At this year’s Oscar’s, Denmark’s Another Round won Best International Feature Film Oscar, as well as a Best Director nomination for Thomas Vinterberg. Considering all its success, of course Hollywood has plans to remake it in English. Because there’s still a bizarre stigma over international films. But that might be a thing of the past soon. Not because people are finally going to get over their aversion to subtitles; but because deepfake technology can now be used to match lips to dubbed dialogue.
London-based tech startup Flawless (which we first heard about at DesignTAXI) has launched TrueSync, a “neural network enabled filmmaking” tool designed to make film translations more seamless. The company says it’s “the world’s first system” to use Artificial Intelligence to create “perfectly lip-synced visualisations in multiple languages.”
This is the latest in deepfake technology, and it really does work. Flawless’ sample videos show how they can make an actor’s lips match the language change for any movie. That way you will see “all the nuance and emotions of the original material” without being distracted by the actor’s lips not matching the sound coming from them. It also means you can elect not to watch in subtitles without dealing with distracting dubs.
It's been a few years in the making. We'd like to thank the entire Flawless team for getting us to our full commercial launch. Special thanks to our collaborators in science and The Max Planck Institute for Infomatics in Germany.— Flawless (@Flawlessai) May 3, 2021
We're pleased to release the Flawless showreel... pic.twitter.com/QVtwMPMLXf
On one hand, this is another troubling sign of the future that awaits us. If you can perfectly match someone’s lips to any dialogue, someday soon it could be nearly impossible to know which videos are real and which ones are fake. But Flawless says their intentions are pure. They want to make more movies available to more people. The company writes:
“Previous forms of dubbing and subtitling have proven undesirable for the majority of audiences. Often damaging and degrading the content through script changes and loss of sync. These problems create a barrier of entry to otherwise quality material. Our process untaps the films true potential, retaining all the quality and immersion of the original. This uplift in potential audience drastically increases its given value.”
Parasite‘s success suggests that subtitles may not be a huge deterrent for U.S. audiences. But if this AI stops Hollywood from totally remaking good foreign films? Well, we’ll drink to that.