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Is Artificial Intelligence the next revelation for Hollywood?

Cinema has run riot within the fancies of movie-goers ever since the release of the planet’s oldest surviving motion-picture movie, depicting real consecutive action is called Roundhay Garden Scene. It’s technically a short film and not a full-length feature, and it was directed by French Inventor Louis Le Prince. Although it’s a mere 2.11 seconds long, it’s a landmark within the field of filmmaking as it is still viewed as a movie. The first feature length movie, by contrast, came out eighteen years later, perhaps symbolically indicating the medium’s blossoming into adulthood. It was the 1906 Australian production called the Story of the Kelly Gang 

Starting from Louis Le Prince’s seminal work, audiences have been enthralled with the concept of viewing narratives unfold on the screen, with the directors and actors breathing life into a script that’s merely pages of words consisting of dialogues. From then, we have come a long way. A point of reference would be Robert Pattinson starring in the upcoming action blockbuster, The Batman. One glance at the stark contrast in terms of production quality, technologies that are leveraged, acting prowess, and overall output would tell you how far we have come from the early days. Movies have become a medium where we’ve identified with our favourite characters on screen, cried with them, loved with them, battled with them, and even died with them. Movies serve as a reprieve from our oft tedious lives, providing us with a fictional universe to escape into, serving as an extension and debatable evolution of literature and poetry. 

World cinema has a penchant for quality, putting out stalwarts such as Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, and David Lynch, who are three of the top innovators who come to mind when we think of directors who have created a paradigm shift in movie making techniques, telling compelling narratives, and are proof that movies can transcend the tag of being a mere entertainment medium, and into the domain of philosophy, with their works dissected with comprehensive analyses from ardent fans, who always find something new in their movies, every time they watch them.  

No other film industry has had a dominating influence on World Cinema as America’s film industry has. You are definitely aware of the iconic Hollywood symbol on the hills overlooking the streets in the city of Angels, perhaps even serving as a silent observer of the cityscape, documenting the occurrences of everyday life and converting them into captivating narratives on an annual basis, raking in billions of dollars in the process. Hollywood is a perennial favourite of cinema goers because of its capability to put out really high-quality movies, leveraging sophisticated technologies, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI) and visual effects. The industry is renowned for utilizing the best technicians and tools to produce breath-taking movies – Hollywood truly is a melting pot for all cultures, and all stories, a place where dreams turn into reality.  

During the course of the previous decade, Hollywood has been making strong investments in addition to robust experimentation with innovation like Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms can accomplish tasks in a very swift fashion, and at scale. They have the capability of achieving a plethora of things in real-time that need devoted teams of personnel. If leveraged in a correct way, these sophisticated technologies can bring out the best-looking edits, the best performances, and the most sophisticated visual effects feasible presently. 

Artificial intelligence – the great revelation 

Film production studios in Hollywood are currently seeking to employ engineers who are skilled at training AI-driven deep learning and machine learning algorithms that could undertake a VFX expert’s work. For instance, work such as providing realism to a digital character, or smoothening out an effect, etc. can be done in a simple fashion while leveraging smart algorithms. Sophisticated algorithms have the capacity to automatically provide progressive visual effects. AI, hence, assists creative artists concentrate their efforts in carrying out other critical work than spend their valuable time in laboriously editing the effects. 

Superhero smash hit, Avenger’s Infinity War, saw American performer Josh Brolin play the lead character of the super villain, Thanos. The VFX of Thanos’s on-screen presence was executed so well that it appeared extremely authentic and realistic. How the VFX department achieved this feat was by leveraging an AI algorithm to trace Brolin’s facial expressions which consisted of minute details like his wrinkles, and then leveraging an additional algorithm to carry out mapping of his face renders on to Thanos’s body. Leveraging ML algorithms, the entire procedure could be executed in real-time. If this was carried out without the assistance of AI, it would have taken a minimum of a few weeks for the department to obtain the same outcomes leveraging face swapping and mapping technologies. 

Disney just now created robot acrobats that had performance levels equivalent to human acrobats. The bot acrobats could be modified leveraging AI and made to appear like their human peers. Therefore, the actors could concentrate on aspects of the job which were less hazardous. At the turn of the 21st century, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series leveraged AI-based software to produce the giant armies witnessed in all three movies. Half a decade ago, in 2016, 20th Century Fox collaborated with IBM Research to produce a movie trailer leveraging AI for the motion film “Morgan”. IBM’s AI cognitive system, Watson, was leveraged to develop a horror movie trailer that kept audiences at fever pitch for the next scene. 

Aside from the editing and acting aspects of the film production process, AI may (sooner rather than later) be leveraged to determine whether a movie is to be produced or not. In the opinion of Variety, a Belgian organization called Scriptbook has developed AI-driven algorithms that can undertake analysis of a screenplay and forecast if or not a film will be a box-office success. This will assist filmmaking studios to make careful and meticulous decisions on which films are worth shooting. 

Leveraging AI for hyper-personalized user targeting 

Film studios usually spend over one thirds of their allocated budgets on marketing and advertising their films. If they could make these expenditures in a wise fashion by the targeting the correct audience, it would help in efficient leveraging of their budgets. Leveraging higher-end AI tools, it’s feasible to deliver hyper-personalized content to clients according to their likes and dislikes.  

US-based film production company, Fox, collaborated with Google Cloud to produce Merlin, an AI-driven learning program. The primary objective of Merlin is to undertake analysis of film trailers and detect the fundamental patterns in watcher’s likes and dislikes for differing variants of movies. Online streaming heavyweight, Netflix, leverages AI for video recommendations for its customers and also to produce targeted mini trailers when a client clicks or executes a mouse-hover on a show that they’re considering watching.  

This kind of targeted, customized relationship wasn’t the norm with conventional Hollywood companies. A majority of these enterprise’s products were removed or have been isolated from direct client relationships. Studios aren’t aware precisely who is watching their films and TV shows. This scenario is however, gradually changing. Subscription-based film ticketing service, MoviePass, is attempting to mimic Netflix styled data-based model with the cinema theatre business. 

Internet video streaming, combined with AI, facilitates film production companies to construct direct-to-consumer relationships on a longer-term basis. This will be a critical facet of Hollywood in the not-too-distant future. Disney is one of the largest film production companies that have comprehended the massive value that these models provide. As a matter of fact, it has invalidated its deal with Netflix and is initiating its own subscription-driven video on-demand service, which has now been launched in several territories. 


AI and machine learning (ML) are pending to witness mass adoption by film companies around the globe. This is owing to the fact that they’ don’t completely comprehend them. Moviemakers who do have an understanding of AI have already begun leveraging aspects of machine learning and deep learning in very particular spheres like performance and editing. 

The Hollywood film industry and other regions of the planet is expanding at a quick pace on an annual basis. In the opinion of Box Office Mojo, the number of films put out in Hollywood in 2018 came to a monumental 873. This number is only bound to keep appreciating in the years to come. Hence, it’s critical for film studios to serve every filmgoer by really understanding their wants, desires, needs, and expectations. Victory is bound to knock at the doorstep of those organizations who are able to accomplish this feat. This is the part where technology such as AI will pay a vital part in constructing robust client relationships.  

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