.
Motion capture is just an evolution of costume and makeup, going beyond what's physically possible or (more often) practically affordable.
The viewers know and care that there's still a real person under the virtual makeup - otherwise Andy Serkis would not be famous.
That is more to do with needing an extra order of magnitude of components in the skin, with variation of tone and muscle, making the CGI model more complex. Nothing AI about it. Except that calculating such large models needs all the GPUs, just like creating and using the varieties of neural net models does.
Maybe a net model would be a good way to generate a few thousand such complex CGI models, but once that was done just keep on reusing 'em.
 or maybe it'd be better to use an improved physics model? But that would take, you know, cleverness compared to just flinging a net at the problem.
Start training an AI with cgi capture data (just like they do with image and text data) and sure, clever systems are spitting out belivable animation.
Problem happens when AI produced cgi is fed back into the AI and you get iterative decline. They're already seeing it happen with text and image 'sources'.
Birthright should bring an automatic personal copyright to likeness/image/voice/gait/etc. and if some AI hoovering sucks up your image, they need to pay to use it in training/production/display.
《The whole "us/not-us" paradigm really needs to be better understood before we go any further》
Isn't this the basis of a whole lot of contemporary problems? eg Do "not-us" lives matter?
Of course understanding the basis of the "us/not-us" dichotomy at the fundamental level and the possibilty of its being biological and not entirely cultural, might undermine a few belief systems.
As the "Dad's Army" Scotsman, Pte Frazer would have said "we're doomed."
https://youtu.be/sxqvwkmTNy8 (Mostly for left ponders,)
It's already happening.
It's called "Face Recognition Software". And here in England, it is being "piloted".
Without telling us.
So, there is a database just waiting to be "compromised". And to will happen.
I feel sorry for those "extras". They are fucked. That's the American way.
> It's called "Face Recognition Software"
Facial recognition software does not store your entire face: it does a load of analysis and generates a mathematical "fingerprint" which it can use when analysing other images. It's an incredibly lossy process and there's no way to retrieve the original data.
It's much the same way as the cameras in an average-speed zone track your car: they take a photo and extract your licence plate details from it; a single low-resolution photograph and your registration number is nowhere near enough to be able to reproduce your car, or pick up little details like the dent in the rear bumper from that pesky low wall at your cousin's house...
From a technical point of view, you could. However, it is illegal to film someone without their consent, so if they saw themselves in the background, they could potentially cause a lot of trouble for the studio. It might be difficult to actually sue the studio, but if the fact they did it went viral, it could tank the profits of whatever film uses the scanned extras.
Filming is one thing – but just because it's a public place does not give you the right to film whatever and whomever you want, which is why there are things called permits – but publishing is another. As long as something "is in the background" you'll usually be okay but if you film someone doing something you will very much need their permission to publish it.
At least, not in the UK.
In The UK you can film anywhere in public (note: a shopping mall isn't public, much of Liverpool city centre isn't public, great chunks of London aren't public in this sense, Lulworth Cove & surrounding land isn't public).
You, the photographer, not the subject of your photograph, hold the copyright to those images/that footage and, consequently, can do with them what you want.
As long as you are in a public space (as opposed to somewhere to which the public have access by payment or otherwise) no-one can legally stop you from filming or taking pictures (though, admittedly, that doesn't stop them using violence to enforce their legally incorrect opinion, so pick your fights wisely).
If you are in a non-public space you may be able to film/take photgraphs with permission/permit and with consequent restrictions placed on what you can do with the images (e.g. In Lulworth Cove & surroundings, the Weald estate grant you permission to take pictures as long as you don't sell them afterwards - at least that certainly used to be the case)
Heh - the only exception to the publishing thing is if you breach an individual's right to private life... so if you film someone famous doing something stupid regardless of the setting being in a public place you could be breaching their right to privacy. If you film joe blogs from down the road pulling wheelies down the road, you might not (unless he has plates on his bike in whch case you might..)
Still, in the end, it all boils down to how smart your legal representitive is and how deep your pockets are vs the same parameters for your potential opponent.
The core point how ever is in the UK you can film where ever and unless the person is regularly selling pictures of themselves (has established that their likeness has worth) then it's all fine.....
That being said taking pictures of random people and then re-creating those likenesses in a completely different setting (as far as I know) hasn't had a legal precedent set. I would hope that if that came about the various studio's would lose the case.
