A Short Take on Deepfakes
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If you’ve perused social media or entertainment sites over the past couple of years, you likely ran across at least one viral deepfake video, including a recent effort where Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. take over the roles of Marty McFly and Doc Brown respectively in Back to the Future (from YouTuber EZRyderX47).
Deepfakes, the photo and video manipulation practice of taking a person in a video or image and replacing him with another, has been around in some form for some time, but has recently been used more and more by both independent and commercial creators.
So far this has been used primarily for the “wow” factor, and in some alternate reality casting calls, but the idea that you can nearly flawlessly take one face and superimpose it (movements, mannerisms and all) onto another body is just a teensy bit eerie. This application can be misused and abused in everything from politics to pornography, and make public figures or celebrities look they are doing or saying something they never have.
Whether deepfake is a potentially dangerous technique or an innovative way to create “What If…” stories, it certainly is impressive. Here are some more weird and cool examples.
EZRyderX47 has done some other great deepfake videos, including putting the “real” Han Solo, Harrison Ford, in Mel Brooks’s Spaceballs, and he handles his Schwartz very well.
Another popular deepfake channel is Ctrl Shift Face, who includes an entire series of Bill Hader’s spot-on impressions with deepfake enhancements. These are so well done, it takes a minute to even catch the faces morphing.
There’s also a series of Jim Carrey taking over the Jack Nicholson role in The Shining, and the hilarious and disturbing “Worst Bathroom in Middle-Earth” featuring Golem in Ewan McGregor’s Trainspotting role.
Impressionists are ideal opportunities for creators to tryout their deepfake skills, as they have some ready made voice changes to help them out. Here, a creator named Shamook, using a program called DeepFaceLabs, shows impressionist Jim Meskimen going through 16 different celebrity deepfakes in this Christmas monologue.
For those wanting to know a little more about the process, the PBS show Nova gave a little background on how they are made, and how amazingly, frighteningly real they have become.
Header image capture from YouTube channel EZRyderX47.