- Title: Deepfake technology enables Bruce Willis to star in Russian TV advert
- Date: 21st September 2021
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (RECENT - AUGUST 31, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CHMIR WORKING ON LAPTOP (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CEO OF DEEPCAKE COMPANY, MARIA CHMIR, SAYING: "If we speak about a high-resolution video, with TV-quality of the picture, with lots of characters and some movement in the shots, not just static poses, but some activity as well, some interactions between the characters, then these videos in the case of our company Deepcake, are not easy to make." CHMIR'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CEO OF DEEPCAKE COMPANY, MARIA CHMIR, SAYING: "We get involved quite early in the content production chain - as early as the scriptwriting. We review the storyboards for facial angles, how the light will be organised in the frame, as well as how close the shots will be. Every technology, including face-swapping that Deepcake does, has certain restrictions."
- Embargoed: 5th October 2021 13:09
- Keywords: Bruce Willis Deepfake technology Russia TV AD
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Europe,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA004EVNXBPP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Strapped to a ticking bomb with no way to escape, the appearance of Bruce Willis in a Russian telecoms advert looks similar to the actor's usual Hollywood performances, apart from one crucial detail - it isn't him. It's an authorised deepfake.
Russian firm Deepcake used an artificial neural network to impose his image onto the face of a Russian actor of similar age and appearance. Starring alongside actor and television personality Azamat Musagaliyev, the two manage to defuse the bomb.
Telecoms company Megafon required Willis' consent to use his digital image for their campaign. Branding and advertising experts estimated the pay-off for Willis at between $1-2 million, the Vedomosti daily reported.
Representatives for Willis did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Deepfake technology opens up endless possibilities for the film industry but has drawn some criticism over fears that political messages could be fabricated.
Producing such refined deepfake videos takes time, with Deepcake's specialists needing around 15-17 days to render the first video, CEO Maria Chmir told Reuters.
Subsequent videos using the same faces can be produced in around three to five days, she added, once the algorithms get more accustomed to the task at hand.
The technology still has limitations and currently can not be used on close-up shots or if the back of the head faces the camera.
Deepcake has already received requests from Hollywood and European studios, Chmir said.
Megafon's Chief Commercial Officer Vlad Wolfson previously said the advert should play well with people over the age of 35, who are familiar with the 'Die Hard' movies Willis starred in.
The possibilities of using deepfake in video production don't end with replacing one actor with another.
Russian TV channel TNT used Deepcake services to make one of the actors look 15 years younger in one of the episodes of its new TV drama "Contact".
According to the plot, one of the characters was recalling the events that happened a long time ago, when he looked much younger.
Alternating faces of famous characters can bring back to the screens people's beloved protagonists and villains, just as they looked at the peak of popularity.
"Nostalgia is a global trend that never gets old and I think it's timely in any era," Chmir said.
According to her, further developed deepfake can cause the whole industry to be split into two sections with computer-generated characters taking a share of "protein-based" ones.
(Production: Mikhail Antonov, Dmitry Turlyun, Alexander Marrow)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None