"Heh - the only exception to the publishing thing is if you breach an individual's right to private life... so if you film someone famous doing something stupid regardless of the setting being in a public place you could be breaching their right to privacy."
Nope, there is no legal expectation of privacy when in public. The whole tabloid industry is predicated on getting photos of famous people doing stupid things. Famous or not, doesn't matter. There aren't a separate set of laws for famous people (not officially).
"which is why there are things called permits"
Permits have nothing to do with 'rights'. It's a way for cities to control the disruption that filming can cause. If you are taking photos of a model on the beach in California, chances are that you won't get hassled if it's just you taking photos and a model. If you add assistants, makeup people, grips and are setting up lights, you will likely get asked about permits from a police officer that will know all about them (can't BS your way out of a fine). There's no necessity to have a permit to use or license the images. You should have a model release if you are using a model and a property release if you are filming an iconic building that is closely associated with a business. You don't need the release to make the image/video, but you may need it to license the image for other than editorial use.
Let's face it, it's not exactly the first time the people who actually produce the goods get told they have to work harder and longer to produce "value" and they face being sacked as executives seek "synergy" - all BS that simply boils down to "we're scraping the max out of the barrel and no, we're not going to share any of it with you". This is how functional companies get bought, leveraged to the hilt so they're loaded up with debt and when that's no longer serviceable because leaving any margin for resilience against the odd economic downturn isn't part of the plan, these people walk away with fat bonuses in their pocket - even when they screw up (and nobody ever had to hand back a bonus when things went wrong).
The whole banking mortgage scam was a prime example - not only did nobody go to jail but they even had the gall to still hand out bonus payments as if they were not responsible for the largest global financial meltdown since the Great Depression, all while people who actually worked to produce a working economy got shafted.
Farmers know that draining the soil too much leads to infertile land, but executives are still on the pillage and burn model despite clear evidence that being less greedy actually keeps the whole system alive and so leads to more profits, and sustainably so but no, that would be admitting they're going about it the wrong way. It would unhinge most of Wall Street, so it ain't gonna happen. You also see that with inventions when you try to get them funded - the first that will happen is some US VCs contacting you, offering you a pittance while they take the IP and the majority of the profits. They even act hurt that you want more or tell them to where to stick that proposal, knowing full well that in the course of executing the idea they will put a lot of effort into screwing you even out of that pittance.
Less greed would make for a far better society and more income for all, but it's apparently no longer possible to find people who see this, politicians included.
That's my rant quota for this week gone. Worth it.
True, but they only get away with it because consumers don't care. Employment rights, health and safety, etc. are really important when they apply to me and my job but who gives a shit when it comes to to the 12-year-old girls earning a couple of dollars a week to make clothes so cheap that people can afford to wear them once and then throw them away.
No one will boycott films made in this exploitative manner - at least, not enough people to make the studios think twice: witness Amazon. People don't care if their underpants are made in dangerous hell-holes by kids or if they're delivered by a driver who has to piss in a bottle and break the speed limit to get paid minimum wage, so they certainly aren't going to give a toss about American extras being exploited.
It's not that we can't afford it. It's that it would be too time consuming to know every detail about all the companies you do business with. The Amazon bathroom breaks for drivers is an extreme. They should probably just put RV toilets in their trucks. It would avoid drivers having to waste time to look for public restrooms or leaving their vehicles unattended while they use them.
But suppose you're unhappy with the Koch Brothers and want to avoid supporting Koch Industries. How many brands are you going to have to research? You'd have to avoid a lot of paper and wood products just from Georgia Pacific. And the CEO of Goya denies the 2020 election results. Hating your Bud Light, well just have a Corona Extra instead.
And if you want to avoid products manufactured in China, you just buy American brands, right? Except a lot of those brands were sold off when the businesses folded and now they're being manufactured all over the world. Bell and Howell comes to mind.
I have three different brands of cordless tools here; Black and Decker, Ryobi, and Milwaukee. B&D and Ryobi are made in China. Milwaukee doesn't say, but some of their tools are made in China. And the M12 battery cells "Made in Korea or Malaysia with additional processing in China".
Sometimes you just want to buy a new microwave. Or a thumb drive.
Admin here, I have given you a bit more quota. And, I'm not going to charge you for it. Not yet anyway. I'll do that later just when you are least expecting it and want to use any more of your quota. Reading the first word of this text implies your agreement with this.
