When watching foreign films, there is perhaps nothing more annoying than dubbing. While it’s understandable that films need to be translated across with different performs, the disconnect between the visuals and the audio can be quite off-putting and I often prefer to just watch movies with subtitles instead, even if I’m still missing out on a lot of the dialogue as a result.
Thankfully, technology is coming to the rescue in addressing this problem and is coming from one of the most controversial technologies around at the moment, deepfakes. An AI Start-up, Flawless, is showcasing how it can use the technology – which alters a person’s face to layer over the features of another, to make it look like they are saying things they never did – to replace an actor’s vocal movement with that of a dubbed performance. The below video from the 1992 legal drama, A Few Good Men, reveals exactly how it is possible with Jack Nicholson’s powerful performance replaced with the voice of a native French speaker:
While it is clear the technology is not perfect and you don’t get a seamless transition nor the same mesmerising performance from this video, the result is a far more watchable dubbed version of the original performance. Perhaps what is most impressive is just how easy and effortless it is for this change to happen, with the reproduction occurring in less than a minute and something that could see entire movies altered in this way in a manner of a few hours.
It’s a technology that I can certainly see growing and if you can get streaming services like Netflix, Amazon or Disney+ to get in on it, they can then start offering movies in multiple languages without worrying about the overall performance being too affected as a result. Who knows? We may soon start watching movies and never realise the performance was dubbed.
Last Updated: May 25, 2021