Sora AI ‘more of an opportunity than a challenge’ for movie industry
Published: Feb 21, 2024 11:09 PM
AI Photo:VCG

AI Photo:VCG

The beginning of the Year of the Dragon has heralded a "Song of Ice and Fire" with the emergence of Sora, a text-to-video AI model. Videos generated by Sora display strong consistency when it comes to characters and backgrounds, and support continuous shots of up to 60 seconds, including highly detailed settings and multiple camera angles. This implies that with just a text description, ordinary people using Sora may be able to become "great directors" like Jia Ling without undergoing the painful process of weight loss in her new movie Yolo

However, film insiders told the Global Times that currently, AI-generated 60-second videos cannot support the creation of a full-length movie, and the idea that AI tools will "bombard" the film and television industry is so far unfounded. If the dream of "making everyone a director" is to be realized, technology needs to "take another leap."

Regarding the emergence of Sora, experts say not to worry excessively, as the integration of AI will help optimize certain occupations, attract more innovative talents and bring new possibilities to the film and television industry.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic and judge with the Beijing International Film Festival, told the Global Times that Sora is undoubtedly "more of an opportunity than a challenge" for the global film and television industry. 

The invention of any film-related technology presents opportunities for the industry, as film and television are closely linked to technological advancements. The advancement of technology stimulates creativity. From the age of film stock to the digital age, from practical effects to digital effects, from 2D to 3D, Sora, like any technological revolution in the century-long history of film, will improve production efficiency, update production and may even create new genres and trends in filmmaking.

Liu Hui, dean of the school of drama and film at Shenzhen University, told the Global Times that the emergence of Sora is a process of media renewal, and is likely to be incorporated into film and television education and training in the future. Students learning film production can view Sora as a helpful assistant to unleash their sci-fi imagination.

He mentioned that Sora's invention will not threaten large-scale film production but may disrupt some basic and low-cost film and television technologies, as well as the production of short videos. While there may be fewer shoddy special effects, the industry's rule of striving for excellence in visual effects production will remain unchanged. 

Although videos created by Sora are a maximum of one minute in length, industry insiders predict that with OpenAI's iteration speed, producing AI videos dozens of minutes long is not far off. Some are concerned that Sora will bring "disruptive impact" to the entire film and television production and short video industry, and will surlily cause a lot of trouble for copyright protection. Some social media accounts also showed some panic signals that AI tools will threaten the global film industry, especially the world's largest film industry - Hollywood.

However, film insiders refuted that the fundamental DNA of film is art and that human creativity cannot be replaced.

Zhang Peng, a film researcher at Nanjing University's National Research Center of Cultural Industries, told the Global Times that highly emotional and individualized creative work in film and television cannot be replaced by Sora. 

Creativity and film production requires the integration of emotional experiences and individual memories. Many directors, screenwriters, and actors achieve great works by continuously integrating personal emotions and life experiences. In the era of gradually maturing personal IP creation, this kind of individual creativity cannot be imitated by machines like Sora.

However, some technical organizations indeed need to consider transitioning from simple "production" toward a more "subjective creation" direction to avoid being replaced by Sora due to the replicable nature of technology.

Shi also echoed that Sora will undoubtedly prompt changes in existing industrial production and may even replace some jobs, which is no different from previous industrial or information revolutions. However, just as the invention of printing did not replace literature or the invention of photography did not replace painting, Sora and its subsequent updates and upgrades will not replace film because the core of these art forms is creativity, which is a unique aspect of human thought.