P.S. your use of the word 'quota' is telling me that you are a fluent Latin speaker, how vulgar is irrelevant here, so I have changed your default language in all the apps on your computer and phone to Medieval Latin. Again, no charge.
I once started a company and tried to find in economic literature how much profit I should make. 5% of revenue? 8% of revenue? I couldn't find the answer anywhere, in any economics and management book.
Then one day I met this guy whom I asked the same question. His answer? "As much as possible!" You should try to squeeze every penny from your customers' pocket, no holds barred. This is what capitalism is all about, infinity greed. Greed is only limited by competition and if there is none industrialists will rip your wallet to pieces.
No point the horse has already bolted. I'm not saying they shouldn't try and do something about it but I'm not sure what they can actually do about it. I've seen quite a few fully generated faces. People have this inbuilt wish to show off the work they've created. A year ago or maybe a bit longer I would be able spot them 90% of the time. That's now down to about 30% for me anyway. All the markers are disappearing such how the light reflects, backgrounds and so on. People are also now working out how to put various flaws into the pictures because no one looks perfect and for me that was the key to spotting them.
Where does all this end? I'm not sure. TV and movies have been a little stagnant over the last few years with sequels and remakes and very rare original idea. Comic books and manga have nearly been rinsed along with historical events. Will this fix that? How can it come up with an original idea if the source is all the old ideas? We are almost at that point anyway because most films are not designed to entertain but to make money. I guess and this has been a surprise this will be the first industry to go fully automated whether they like it or not.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
Don't you quote bible verses at me. His main point was life is random and uncontrollable which is the literal opposite of what I said and doubly so when you take away the control of that randomness.
This comment was brought to you with actual randomness as to whether it actually makes sense or contradicts itself. Maybe the contradiction isn't a contradiction but a point in contradiction which would be a contradiction in itself. Pick that apart if you can. Oh and have an upvote because I thought what you said was actually quite clever.
Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
Is there really any quality consideration in the streaming business? People might have an Amazon Prime subscription even if they never use Prime Video? People would pay to see 10% of the content on Netflix content even if 90 % of the content is not good. So does quality matter in the streaming market?
Sorry to disagree with most here, but honestly I just see this as an evolution for the film industry. Just take a couple of Start Wars scenes for example - final scene of the original, they didn't hire a thousand extras to stand there in the the throne room, they hired a hundred, and simply used matte paintings for all the rest. Podracing scene in Phantom Menace the tens of thousands of spectators in the stands weren't hired extras, they were q-tips packed into a scale model. AI extras are just the next step in VFX.
Now don't get me wrong - I challenge anyone not to feel gutted at the story of Phil Tippett, and how his legendary stop-motion skills were made redundant almost overnight on Jurassic Park when the production team decided that computer animation was now "good enough" to create the dinosaurs, but that's the world we live in.
Are we now just a few more years away from being to tell an AI to "create me a 3-hour historical epic based on the journeys of Aeneas after the fall of Troy"? Very likely
Will most of us be amazed when watching such an AI creation? Very unlikely at the moment, but in 10 - 20 years? Maybe it will be hard to tell such a creation from the very best writing and acting of today. Maybe that will lead to the demise of studios completely - you'll just create your own content on demand. But very probably even if that does occur, many people will still want human written and acted content.
Just like the stop-motion animators, and a huge number of legacy IT skills that many of us are very familiar with, maybe many of the current roles in film and tv are destined to become niche in the future - still needed, no less worthy than they are now, and indeed maybe very highly in demand (and paid accordingly), but over time fewer people will retain them and other newer opportunities will arise.
Sorry, but that's just life...
In this context I am in awe of people who still prefer humans to do the acting. I'm not certain you'd have the same quality experience if James Cameron didn't stick people in a water tank or Tom Cruise dumped four consequentive motorcycles off a cliff in order to get it just right.
We may have AI, but when it comes to complex acting there's a lot more going on below the surface that we sense, but is not quite expressed. Personally I hope AI never gets there. It's possibly easy to emulate Arnie as a Terminator because his contribution is more dry humour than facial expression, but a lot of acting isn't like that and I think we haven't been dumbed down enough not to notice the difference. This is also not taking into account the story itself. Those who have tried ChapGPT will have already noticed it's not very good at long, complex and interwoven scenarios, the kind of things that need a large whiteboard just to plan. Left alone it makes a mess of things.
It can only lead to mediocrity - especially as 'AI' (it isn't really AI) proceeds to train itself on AI-output.
