Remember what video editing looked (and felt) like a few years ago?
Downloading software, searching for simple tutorials and lengthy processes rarely gave the desired result. 😓
Well, things have changed.
Today, creating an AI video from scratch is as easy as writing an email, and editing your existing video footage with a little help from AI can be done in seconds.
The author of this article is pretty confident to say that AI is literally enabling magic. 🪄
It’s never been easier to colorise black and white images, reduce background noise, or get a real talking head video from text.
If you’ve ever seen/read Harry Potter, then you probably remember the moving newspaper articles and the portraits of people that came alive in the picture when someone got close enough.
We believe we’re getting there. Well, kind of. 😉 Let me explain:
As a society, we’re constantly moving toward richer forms of communication, and AI video will play an important role in the future of media creation and consumption.
But what exactly is AI, and how can we apply it to video? What does that mean for you? Will deepfakes take over the internet? How will AI change the film industry as we know it today?
Yeah, these are quite complex questions that call for complex answers. But in this article, we’ll try to keep it simple. 👇
First thing first: What is AI video?
AI has been a hot topic in recent years. Today, it’s penetrating into different spheres of our daily lives, from work to home to media.
It has the potential to radically change the world as we know it today — especially in terms of how we create and consume content.
It’s obvious that we’re entering a new era of content creation. Here’s why:
AI is enabling us to generate different types of media (voice, images, video, text) from our computers. No more physical processes, or, better said, obstacles.
This new category of media (also known as AI, generative or synthetic media) is produced or modified by code, which means it is much more accessible compared to “traditional” forms of media production. Synthetic media turn the creative processes on their head — and AI video is just one example. 📹
So what exactly is AI video?
In short, it’s video that’s been created by a computer — from scratch, or using an existing video clip as a starting point for further computer manipulation.
There are two ways to apply AI to video:
#1 Creating an AI video from scratch: The whole process of generating a video happens using AI video generators. In most cases, video generation tools generate engaging videos based on input (text, images, descriptions).
The most common use case for this type of AI video generation is text-to-speech, which can be used for training, promo, how-to videos, and more.
Using AI video generators, you can say goodbye to cameras, actors, and microphones and create your videos directly from your browser. We think it’s pretty cool. 😉
#2 AI can also be used to only partially manipulate a video: In this case, we’re talking about making AI-driven changes to existing video footage.
And these are the most common examples of AI in video editing: sharpening the video, smoothing motion, reducing background noise and making audio clearer, adjusting aspect ratio…
Ok, now that you understand the basics, let’s dig a little deeper.
How can AI be applied to video?
It’s no doubt that applying AI to video saves creators a lot of time and money.
It replaces the tedious process of video production and/or editing, and thus democratises video content creation.
More AI video content, more creative ideas coming to life, and more effective communication.
Using AI for video production
Imagine traditional video production: Hiring actors, equipment, film crew, studio… It’s not only expensive but also time-consuming.
Replacing all these processes with code enables people to easily create video content in a scalable way — directly from their computer.
There are 2 most obvious types of AI video generation:
1️⃣ Text-to-video generation
Want to have someone speak your text in a video? No problem!
As synthetic voices are becoming more realistic, text-to-speech technology is gaining momentum. It allows creators to switch between different languages in a matter of seconds and localise the content in a scalable way.
Next step: Linking the narrative to the visual part of the video.
Various AI tools enable you to create videos using different images and videos, or even a human-like AI avatar to speak out the words you type in.
The end result is an AI-generated video that looks and sounds real but was, in fact, generated by code. From your browser. In minutes. With a real human presenter. Well, almost real. 😉
Sounds too good to be true?
Here's how it looks in Synthesia:
2️⃣ Video animation
Another example of AI video is animation (computer generated, of course).
When talking about video animation, we primarily associate it with video games and cartoons. But there are many other use cases for animated video: Explainer videos, tutorials, 3D videos for different fields (think medical training)…
What makes animation so unique is its artistic impulse — unlike live-action video, any idea (literally anything) can be brought to life in the form of animation.
The potential of this idea is enormous, but the execution… Not so much. 🙄
Animation is a technique that uses still images to create the impression of motion. 24 images per second, to be exact. So, it's no surprise it’s a very time-consuming process that involves a lot of manual labour — thanks to AI, it’s gotten easier in the last few years.
AI in animation is mainly used for:
🔹 Virtual scene creation → think of the hyper-realistic Lion King remake
🔹 3D facial modeling → to ensure realistic facial movements
🔹 Automation of rotoscoping process → to help create characters that move realistically
Using AI for video editing
The above examples show how videos are generated by AI video generators — from scratch.
Another way to apply AI to video is to use it only to perform specific tasks on pre-existing video footage. In other words, to edit it.
Want to bring your ancestors and historic sites back to life? Need to de-noise the video you shot with your phone? Want to cut an object from one clip and move it to another?
Of course, you want to do it quickly, and perhaps you’re not a professional video editor…
The good news? Such things are now possible thanks to many initiatives, such as Adobe Sensei, Google Video AI, and others.
These AI tools are designed to enhance creative video expression and include many useful features that simplify the editing process, enabling us to create professional videos with no prior knowledge and video editing skills.
In most cases, AI is used to enhance video content in one of the following areas:
- Sharpness of the image
- Smoothness of motion
- Clarity of sound, reduction of background noise
- Masking and transferring images
- Adjusting the video to any aspect ratio
- Applying filters to video
Other applications of AI in video
Using AI for video production or post-production is the most obvious application.
But there are many other areas where AI can help when it comes to video creation and distribution.
