Digital Domain Ages David Beckham in Campaign Against Malaria
01.08.21‘Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live’ is a global campaign from the charity Malaria No More UK, supported by a number of organisations and celebrities who have joined the fight against malaria and want to encourage strong political action to permanently end the disease.
RSA Films Amsterdam produced a short film for the campaign that features former football champion and celebrity David Beckham. In the short, an older version of David Beckham is making a speech on the day malaria has ended, sending a hopeful message from decades into the future. As he speaks, the years fall away, leaving the younger version of today to make his final statement – a malaria-free future is possible in our lifetimes, but only if we keep up the fight.
Artists from Digital Domain used a combination of traditional VFX techniques and their proprietary facial manipulation system called Charlatan to create the ageing and de-aging effects – without performing a 3D scan. The transformation process required performance clips of both David and an older stand-in actor delivering the speech. These reference materials were then fed into Charlatan, which uses machine learning and video footage to produce realistic digidoubles.
Digital Media World spoke to Digital Domain’s Executive Creative Director Kevin Lau about why Charlatan was an especially good match for this project, and how the combination of machine learning and video can take the place of a 3D scan and modeling.