Messing around with Deep Fakes

Asa as Frodo

I’ve been playing around with Deep Fakes a lot over the last couple of years. It isn’t something I’ve invested a lot of time in because… it takes a lot of time. But of course, being locked down, there’s suddenly more time to play with, and the tools and scripts get more and more powerful all the time.

Asa Butterfield once told me he wished he’d been involved in The Lord of The Rings films, and that gave me the idea that I could try and Deep Fake him into some scenes as a little project. The first attempts were awful, but this one, while still quite bad, is a marked improvement since I only trained the model overnight. For the source footage, I had started out using footage of Asa from Sex Education, but those scenes were often dark and heavily graded and had few front-on shots. Instead, I used some footage we got of him during an interview we did for The Reel Scene after his Masterclass last year. Even though these results are rough – the face is soft, the hairline border is a bit ropey… it’s faithfully learned how to incorporated his glasses, even on an angle.

Deep Fake - before and after
Deep Fake – before and after

At some point, maybe if there’s a second wave of this virus, I’ll sit down and do it properly, Maybe for the whole film! And as audio deep faking is probably going to get better, I might be able to replace Elijah completely. Roll on the lawsuits!

Rediscovering the 80s with Stranger Things

Stranger Things

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to binge a show and thoroughly enjoy it as much as I have done the new Netflix series Stranger Things. Created by the Duffer brothers, the tagline is “When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.”

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WordPress themes – rebuilding The Stoner’s Cookbook

The Stoner's Cookbook Wordpress Theme

Among other things, I’m the CTO of a little website called The Stoner’s Cookbook. This month we released the first major site rebuild in years, and I wanted to post about the experience of building a WordPress theme from scratch. It’s a bit of a cathartic review of the process and illustrates the sort of issues you might deal with as a developer. I’m no expert, and might be (and am quite frequently) wrong, but it’s better to be wrong and learn something than think you’re right all the time.

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