Can you just AI it?’

Artificial intelligence can help us create better video content, but not on its own.

Matthew Peltier, Head of Film, Brands2Life

This week marks the first (but certainly not the last) time when someone asked us whether we could just use AI to make an entire brand film. We loved the question – we’re fully ready for a future where AI can complete a production project while we take our lunch break. But we’re not there yet.

AI has become a buzzword not only in the digital media industry, but in our everyday lives. The recent launch of OpenAI’s Sora, a text-to-video AI model that can take your written prompts and turn them into lifelike video clips, has been great for introducing a broader audience to AI video and content creation.

In fact, it has catapulted the conversation around the future of video production into the mouths of filmmakers, client and audience alike. Will it destroy the production industry? Will it render creators redundant? Will we be able to have a machine fully create a brand video without the need of any help?

No, or at least not yet.

What are the possibilities of AI and video right now?

From content creation to distribution, AI is already optimising various aspects of the video production process. But what does it really mean to use AI for video? Can we make an entire brand video just using AI? And how can we make the most of its potential without compromising on quality and creativity?

To answer that, it’s useful to clarify what we mean by AI.

AI is a broad term that encompasses different technologies, such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and speech recognition. These technologies enable machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as understanding language, recognising images, or, most importantly, generating content.

However, AI is not a magic wand that can do anything. It’s trained on large datasets of existing data, which means it can only replicate what it has learned from the data. It cannot create something truly new or original, nor can it understand the context, purpose, or audience of the content it produces. It also has limitations and biases, depending on the quality and diversity of the data it is fed with.

So, the short answer to ‘can you just AI it?’ is no.

But why?

Emotion, empathy and brand.

Firstly, AI can’t yet understand the nuances of your brand message, how your audience feels about you and your products, and how best to take these learnings onboard when creating a video. That requires emotion and empathy. Do you think AI understands an emotional response to a brand or a piece of content? Absolutely not.

A great example of this is last year’s ‘new’ Beatles track. Using part written lyrics that were never recorded in the studio, and a detailed understanding of the John Lennon’s wants, for all intents purposes this is a new recording from The Beatles. While it’s amazing to see what AI has been able to do, it lacks the undefinable brilliance that Paul, John, George and Ringo gave the band’s output when working together, for real.

Another limitation of AI is that it struggles to understand what from your brand guidelines is rigid and unmovable and what can be interpreted and built on. It struggles with concepts ethics and bias too.

There is also the question of copyright management. Until, collectively, there are systems and rules in place around this, there is a risk that brands could suffer the consequence of source media owners being able to track and reprimand/chastise/blame those who have taken from them via AI generated creative.

All of this tells us that we cannot just rely on AI to create engaging and effective videos for them. We need human input, creativity, and judgment to ensure that the videos meet their objectives and expectations.

But AI is great at a lot of things

Our film team has been using AI for several years. From transcribing text, colour grading, subtitling and translations, to more recently providing full voice-overs for our films, in multiple languages.

We’ve used it to follow our presenters on dynamic gimbals (a camera tripod that can go in any direction) and drones in the air. These products have made our lives easier, our work quicker and the final production a higher value, because the time and resource saved meant we could invest it in building bigger and better and more impactful finished films including storytelling, branding, and messaging.

But all of these solutions still require human guidance and instruction, as well as person-led decisions based on emotion and on empathy and artistic choice.

As a film team, we see ourselves as guardians to our client’s brands, which is why our Better Stories | Bigger Impact approach has never been more important in the era of AI, ensuring that our films are based on true audience insight, combined with the best creative.

So in short, we see AI as a collaborator; a complementary tool that will make content creation more efficient. It can be a powerful ally for video, but it cannot replace human expertise and intuition. We believe that the best way to use AI for video is to combine it with human oversight and collaboration, to create videos that are not only efficient and accurate, but also engaging and authentic.

Has this blogged sparked some thoughts or questions – we’d love to discuss in more detail. Drop us a note at: [email protected].