So, quite a lot of Hollywood is mediocre, you say. Well, yes. Making mediocre shows is how writers/actors/sfxers learned their trade. They hacked their way through the kind of pot-boilers that AI may now be able to replicate. But those learners will never have a chance to learn. There won't be the writers/actors/sfxers to make the important movies, the moving movies, the groundbreaking movies. They'll be (pretending to) flip burgers at McDonalds.
While I agree there's a difference between showing hordes of people in an army like in '300' where their face even on a 4K TV is only a few pixels, versus showing well enough that if that person said "hey I'm an extra in the latest Marvel movie, watch for me to be on my phone in the background by the subway entrance when Samuel L Jackson is getting out of his car" that you'd be able to recognize them.
What's really going to happen is that before long extras simply won't be needed/hired for any movie. Then it'll start to take over the work of credited actors who have a bit part, things that show in the credits like "Guy in Bar #2" or "Man who points and shouts". Unlike extras those people with the bit parts are part of SAG - maybe the largest part by number as a lot of people hoping to become actors start out with those bit parts and hope to get noticed. They're attempting to hold back the flood, but by focusing on having their own likenesses used they will just be encouraging use of AI to create fake people. Something it is already very good at, at least for still images. If I was an actor, even a major star, at age 25 today I would be looking to bank as much as I could in the next 10-15 years, and if that wouldn't be enough to start thinking about what my next career might be.
"Are we now just a few more years away from being to tell an AI to "create me a 3-hour historical epic based on the journeys of Aeneas after the fall of Troy"?"
Truer than you think. Pop music had a revolution where some self taught artists managed to create successful chart hits in their bedrooms using software on a laptop and maybe a couple of instruments. Self published eBooks are now a thing. I can see many of the stars with some cash in their back pockets bypassing the big studios and distributors altogether, and the best movies may be a matter of a tiny tight team of human talent plus modern AI tech.
The current strike may seem socially just, however will the strikers eventually go the way of the Luddites?
I thought that in return for selling your soul to the devil for all eternity you were supposed to get immense wealth (for a while) as this was the only thing good enough to tempt you into the Faustian bargain.
Turns out that things are so desperate nowadays that even $200 may be enough, although why anybody but the most desperate starving actor would ever agree to such a contract is beyond me. So, expect all movies in the future to feature nothing more than pained looking CGI characters who all look like junkies, alcoholics, etc.
Once the discussions get down to the fee, even with residuals, then it's a done thing.
Mind you, I wouldn't mind if they started with sport: replacing the likes of Chrisitan Ronaldo with a digital twin can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned! :-D
I'm almost sure the studio bosses could find people willing to do it for free if they search for those star wannabe stage hogs and stroke their ego.
"Do you have it in you to be the role model for a waiter (1) in our future block buster films? Sign up for an audition now"
(1)Other roles available
why anybody but the most desperate starving actor would ever agree to such a contract
That particular deal is for EXTRAS, not actors. It is like when a movie is filming in your town and a bunch of locals end up being extras in the background for scenes that are filmed on location. Most extras only do it once, unless there is a long running production (i.e. something like Walking Dead) where you might be regularly cast as an extra or unless you live in Hollywood and be a "regular" extra for studio filming (i.e. all the permanent outdoor sets they have that replicate parts of NYC, Paris, etc.)
So this is something that you or I would sign up to do, not an actual actor. Some people would enjoy becoming a "permanent extra" and looking for themselves in the background of any movie they watched the rest of the their life. The $200 would be gravy - I'm sure there would be people who would PAY $200 for that lol!
Wouldn't they have to be filming in a location that is regularly used for movies (i.e. big cities like Chicago, NYC, London, Paris) to have enough extras around for that? Because they sure as heck aren't going to pay for them to travel to somewhere they aren't. i.e. if I'm making Field of Dreams, I'm gonna need to find extras around that area in Iowa not pay for them to travel from halfway across the country.
They arrange travel in groups. E.g. They hire an agency in DeMoines and then bus the extras selected by the supporting actor casting agent (there's usually some requirement for extras, a bunch of Asians in rural Iowa would look a bit out of place).
But the extras casting agencies will often advertise locally for those people, who may have little to no experience, when the location shoot is somewhere "out of the way". We don't really get a lot of filming in our area, but when it does happen, it's "big news" locally and there's always interviews with people who signed up as extras for a few days. Some, but not all, will be students from one or more of the local universities on media studies courses, others will be just "random" people who thought it might be a fun few days work. For example, the Dunkirk beach scene for Atonement was filmed in Redcar not far from me and quite a number of extras where locals who'd never done that before. I think there was mention of some locals being involved in the latest Indiana Jones outing when they filmed up at Bamburgh Castle too.
