An exciting prospect is on the horizon for fans of world cinema, but ethical AI questions are also being raised.
UK company Flawless sprang to prominence during the release of last year’s Fall, a thriller set atop a rickety tower that two plucky climbers find themselves trapped atop. The film itself was a fun thrill ride and a sequel has since been set into motion since it hit Netflix and made a real splash.
However, one other story that emerged from Fall's release was the contribution of UK artificial intelligence company, Flawless, whose proprietary AI technology allowed the filmmakers to remove expletives emitted by the actors when Fall’s producers decided to aim for a wider age certificate. You can read about that here.
Now Flawless is aiming to its technology to make an abundance of foreign cinema more accessible to audiences by using its deepfake-style systems to re-dub films into different languages. This will essentially make each converted film appear like it was made in that specific language.
Scott Mann, who is the co-founder of the company (and the director of Fall), has said about the proposal: “there is an abundance of world-class cinema yet to be unlocked, and we are thrilled to be able to leverage our technology… to help these titles reach the global audiences they deserve. We look forward to demonstrating the immense potential of this model in Cannes, setting the stage for even greater growth.”
It certainly sounds like a great idea to widen access to foreign cinema, although as is usually the case with AI, there is an ethical question. The process will use new dialogue recorded by actors and any changes in lines or words due to translation will appear like the original actor on screen has said them. This is obviously not the case with existing dubbing, where the process is clearly visible.
Still, this could be a real win for a certain bracket of world cinema fans, so we’ll be watching to see how things develop.
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