The new video clip of Washed Out was made with OpenAI's Sora technology

“The Hardest Part,” a new song from indie pop artist Washed Out, is all about lost love, one of the most human themes.

But ironically, to illustrate the tune's yearning, the musician turned to something far less flesh and blood: artificial intelligence.

With Thursday's release of “The Hardest Part,” Macon, Georgia-based Washed Out, whose real name is Ernest Greene, has marked the first collaboration between a major music artist and filmmaker on a music video using OpenAI's Sora text-to-video technology, according to the singer-songwriter's record label Sub Pop.

The approximately four-minute video, directed by Paul Trillo, quickly zooms the viewer through the most important elements of a couple's life. The audience sees the characters – a red-haired woman and a dark-haired man – from making out and smoking in an 1980s high school to getting married and having a child. “Don't cry, it's okay now,” Greene says. “The hardest part is that you can't go back.”

The couple is not played by real actors. They are created completely digitally via Sora's AI.

The video could mark the start of a potentially game-changing trend of using AI in video production.

“I think where we are now, that's about to explode, and so I'm looking forward to being able to integrate some of this brand new technology and see how that shapes what I can come up with,” Greene said in an interview. “So if that is pioneering, I would like to be part of it.”

“The Hardest Part” – the first single from Greene's new self-produced album “Notes From a Quiet Life,” out June 28 – is the longest music video created with Sora technology to date. The program creates short clips based on written text prompts. This allowed Trillo to build scenes in a way that would have been many times more expensive with real actors, sets and locations.

“Not having the constraints of budget and having to travel to different locations allowed me to explore all these different, alternative outcomes of this couple's lives,” Trillo said.

Trillo is among the creatives who have early access to Sora, which is not yet publicly available. OpenAI unveiled Sora in February and has been testing the system with directors and meeting with Hollywood executives and producers. It works to solve problems and address intellectual property issues.

AI innovations have been hugely controversial in many corners, including the music industry, which has been plagued by the use of 'deepfakes', or video and audio that falsely uses the image or voice of an artist. Musicians and others have pushed for legislation to combat such misleading creations, and talent agencies are working with tech startups to tackle unauthorized digital impersonation.

The introduction of Sora – from the same company that created the text-based AI model ChatGPT – raised concerns within Hollywood and elsewhere about its potentially devastating impact on jobs and production. Still, it sparked excitement among some creatives about the ways it could help them realize their vision on screen without being limited by special effects budgets and travel restrictions.

Both Greene and Trillo said they could do more with Sora than with real sets within their budget. Sub Pop did not disclose the cost of the video. The music artist did not pay OpenAI to use the technology for the music video.

The two men had explored other ideas, including hiring dancers and filming in a location similar to the green hills in art for Greene's new album, but that proved difficult due to time and financial constraints. So Trillo suggested experimenting with Sora.

Greene, whose music TV audiences may recognize from the theme song of the satirical sketch comedy show “Portlandia,” was hesitant at first.

“I feel like my music and most of the videos I've made over the years always start in a really emotional, heartfelt place,” Greene said, noting that many of the examples of AI videos he's had seen, existed. in the dreaded 'uncanny valley', human but eerily artificial.

Nevertheless, Greene was willing to experiment. So Trillo tried different concepts to see what would work in the video. Using the technology, he was able to explore all the different outcomes of the couple's lives in multiple locations by creating extensive text-based clues. He completed the video in about six weeks, editing about 55 clips into the video from the approximately 700 he generated with Sora.

“This meant I didn't have to do any editing myself,” Trillo said. “I could really just try things and that organically creates a different kind of story because I can throw so much at the wall and see what sticks.”

To generate usable clips, Greene had to write prompts with enough specific detail not only about the footage itself, but also about the shooting angles and movements of the characters. “We zoom through the bubble popping out and we zoom through the bubble gum and onto an open football field,” Trillo wrote as part of his request for a short video clip. “The scene moves quickly and shows a front perspective, making the students look taller and faster.”