So, it certainly does happen, but it probably heavily depends on the where the location shoot is happening. Most of the extras are just there as "set dressing" and don't need prior experience and probably come a lot cheaper than agency "pros" or, at worst, are "hired" by the agency on a one off basis.
For those who haven't seen Looker (it seems many haven't) the plot is that a corporation scams models into AI with the promise of a salary of 200K pa for as long as their image is used, but the don't actually want to pay the salary so they murder the models after they are scanned.
Don't want to worry any background actors or anything, but if the strike is successful and you subsequently become entitled to a salary for the use of your image...
Anything even partially generated by AI is no longer protected by copyright. Include software, movies, music, books, tv shows, everything.
Then we can get back to using AI for things to make life for everyone better, rather than dumbing the arts down to a bland, grey pap.
Is this proposal that different than how stock photography/video companies work with models, AFAIK they get paid a one off fee to pose for the content, sign a release form to say they are aware they have no rights over the images and then the company can sell those photos and videos again and again to whoever wants to buy them. And the models don't get to choose what website, video, magazine etc their image appears in.
Although $200 does seem to be a low ball amount for an industry that's worth billions of dollars. I bet the models who work for Shutterstock and other such companies get paid more than that for a photoshoot.
I think it's subtley different. Think about session musicians - they get paid a fixed rate for performing on, say, an LP. If the LP makes it huge then they don't get any more money, but that's the deal. This AI thing is like saying play some stuff, we'll pay you the session rate then replicate your playing style and ability and then use it instead of you in all our future new releases. So you're out of a job.
Sure but that's a single or set of images in specific poses, or a video sequence doing a specific thing. Want photos/video of the same model doing something different, well you got to hire them again, negotiate a new fee or continue at the previous rate, but the model still gets paid for each new shoot.
Scanning them into an AI system that can replicate and animate them in any setting, for the rest of time, completely bypasses that rehire. And that's what makes it so completely different. It's an abhorent money grab by producers that knowingly and intentionally shafts the extras. Pure greed. No more, no less.
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Back in 2016 a friend with a penchant for the stage picked up a gig as an extra in a major Hollywood film. The first requirement after signing all the disclaimers and releases was to go to a motion-capture studio and do conventional and green-screen 360° full-body motion capture.
The studio or production company owns all of that - his height and stride and crooked smile, the mild limp from the motorcycle incident - and the releases included signing away all rights to his own likeness and captured motion patterns.
During filming he got great reviews from the directors and a couple of the stars. Pretty neat, uplifting stuff, and a bunch of fun for him.
And not too long after the film landed in theaters and trickled down through all the other venues and vendors, my friend died.
On the upside, I might get to see him again - at least his digitally animated ghost - on the hypothetical big screen. Not sure what that will be like; melancholy, I'm guessing. On the downside, he left behind a wife with some disabilities who will receive nothing for his future "performances".
(Icon for "quiet on the set" and "action" and "cut" and all that. And maybe to loudly shout for equity in the movie business.)
The thought occurs that these kinds of studio shenanigans might generate a return to (local, in person) live action theatre as people seek for more authentic experience.
Similar to the increase of bands doing more concert tours due to not getting as much revenue from streaming compared to album sales.
Especially when you tie in things like the push for 'walkable' cities, live local, and reactions to the way gaming and social media has atomised the yoof making more in person activities necessary for society to get young people meeting one another again.
Of course, local/in person doesn't exactly scale well to make money from...
"Of course, local/in person doesn't exactly scale well to make money from..."
Depends on the expectations of the people involved. Theatre has been around for a very long time. It didn't fold because they weren't making enough money. Of course, touring theatre actors are probably not all going to be driving around in flash cars and living the high life.
> touring theatre actors are probably not all going to be driving around in flash cars and living the high life
What's with the touring, bring back the Rep!