A few examples here:
✅ AI for content recommendation + marketing: AI is being used to personalise suggested video content on different streaming and social media platforms, such as Netflix, TikTok, YouTube… Since it’s able to accurately recognise objects in videos, it’s also beneficial for contextual, object-triggered advertising.
✅ AI for translation: We can now do this using AI instead of manually translating and dubbing video content. This makes video content much more accessible in terms of translation and localisation.
✅ AI for writing scripts: It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true — AI can write scripts. AI language models like GPT3 are transforming how text is being written. They can write in different styles and take different angles, and are therefore becoming increasingly handy when it comes to scriptwriting.
✅ AI for organising media archives: The ability of AI to detect objects (places, faces, colours, weather, timestamps…) in videos also simplifies the organisation of private and public media archives. Video content can now be classified, organised, and analysed in many ways, making it searchable and thus more accessible.
3 main benefits of using AI in video
In 2022, video is king. 👑
People don’t want to read, our attention spans are getting shorter, and video is becoming the preferred format for content consumption.
And that is no surprise. Research shows that watching video is simply more engaging and therefore, more memorable. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in video format, compared to 10% when reading it in text. 👀
It’s a no-brainer — video will take over the media landscape in the coming years, and this will also be enabled by AI. Synthetic video has never been easier to make, and editing no longer requires technical skills.
So what are the key implications of using AI in video production and post-production?
1. AI will democratise video content creation
In the past, only people with certain skills could make a decent, engaging video.
Well, that has certainly changed. Today, anyone can create a video from their mobile phone. Video editing tools are intuitive to use, and the creative aspect is starting to dominate technical skills. Finally. 👇
2. AI will unlock human creativity
When there are no more technical limitations to video creation, literally everyone (and their mother) can create a video.
With millions of hours of video content being produced every day, it’s becoming more and more important for videos to be good in terms of creativity and storytelling.
New tools make video easy for anyone, and allow us to create entirely new, creative and interactive forms of communication (think tiktoks, snaps, stories, looms, etc.). 🔮
3. AI will help scale video creation
We’ve mentioned it before, but it really is that important: AI takes away the tedious processes of traditional video production.
You can now create engaging videos in no time and with little effort, which allows creators to create video content at scale. To localise it. To translate it into different languages. To update it in no time.
Whether you use AI to generate new content or edit existing footage, it saves time, money, and frankly, quite some nerves. 😉
Famously infamous: Deepfakes
When talking about AI video, we simply can’t ignore them.
So what do you think of when you hear the word deepfake? The viral Tom Cruise videos? Revenge porn? Deepfakes of celebrities?
Yup, those are definitely the best-known examples of deepfakes — videos that have been manipulated using AI to make it look like someone else is in the video. 🗣
The technology behind deepfakes is “face swap,” which you probably know from various apps (Snapchat, Reface, Face Swap App…). It’s based on facial recognition software that can recognise a person’s face and replace it with someone else's face.
The term deepfake is in itself pretty descriptive. When we combine “deep learning” with “fake” identity, we get a deepfake.
Its connotation is prevalently bad, which is a normal consequence of the predominantly negative media coverage of deepfakes.
Sure, using AI for impersonation, revenge, and targeted manipulation is bad and dangerous.
But actually, AI can also be used for good causes. In fact, most use cases of AI in video today are non-problematic, like business communication, education, or simply for fun.
Here’s an example of how AI video can be used for a good cause — David Beckham speaking 9 languages in Malaria Must Die campaign:
AI and the film industry
One of the hot topics when it comes to AI and video is how it will transform the film industry.
Will people lose their jobs?
If it’s possible to make a high-quality video from a computer, do we still need actors, directors, technicians, and movie editors? 😱
What happens to the industry when literally anyone can produce a movie?
The thing is, Hollywood has been using computer-generated imagery (CGI) since the early 1990s.
It’s a process in which a movie is created by combining live action with images that have been created on a computer, using video editing software.
Some of the famous examples that were enhanced by CGI: Avatar (2009), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Matrix (1999), Jurassic Park (1993), King Kong (2005)…
Apart from combining real footage with CGI, there’s a whole bunch of movies that were created entirely on computers.
We’ve accepted this fact for cartoon-looking animations, but some more realistic examples were also made using CGI and deepfake technology — think of the photorealistic The Lion King (2019), for example. Fun fact: It was even criticised for being too realistic. 🦁
It’s no secret that Hollywood has been using computers to enhance movies for more than two decades now, but AI will take it way further.
So what happens when we apply AI to production of feature films?
- Less manual work and more scalable video editing processes
- Script writing becomes easier and more effective while AI takes into account many different variables, such as narrative, target audience, learning from the outcomes…
- AI is used to predict the success of movies and box office earnings based on script analysis.
- Composing background music for movies based on detailed data analysis and pattern recognition becomes faster and more efficient.
- AI-enabled the recreation of movie scenes after filming is complete. By creating a digital replica of a person’s face, it’s now possible to change the script in post-production.
- Deepfake technology opens up new, unprecedented possibilities, from digitally de-aging actors (DeNiro and Al Pacino in The Irishman) to bringing dead actors back to life.
My prediction is that in 10-15 years, we'll be able to make Hollywood films on laptops. This will unleash human creativity, challenge the gatekeeper system, and thus democratize video production.
—Victor Riparbelli, Synthesia CEO
We believe we’re on the verge of a major paradigm shift driven mainly by AI video and other synthetic media.
This brings many unforeseen opportunities, but also challenges. That's why we strive to use our technology responsibly and put ethics at the heart of our business.
We don't know how early we are, but we're excited about what the future holds, and we promise we won't stop anytime soon as we continue building the bright synthetic future. 🚀