DEEPFAKE TECH PRODUCTION.
“Just two actors in the whole of the UK who might be able to do the job our entire film was sold upon”
53 minutes for him to work with,” recalls Field. “This changed our entire approach. Initially, we hoped Roly would learn the dialogue by heart, but that now simply wasn’t possible.” Two days were set aside in October last year to film the interview. Field and DOP Ash Connaughton decided that, in order to give the AI program Deepfacelab the best opportunity to capture Hyde’s expressions, the documentary was to be shot on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K G2. “This was even though the maximum resolution the AI could deliver was HD. But this comparatively low resolution was another reason I opted to put the deepfake material in television screens in the first place,” explains Field. Given the amount of audio material that now needed to be covered, an autocue was used for Hyde to read from. Generally, this method worked well, with each segment requiring around six or seven takes to get into a safe window for the lip-sync. Unfortunately, the only way to tell if it was synchronised was to watch it back on a 65in playback monitor. “With hindsight and a new deepfake production looming, I have put improvements to this technique in place. Our dubbing mixer Kenny Clark, using Pro Tools, still had a hell of a task to ensure the lip-sync was as good as it possibly could be.” Another challenge was waiting. Anderson was bald and Hyde’s head shape wasn’t a perfect match. In theory, it’s possible to replace all of someone’s
them, too. “This would allow for ‘static interference’ created in Adobe After Effects, to mask any potential issues or artefacts,” Field adds. “It would also allow for the discrepancy between the quality of the audio archive and the new interview footage to be explained away.” Although that decision solved one issue, he says it caused another. There was the potential he was going mislead the audience into believing they were watching authentic interview material. When Field contracted Hyde to appear as Gerry Anderson, he did so anticipating that he would be looking for him to lip-sync to approximately ten minutes of audio. “Once we’d finished our research into the biographical audio, we’d chosen
TIMING IT RIGHT Monitoring the footage on a screen out of body double Roly Hyde’s view was the only way to check if the lip-syncing was working
head with a deepfake, but the team kept getting aliasing and shadowing. “So, at the eleventh hour, we adopted a new approach,” says Field. “We gambled on changing Roly’s head shape in real life, with make-up and hair, and then hoped a deepfake of just Gerry’s face would do. But we wouldn’t know until we’d completed the first day’s shoot.” MEETING THE MAKER The production team used Google Drive as its cloud system for working across various files and graphics, making it possible to send Christian the footage almost immediately. “The result was incredible,” says Field. “Jamie Anderson stared at it in disbelief. We’d just created a new interview with his dad.” For Field, the questions surrounding ethics were gone. The deepfake wasn’t fooling anyone, but a disclaimer was placed at the top. “I wanted to be as honest with my audience as I was with Jamie and his family,” he assures. “If they could accept it, then an audience could too. I’m bringing honesty to the fakery.” Watch Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted on Britbox and Prime Video
35. DECEMBER 2022
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