Synthetic Media AI Transforms ‘Fall’ Movie Rating From R to PG-13
Survival action movie “Fall” dodged an audience-limiting R rating by using AI dubbing tech developer Flawless to synthesize the sound and mouth movement of gentler curses. That “Fall” director and co-writer Scott Mann is conveniently co-CEO of Flawless, but replacing more than 30 hard swear words and scoring the coveted PG-13 rating without expensive reshoots is likely to appeal to indie filmmakers with less direct connections to the technology.
“Fall” tells the story of two young women facing a 2,000-foot drop from the top of an isolated radio tower. Swearing while acting in that environment probably came naturally. Lionsgate signed on to distribute the film in the U.S. but wanted to sand down the rougher language to fit the MPAA’s rules for PG-13 ratings. Mann brought Flawless’ TrueSync AI to bear on the problem. TrueSync’s AI created voice and mouth models of the film’s stars, Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner, generating the sound and look of them saying “freaking” instead of dropping F-Bombs. The redubbed audio and reworked visuals are smooth enough that the actors claimed to not be able to tell when it occurs, according to a behind-the-scenes interview. The whole process took two weeks and cost far less than the millions of dollars over many weeks that reshoots would have required.
Synthetic media in mainstream entertainment is mushrooming as creators become more comfortable and familiar with the technology, though few have quite as short a distance to travel as Scott Mann. A random sampling of recent examples can cover a broad array of entertainment outlets. The Andy Warhol Diaries documentary was narrated by Andy Warhol’s digitally cloned voice courtesy of Resemble AI Aloe Blacc worked with both Respeecher and Metaphysic to combine synthetic speech and video, respectively and produce his multi-lingual “Wake Me Up” music video. Respeecher also synthesized the voices of Darth Vader and a young Luke Skywalker for recent Star Wars TV shows, while Metaphysic debuted a synthetic Simon Cowell at America’s Got Talent.