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April 2, 2024

How Has AI Affected Film and TV Production?

From deepfakes to AI-generated scripts, artificial intelligence has had a huge impact on the film and TV industries. By: Kritchanon Tan Kian Wei

With AI becoming increasingly prevalent in our lives, and revolutionising the way we work, there’s no doubt that the film and TV industries have changed as AI becomes more capable. 

Nowadays, one common way that AI is used in the film and TV industry is to upscale and remaster old content from years prior. For example, AI was used to restore James Cameron’s 1994 action comedy film True Lies to a 4K resolution for its 4K Blu Ray release. While the use of AI in film and TV can often result in backlash due to understandable reasons, it’s hard to deny that when done right, AI can truly enhance the viewing experience. Many high-end TVs today also come with chips capable of AI upscaling, so lower-resolution content can still look presentable on a bigger, higher-resolution display.

Another way that AI is currently being used is through deepfake technology. One of the most controversial ways of using AI in film and TV, the use of deepfakes can easily come across as being done in poor taste if not handled properly. Take 2023’s The Flash, for instance. The ending of the film featured a deepfake cameo of the late Christopher Reeves “reprising” his role as Superman. However, given that the actor publicly despised playing the role while he was alive, and that the cameo was done without the blessing of his family, his “cameo” in The Flash quickly became extremely controversial, with many viewers calling Warner Bros. out for their shameless and insincere attempt at resurrecting a dead celebrity to try to excite the audience.

AI has also recently been used to generate entire sequences, with the opening credits sequence of the Disney+ miniseries Secret Invasion (2023) being AI-generated. While this was slightly controversial to some, others felt that the use of AI was actually clever in this scenario, given the series’ theme of not knowing who to trust.

Of course, with the surge in popularity of AI, recent film and TV shows have also touched on the topic. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) for example, heavily features an AI called “The Entity” as the film’s villain. The critically acclaimed movie was praised for its ability to get viewers thinking about the implications of a world where AI becomes increasingly popular.

Finally, some less obvious ways that AI has been used in films and TV include the generation of content like trailers or music for a show, or using AI to help cast a particular project. For example, the AI tool ScriptBook can analyse scripts, predicting its box office potential, helping users cast characters in the project, and more.

Today, AI-generated footage is still somewhat easy to spot. However, at the rate that AI is progressing, AI-generated content in films, TV and other mediums will become more and more convincing, causing structural shifts in the way we work and consume entertainment. Only time will tell how exactly the increasing prevalence of AI will change our world.

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