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Masks and Deep Fake Videos

Back in 2012 we did a blog article about using masks; and still today you may get asked by a Video Director if you can create a mask - he's not looking for a Covid-19 face covering, but a standard technique in image editing software that allows you to hide or protect areas of your visuals; you’ve probably seen it most visibly used when someone’s car number plate has been ‘masked’ and the detail blurred so that you can’t see the registration number.

A more creative use of masks is when they are used to disguise something you don’t want appearingin vision, without the viewer knowing that you’ve done it!  And interestingly the latest development of 'Deep Fakes' in 2020-2121 has been much talked about on the TV and in the news.  This uses the same masking concept in conjunction with AI and takes it to an entirely different level.   If any of you saw 'The Alternative queen's Speech' on Christmas Day and subsequent Dispatches programme on Channel 4, you'll have caught a glimpse of the power of this development.  Of course there are concerns over whether you should believe what you see in the future because there is scope for the Deep Fake to be used for nefarious means of corrupting messages and images to influence the way people think about particular subjects.  The Police and Cybercrime investigators are on the tail of fakers, and news outlets are also taking extra care to verify whether something that's reported on the internet is actually true before repeating it, but it's a growing battle. 

For genuine creatives in video and film it's an interesting idea and opens up opportunities to businesses to use video in a different way - mind you don’t get too excited, though it’s perfectly possibly to do this sort of thing,  for most corporate video there is no substitute for the getting the images correct - as a production company we're certainly not interested in faking anything in order to deceive the viewer.  However, if Deep Faking is being use to enhance a creative concept, such as where HSBC have investigated with their online service responders, well maybe there is some scope for making Deep Fakes positive outcomes - and maybe in our Covid-19 world it's something that can be used for good.

Going back to the very basic and perhaps old school styles, a maskingeffect can also be created by using graded glass tints over a camera lens; but of course that’s something that can look amazing, but it's to enhance the image and not to fake it.  If you want to enhance an image, it is more sensible to create such an effect in post production rather than during the filming, at least that way you can change your mind should the brief change – and we all know that that happens, don’t we!?

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