HITS 2024: AI Offers New Ways for Filmmakers to Create Content, ICVR and AMD Say

Animation, visual effects and virtual production have offered technologically advanced techniques for content creation, and when those tools are combined with the power of artificial intelligence (AI), the recipe for content creation moves forward to a whole new world of creators, according to chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and digital production studio ICVR.

As visual effects companies are faced with more to do, increasingly complex workflows and new user-generated content (UGC)-oriented tools that seem to take the mystery out of very complex, learned skills, the media and entertainment industry is on the precipice of many new ways to create incredible content for less.

On May 22, at the Hollywood Innovation & Transformation Summit (HITS), during the AI/Advanced Tech breakout session “Riding the Next Wave of VFX,” executives from digital production studio ICVR provided a deep dive into the realities of a cloud-shaped, AI-driven future for the purveyors of movie magic.

While “looking at new pipelines or pipeline developments [and] production models,” the talk turns to “new tools and technologies, and see how far we can get in this conversation without actually saying AI,” moderator John Canning, director of developer relations at AMD, said to kick off the session.

But “part of the topic of our conversation is looking at pipeline content creation [and] leveraging things like AI,” he said.

“How many of you work in large corporations that have put out AI edicts to say you’re not actually allowed to use the tools for work?” he asked the audience.

“That’s a thing,” he said. “As we’ve discovered, and you can look at any of the news headlines recently,  if you are using one of those tools at work,  you’re probably sharing your company’s secrets with a bunch of people. Congratulations.” There have been “numerous cases” in which “pre-product launch information” has been made public, he noted.

“Basically,” what it comes down to is that “somebody went up to ChatGPT and was trying to write a better marketing [plan] and now people know what your product plans are,” he said.

We have “amazing powerful tools” today but “how do we harness them for good?” he asked. “How do we harness them [to have] a production pipeline that doesn’t make your IT team [go] running and screaming from the room, and actually be able to leverage some of this.”

From there, the discussion turned to virtual production. “So, I’m assuming there’s a good number of you [who] have heard of the term virtual production by now and the use of things like Unreal Engine to make film and TV productions,” said Sinan Al Rubaye, chief experience officer for ICVR. And he assumed that many attendees heard how “we’re doing this in real time and why, and [how it] gives creators control and all that good stuff.”

And, “in certain cases, it enabled efficiencies or things that were not possible” previously, Al Rubaye said.

“As you all also know, the industry is struggling a little bit when it comes to projects being in production or new projects being greenlit,” Al Rubaye noted. “Part of it is even new projects have significantly smaller budgets [and] some of them even shorter timelines,” he said.

So the big question is: “How can you produce the same amount of content with less money and time?” Al Rubaye pointed out. That, he said, “drove us really into figuring out how can we get there.”

When it comes to AI, “we’ve been doing a lot of R& D internally for the past year and a half and figuring out what can we do that won’t get us in trouble [and] won’t get clients in trouble to basically get that creative process  happening much sooner, with faster iteration, which basically would save … a couple months of just production specifically,” according to Al Rubaye.

Ihar Heneralau, CEO of ICVR, also took part in the discussion.

To download the presentation, click here.

To watch the session, click here.

HITS Spring was presented by Box, with sponsorship by Fortinet, SHIB, AMD, Brightspot, Grant Thornton, MicroStrategy, the Trusted Partner Network, the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) and EIDR, and was produced by MESA in partnership with the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business.