Face Swapping Technology Means You’ll Never Know What’s Real Ever Again

What if you can realistically control an actor’s face using only a basic webcam? The technology is quickly coming thanks to the researchers at Stanford University who just released a paper and video on some amazing real time face capture and Reenactment software.

From Video description:

We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time

Check out the project page here:

3d Transform Pipeline

What is a Timeline – Editing Basics

We all got to start somewhere… The Basic Filmmaker covers the basics of timeline editing – what is a timeline and what does it mean.

Do note that if you are working with a 29.97 fps sequence which is a broadcast and television friendly frame rate (really you should always be using 29.97 if you’re shooting 30 fps and 23.976 if you’re shooting 24p), then the frame after 00;00;59;29 should be 00;01;00;02 because of something called drop frame. This “leap frame” is just the timeline compensative for the extra .03 frames gained every second – after 60 seconds the time code is ahead by 1.8 frames – so two frames are dropped now putting the time code .2 frames ahead. This continues 9 times until the 10th minute when there is no drop frame when 29.97fps and 30fps match perfectly.


Keynote with Mark Duplass from SxSW

Mark Duplass, a director, actor, writer, and producer, discusses the migration of filmmakers to television, to the emergence of VOD and its impact on micro-budget film. Duplass has eight pieces of advice for those who want to start a career in filmmaking. He also talks on the changing models of film and television distribution/production, how those changes affect those in the independent sphere, and why carving out your particular corner of the sandbox is going to be the key to maintaining creative control in the future.

Mark Duplass

No, 360 Video is Not Going to Replace Traditional Filmmaking, but It’s Still Cool as Hell

I’ve gotten several emails at Filmmaker IQ asking if 360 video is going to replace traditional filmmaking techniques. The answer of course is “NO!” -followed by a definitive “HELL NO!” but that doesn’t make 360 video still really cool.

The funny thing is when this video came up in my browser I didn’t even know it was a 360 video. I thought the image was kinda of crappy so I clicked on the YouTube resolution and saw it was playing in 480s - I had never seen that nomenclature before – then I realized I could mouse click and drag my way around. The “s” must stand for spherical.

Spherical Video

The biggest reason why 360 won’t replace traditional filmmaking is it eliminates the director from the filmmaking equation. Shot composition and montage are effectively destroyed – everything is shot from only one focal length (wide) and the user can choose what to look at which can be more distracting than driving the story forward. I’m sure some enterprising director will come along and make a brilliant 360 narrative – and it’s going to be awesome. But it’s not replacing traditional film.

But more importantly, the question raises a bigger problem in the way we discuss the future of film. We tend to treat film as a monolithic endeavor – CGI vs Practical, Widescreen vs Academy ratio, VHS vs Betamax. With the exception of format standards such as the final example, there is very little that is monolithic about film. There’s room for all kinds of films, all kinds of narrative and all kinds of ways to tell that narrative. A 360 narrative film will happen one day, but that doesn’t mean we stop making traditional film when that day comes – there’s room for both.

We can get extremely narrow sighted when it comes to our view of the filmmaking world – it happens even to the best of us (Spielberg and Lucas have heralded an implosion of Hollywood – and it has yet to happen so Spielberg backtracked). I have been critical of the “democratization of filmmaking” because it has led not to good competition but competition with a deluge of crap – BUT the democratization also means there are a lot more demand and a lot more avenues to serve that demand.  In other words – there’s just more variety – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The day you can put on a VR set and enter a horror movie will be a landmark day. If they can figure out the technology to bring a companion with you into that film it will lead to a baby boom a la the Snuggle Theory.

Film Emulation for Digital Video, Explained

This video examines film emulators, reviewing their common features and suggested uses. Film emulation is the process of converting digital footage to appear as if it was shot on film. This process works by matching the color values of digital footage to different film stocks. Film emulation can be achieved through stand-alone software, with plugins, or by using color look-up tables (often called LUTs).

Film Grading

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