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Generative AI in Film & TV: A Special Report

Over the last year, the entertainment industry narrative around generative AI has been intensely fraught. Now that the writers and actors strikes are over, Hollywood needs to consider exactly how studios and creatives will — and perhaps should — use gen AI models and software tools in the many varied creative processes involved in producing film or TV.

As the industry grapples with the game-changing technology in the coming months, Variety Intelligence Platform’s special report “Generative AI in Film & TV” examines the capabilities and limitations of gen AI models and emerging software through the lens of their present, near-term and future uses in film and television creation.

Generative AI offers an expansive range of possibilities at stages throughout the production value chain. In particular, we analyze the value and usability of this expanding, diverse and powerful set of AI models and tools for tasks in screenwriting, VFX, previsualization, content localization and sound editing.

And it’s already beginning to disrupt traditional methods, with generative AI tools currently used to automate some creative tasks. Still, its impact stands to be positive, as it eliminates rote work, speeds project timelines and allows productions to pursue previously impossible creative paths prohibited by constraints on cost, time and even physical reality. At the same time, its use promises to reduce the need for certain processes and as many workers to achieve the same level of output.

Since the first major public release of generative AI user applications last year, the exponential pace of research and development in the AI community has further improved the capabilities of these systems.

Alongside a rising tide of major tech companies variously developing, open-sourcing and productizing generative AI, several startups have emerged, offering best-in-class software and tools catering to entertainment production and post-production uses.

Research for this report partly draws from over 20 background conversations primarily conducted in August through November 2023 with media & entertainment (M&E) advisers; leaders and founders at generative AI startups; and independent filmmakers involving AI tools and techniques in their processes.

Company participants included Runway, Synthesia, Metaphysic, Wonder Dynamics, Digital Domain, Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ), ElevenLabs, Deepdub, Resemble AI, DeepBrain AI, Luma AI and Fable Studio.

For the purposes of this report, our focus is the impact of generative AI in film and TV production. For additional research, we point back to our October edition, “Generative AI & Entertainment: Part 2,” examining the legal and labor risks of gen AI for the film and TV industry as well as potential mitigations. Our April 2023 report, “Generative AI & Entertainment,” presented the full scope of use cases across entertainment domains, including film, TV, music and gaming.