Mark Murphy, director, graduated from film school in 1996, promptly embarking on his first directing job with the short film The Untitled, a 30-minute long film starring Sean Chapman, Robert Pickup and Normal Pace that was picked up by ITV. Mark Murphy, Solar Productions’ company director, leads a company that specialises in film, television and corporate videos, creating unique videos for a diverse range of clients, from cinema to the corporate world.
This article will look at the increased adoption of AI in filmmaking, exploring the pros and cons.
Today, virtually every industry is being transformed by technological innovation, with advancements like AI and automation paving the way for a complete overhaul of processes, making them faster and more streamlined, efficient and cost effective.
In movie production, AI is influencing the way that films are produced and experienced, not only facilitating faster production times but also enhancing interactivity between moviemakers and audiences, making it easier than ever before to create great visual content.
Nevertheless, as Mark Murphy indicates, people are concerned that AI is going to put them out of work. In America, strikes from the writers of the Guild of America are raising concerns about two things. First, writers are worried about not being paid residuals by streaming services, and second, they are concerned that their jobs may not be safe if studios decide to use a bank of computers to write scripts rather than relying on human writers.
Mark Murphy explains that he recently asked an AI app to create an exciting new superhero, and it came up with the character Lightning Strike. It also created an origin story, presenting Lucas Jackson, an ordinary electrical engineer who worked in a power plant. During a severe thunderstorm, an accident occurred when a massive bolt of lightning struck the power plant. Lucas miraculously survived the explosion but was forever changed. The electricity coursing through his body fused with his DNA, bestowing upon him incredible powers and turning him into Lightning Strike.
The AI app came up with an assortment of superpowers for Lightning Strike, including:
- Electricity energy absorption, enabling Lightning Strike to absorb electricity from any source
- Electromagnetic sensory perception, helping him to perceive electromagnetic fields
- Electrical healing, allowing him to heal both himself and others
- Electrokinesis, enabling Lightning Strike to generate, manipulate and discharge electricity at will
- Technopathy, enabling him to override and control complex machinery
The AI app also addressed other aspects of the storyline, including coming up with a personality for Lightning Strike and providing an overview of his costume and appearance. In addition to his backstory, the AI app also created an arch-nemesis for the superhero: Surge, a character who has similar powers but uses them for destructive and selfish purposes rather than to protect his home city like Lightning Strike.
The staggering thing about all of this is that the AI app came up with all of these facets of the character and plot in the space of less than a minute. The story may not be original, or indeed particularly good, but as Mark Murphy points out, it could quite possibly sell.
Pressed further, the AI app came up with a scene, again in less than a minute. Mark Murphy describes this as ‘painfully horrible’. Nevertheless, as Mark Murphy acknowledges, this is only the start of AI. Where the technology will be in two, three or ten years’ time is anyone’s guess.
Since the early 2000s, filmmakers have been utilising machine learning and AI tools, enabling them to create computer-generated images and add special effects. Popular films like The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogy leaned heavily on AI to bring their fantastical stories to life.
Over the space of more than two decades, AI tools have come to play an integral role in filmmaking, with directors relying on them for a variety of different tasks, from special effects to facial recognition technology. AI’s capabilities have also been explored as part of the plot of several movies, including Star Wars, The Terminator and 2001: A Space Odyssey, all of which explore the possibility of robots and AI developing human-like characteristics, enabling them to feel, think and act autonomously.
Moving forward, ever-advancing AI technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing algorithms are predicated to play an ever-increasing role in filmmaking. As these technologies become more sophisticated, they will open up new opportunities, enabling filmmakers to explore the impact of intelligent machines on society.
As Mark Murphy suggests, AI is going to be a mainstay in people’s lives, and movies will have to reflect that. AI has had many positive effects on the movie industry, enabling filmmakers to create enhanced visuals and increase efficiency. Nevertheless, there is mounting concern among some circles that increased AI adoption could culminate in a lack of the human touch in developing characters and writing entire scripts.