They won't be driving flash cars either, but all the "An Audience With" shows in their later years will allow them to keep on making a living, by regaling us with stories of the landladies they all knew. Especially when you get "Together Again, The Cast Of TV's...": "You remember Bournemouth?" "Oh, no, don't! Her sausages, always like" (whole group laughs).
 for the youngsters, the theatres would have companies of players that, instead of touring one show all over the country, one or two nights apiece at each town, would stay put for an entire season. They had a repertory of plays (hence the Rep), a number of standards and then the new ones for that season, and they'd do them all in rotation. Generally rehearsing in the day for an evening performance (with a few matinees of the previous day's piece added, just to keep them exhausted). Standards, of course, meaning a lot of Shakespeare! When you went on holiday, the day was spent on the beach and in the evenings the kids would go to the flicks whilst parents and aunts would "get a bit of culture" with three plays over three nights. The Rep is where we got all our National Treasures from, Dame Judi and the like.
But you tell the youngsters this and they just won't believe you.
It wasn't much more than 100 years ago live theatre was a still thriving and provincial repertory companies fairly common.
So perhaps a need to see real actors might see a resurgence of live performance.
I don't imagine too many of hollywood's top billers passing an audition for one of Wilde's plays let alone something a bit more challenging ;)
I vividly recall a middle aged grader driver accidently watching a filmed performance of "The Importance of Being Ernest" and his being completely rivetted.
Perhaps audiences really do deserve better than the current studio pap.
The approach is wrong here. They need to gather a bunch of pictures of normal folk, license them, and then generate fake people. They can create their own AI generated movie stars complete with voices. And they won't go on strike... You just hire new programmers when they get to uppity... Like in the software industry.
They are picking the wrong fight.
Anyone who wants to the the sausage being made should watch "Wag the Dog". Its all old technology -- the movie's 25 years old -- but it shows how a convincing reality is created out of stock footage and some clever post processing (the production was for TV but these days "same thing").
What is possibly more scary is that the plot of this movie didn't center around entertainment but rather politics. Our leaders tend to be either vacuous nothings or manufactured personalities these days, both sorts being people who's job is to play a role, to sell a product to the masses.
The pay is far better than when I worked as an extra decades ago. The cost of CGI to replicate people may be more than just hiring a mob for the day and why would a studio want the likenesses of real people? Having worked as an extra, I could spot a bunch of extras I worked with in all sorts of other movies that filmed around the same time. I'm not certain that's a great thing for the studio as it's just like using the same actors over and over again for different characters in new movies.
Some of the hardest scenes to act in are the ones where the majority of the scene will be filled in later with computer effects. There's no feedback on set during the take and no spontaneity. Production companies don't pay extra for crowd noises and you won't get a union card unless you have distinct lines which means that instead of having to create sound effects, often times they can come from a group of extras. A cheer, groan, background mumbling or just fidgety human sounds you'll always get with a group of people is often a bonus. I can remember one movie where we were asked to pretend we were cheering without making much noise so they could get clean dialog from the main actors and after that we were asked to really cheer so they could get the audio and some groups of people in the stands being all happy and jumping up and down. I got $35 and a box lunch for those days.
There's no way I'd sign a contract for any company to use my likeness without my direct consent and knowledge each and every time. I'm sure that there are plenty that would happily take the money and consider it as free cash, but that's why we have laws and regulations on the books to keep people from doing stupid things. One thing that wouldn't fly would be a blanket release for sensitive topics. If you/your likeness are being used in conjunction with a sensitive topic such as drug abuse or a medical condition, you have to sign a special release where you acknowledge that use each time. A more general release can be executed with a production company but they still often ask for a new one for each new production just to keep all of the paperwork neat and tidy.
this may be one of the reasons why the US Supreme Court recently ruled against the Andy Warhol estate that Warhol's painting of a photo of Prince was a violation of the Photographer's copyright (as it was used for Financial Gain).
I am sure the copyright cases against OpenAI by Sarah Silverman et al. will be citing this case.
"this may be one of the reasons why the US Supreme Court recently ruled against the Andy Warhol estate that Warhol's painting of a photo of Prince was a violation of the Photographer's copyright (as it was used for Financial Gain)."
Financial gain would have no bearing on whether there was an infringement or not, only, perhaps, how much the award would be. Andy got popped a couple of times for using other people's work and then would just ask for permission. Nearly every time he'd get it for free or maybe just a signed print. People realized that the notoriety or the print would be worth good money. The Campbell soup cans are iconic at this point so there's no reason they would have said no. Since Andy isn't around to sign a print for the photographer, the estate should have made darn sure there was a license in place or made a deal with the photographer for those rights. If they couldn't come to terms, the painting should go in a box for a few decades and be worth even more for the seclusion.