The final music video for “The Hardest Part” shows various locations including a high school, a supermarket, rolling hills, a hallway with billowing white sheets, and fire burning through the walls.

Ernest Greene, known as a music artist "Washed out," will have a new album, "Notes from a Quiet Life," released on June 28.

Ernest Greene, known as music artist 'Washed Out', will release a new album on June 28.

(Ernest Greene)

There were some limitations. Sometimes Trillo would have an idea and Sora would pick it up. Other times it would create something chaotic and unusable. The videos allegedly contained inconsistencies, which Trillo sometimes simply wanted to overlook. The characters look a little different from clip to clip, as does the couple's child.

Part of the video's artful charm is its dreamlike state: memories of a couple's lives that illustrate the darkness of human memory.

“You have to know where to start your battle,” Trillo said of Sora. “You have to give up a little bit of your free will when you work this thing and you have to accept a little bit of how chaotic it is.”

“I was absolutely blown away by how far he could go in putting together a story,” Greene said.

Both Greene and Trillo said they see AI as potentially providing more opportunities for humans to advance the music video art form. Music videos are a logical medium to play with AI because they are usually short and cost much less to make than feature films and television episodes.

However, Trillo said it is important to him that this is not used as a new main method of creation, but rather as a tool in the tool belt.

“A lot of music videos just don't have the budget to really dream big,” Trillo said. “I think AI can help the music industry create things that even Ernest could dream of and that he might not have dreamed of before.”

Related Posts

  • Business
  • July 19, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 3 minutes Read
18 Silk and Great Value plant-based milk alternatives recalled in Canada due to listeria deaths and illnesses

Toronto —Two people in Canada have died from infections with listeria bacteria after consuming plant-based milk alternatives sold under the brands Silk, made by Danone, and Walmart's Great Value, the…

  • Business
  • July 19, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 2 minutes Read
Stocks Making the Biggest After-hours Moves: ISRG, NFLX, PLUG

These are the stocks making notable moves after the market closed on July 18. Netflix — The streaming giant fell less than 1% after beating top and bottom line estimates…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Pelosi has told House Democrats that Biden may soon be convinced to withdraw from the race

  • July 19, 2024
Pelosi has told House Democrats that Biden may soon be convinced to withdraw from the race

18 Silk and Great Value plant-based milk alternatives recalled in Canada due to listeria deaths and illnesses

  • July 19, 2024
18 Silk and Great Value plant-based milk alternatives recalled in Canada due to listeria deaths and illnesses

Trump Bitcoin Conference Fundraising Tickets for Nashville Soiree Hit $844,600 Max

  • July 19, 2024
Trump Bitcoin Conference Fundraising Tickets for Nashville Soiree Hit $844,600 Max

Solar parks with rainwater management reduce runoff and erosion, research shows

  • July 19, 2024
Solar parks with rainwater management reduce runoff and erosion, research shows

Food aroma research could help explain why meals in space taste bad

  • July 19, 2024
Food aroma research could help explain why meals in space taste bad

The mindset, technology and tools holding back e-commerce

  • July 19, 2024
The mindset, technology and tools holding back e-commerce

Writer Shalom Auslander catalogs his lifelong battle with self-contempt in ‘Feh’ : NPR

  • July 19, 2024
Writer Shalom Auslander catalogs his lifelong battle with self-contempt in ‘Feh’ : NPR

Canadian Jacob Shaffleburg, Colombian Richard Rios and Copa America stars set for transfers

  • July 19, 2024

Trump speaks at RNC amid Biden election questions

  • July 19, 2024
Trump speaks at RNC amid Biden election questions

Stocks Making the Biggest After-hours Moves: ISRG, NFLX, PLUG

  • July 19, 2024
Stocks Making the Biggest After-hours Moves: ISRG, NFLX, PLUG

The Key to a Purposeful Life in a Distracted World

  • July 19, 2024
The Key to a Purposeful Life in a Distracted World