New Software May Change the Way We Win Oscars

Senior Editor
10.12.10 16 Comments

The idea that an actor could undergo a drastic transformation for a role and automatically become a candidate for critical acclaim

Scientists in Germany have developed software that can make actors appear thinner, fatter, taller or more buff on screen.
The program MovieReshape, developed by researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute, could mean an end to actors risking their health by gaining or losing dangerous amounts to suit a role. Think of Robert de Niro adding 60 pounds for “Raging Bull” or Christian Bale dropping nearly 70 lbs for “The Machinist.”
The software can alter an actor’s muscle tone or body shape and can be used on existing video material. In one test of the program, scientists took a sequence of “Baywatch” and buffed up a lead actor, making him seem even more muscular than in real life.

Jesus, what is it with Germans and Baywatch?  Leave David Chokachi alone. Making his body more perfect than normal could tear a hole in the fabric of space-time like the Large Hadron Collider.

“You could use it to do something similar to what they did to Brad Pitt on ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ making him younger or older but much faster and with less computing power,” Scientist Christian Theobalt said. “What would take days using conventional SFX software our model can do in a matter of hours.”
Another potential cost-saver would be on commercials. Theobalt said instead of using several different actors for a spot shown around the world, a common practice for many products, an advertiser could shoot one and adjust their physical characteristics to suit local “standards of beauty.” [THR]

(*drops burnt cork and oversized red lipstick*)  The software can do what now?  Aw, dammit.  I knew I was going to have to get a new gig sooner or later.  (*softshoes offstage*)

“Hmmm, I like this Brad Pitt fellow, but could you make him… more Chinese?”

“…Enhance. …Enhance. …”

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