AI in Filmmaking: Will we still have jobs in 5 years?
Over the past 15 years as a filmmaker, I have seen first-hand the impact of technology on the film industry in many inspiring ways, with camera technology, green screen, volume studios, and other mind-blowing post techniques available to skilled technicians with a home computer and the drive and motivation.
AI is now changing the landscape of filmmaking and it's something that needs to be talked about openly and honestly. In particular, the rise of prompting technology, ‘Text to Video’ has many of us wondering if we'll still have jobs in a few years.
The truth is, AI has already made significant inroads in the film industry. From creative writing to CGI, AI is increasingly being used to reduce costs and time for many creative and non-creative production tasks. If we think about what creativity is, it's often a process, and yes sometimes it's instinctual, but creativity is the ability to think of new, unique ideas by linking existing ideas or concepts together. The process usually involves learning about something, letting your mind wander, having a sudden moment of insight, and then refining your idea to make it better. I believe this is basically what GPT4 is doing, and that it is, in fact, creative, as it uses existing ideas, and it has access to a vast amount of data and makes new concepts from them. The multi-modal capabilities are simply incredible.
As a Creative Producer, I understand the importance of the human touch in filmmaking. Creativity, emotion, and intuition are essential components of the filmmaking process. Although I can imagine a future where AI can replicate this, and very well. After all, filmmaking is an industry based on replicating human emotion for people to watch at home or in the cinema and feel something. I think this is still some way off and I'm not sure if it will ever be independent of human assistance.
In the medium term, it’s important to recognise that AI is already, and will become more and more relevant in the filmmaking process, with Language Models (LM’s) evolving at exponential rates. What is ‘exponential’? As a thought experiment, if you fold a piece of paper only 103 times it will become larger than the observable universe! We are already on our exponential AI journey, so we are about to see unfathomable increases in power and what we call intelligence.
Currently, AI can be a useful tool in the pre-production phase of filmmaking. For example, AI can analyse data and identify trends, for example in film sales estimates, which can help filmmakers make better strategic decisions. It’s also starting to automate less creative tasks like scheduling and budgeting, freeing up more time for us human filmmakers to focus more on the creative aspects of filmmaking.
In the post-production phase, AI can be used to semi-automate tasks such as basic colour correction, audio processing, and even editing. The automated multi-cam editing had everyone excited and freaking out and we’re going to see more insane moments in the future of AI tech disrupting many parts of the film industry and in my opinion all industries. Wonderdynymics release their very powerful tool to replace any human actor with a 3D model that mimics all movements including facial expressions perfectly. Adobe released Firefly, Runway is constantly updating their offerings, as the list grows longer each week of very useful tools.
However, it's important to remember that AI is not a replacement for human creativity and intuition, yet, although it is an amazing assistant. AI can generate videos based on text inputs, with varying results. We know the evolution of prompt to image, that soon it can get very good, very fast. For now it cannot fully capture the nuance and emotion that comes from human experience. The human touch is essential to making great films that resonate with audiences.
As an industry, we need to be prepared to adapt to new technologies and find ways to use them to our advantage. This means investing in training and education to stay ahead of the curve. Filmmakers need to have a solid understanding of AI and how it can be used to enhance their work.
AI is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that has the potential to revolutionise the film industry. As filmmakers, we need to be prepared to adapt to new technologies and find ways to use them to our advantage. The future of filmmaking is exciting, and I'm excited to see where AI takes us.