In the age of AI Sora, what cinema?

A Hollywood producer has just canceled the construction of $800 million in new studios because he fears for the future of his industry. Embodyed by an artificial intelligence (AI) called Sora, the next generation of IT tools will, according to him, considerably reduce the filming needs for cinema and television.

Meanwhile, in Laval, unused arable land is being transformed into huge new buildings in which foreign producers can come and create their next films and future television series. It’s a good bet: the greater Montreal region can always try to increase its share of the North American cinematic pie.

But the bet is riskier if the cake becomes a cake.

This is not a strictly technological situation: the Quebec Cinema and Television Bureau (BCTQ) is also concerned. These days we are seeing a rebound in the number of shoots currently taking place in Montreal, where things are going better at the moment than in Toronto or Vancouver. It is caused by a catch-up of activities stopped during the strike of American screenwriters and actors last year.

Last year, filming of foreign films in Quebec brought in $523 million, according to the BCTQ’s annual report. We do not know if we will reach this amount in 2024, because the trend in recent years has been downward.

When things calm down, probably starting this summer, the BCTQ wonders whether Quebec will be able to compete with the Canadian provinces and American states which offer significant financial incentives for large-scale series and films to be filmed on their territory. territory.

One of these states is Georgia. It is one of the busiest filming locations in North America. The value of filming there reaches more than 4 billion US dollars each year. The peak was reached just before the pandemic, when the total value of filming reached 9.5 billion. Georgia grants a 20% tax credit to foreign producers, which is increased by 10% if its promotional logo – a large peach – appears in the credits.

What the Quebec Cinema and Television Office is asking, to revive its industry in the province, is precisely to increase government assistance for foreign filming carried out here. After all, it creates jobs.

The Rise of Sora

The project mentioned above to expand film studios for 800 million US dollars? Atlanta was where it was supposed to happen. The capital of Georgia, where audiovisual production is already generously subsidized. It was piloted by Tyler Perry.

He is less known here, but the man is a big name in the United States. He’s held just about every role there is on screen (and behind it), from actor to screenwriter. He is now a producer.

At Hollywood Reporter, Tyler Perry said this: “I watch advances in AI very closely. I have been working for four years on this 800 million expansion project, which would have gigantically enlarged our outdoor filming stages and which would have added 12 sound recording studios. I put all of this on the back burner indefinitely because of what I saw of Sora. »

Sora is the new creature from OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. Yes, it’s still artificial intelligence. We’re not getting out. In any case, not yet. Sora takes what other tools of the same type put online in recent months already do a little further: it creates video animations from scratch, looking almost as truthful as if it were an extract Hollywood film. The videos produced by OpenAI — Sora is not yet fully public — are of a resolution comparable to that of a film. Their maximum duration at the moment is one minute.

Sora “is an AI model that can create realistic and imaginative scenes from written instructions,” explains the firm at the heart of this revolution. “We teach it to understand and simulate the real world in motion, with the goal of creating an AI model capable of solving problems that require interaction in the real world. »

So much for the theory. The practice is obviously perfectible. We regularly find “hallucinations”, the name given by experts to errors or inconsistencies generated by AI technologies. The famous hands with six or seven fingers or these contortions made by living characters which defy all rules of anatomy or physics, for example.

But what matters in AI is not what we see today: it’s what we will see in two years. Or in five years.

Two years ago, creating and compiling a fake video required a morning of tinkering on a fairly powerful PC. Today, there are dozens of websites that do the same thing in a minute. Right now, Sora is creating one-minute videos. Gemini, Google’s AI, can already digest more than an hour of film and recommend improvements to avoid negative reviews.

In two years, what will the film studios be full of? Actors or programmers?

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