Shakespeare hops into a Zoom call only to find himself face to face with a famous 19th-century Ukrainian poetess. They dive into conversation, discussing the happenings of the past three centuries.
"Why not?" we thought and, thanks to our technologies, brought this unlikely meeting to life in an AI-generated video. Recently showcased at the Cultural Diplomacy Forum in London, this plot carries a deeper message.
In this article, we'll share the reasons behind this project, what we aimed to convey, and how we made it happen.
This year's Cultural Diplomacy Forum, organized by the Ukrainian Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, took place in London on December 4. The Forum is an annual conference that brings together leading experts from Ukraine and other countries to discuss insights, best practices, challenges, and the future of international cultural diplomacy and relations.
Our video was presented as a part of the Forum's panel “Cultural Diplomacy in the Age of Advanced Technologies”.
We aimed to demonstrate that modern technologies are integral to cultural dialogue. They can address not only digital tasks but also serve as effective tools for conveying more emotional messages. Generative AI tools have the power to impress, inform, and educate.
"With this seemingly simple video, our intention was to convey a genuinely complex message — the significance of shared values. They act as the unifying force that defines who we are. In today's context, modern technology plays a crucial role in enabling us to communicate such multi-layered messages in a manner that is simple, appealing, and universally understandable to everyone." – comments Anton Volovyk, co-CEO of Reface.
Why we choose Lesia Ukrainka and Shakespeare as video's main characters? Lesia, separated from Shakespeare by three centuries, translated his works into Ukrainian and admired him greatly. Today, their imaginary dialogue embodies a conversation between different eras and two different countries. The video aims to establish a parallel between today's amicable nations, Ukraine and Britain, emphasizing that despite distinct historical backgrounds, common values unite them.
How We Crafted the Video
- First, we created AI portraits of the characters based on open data about their appearance, utilizing an improved version of our AI Avatar technology.
- The first challenge was to achieve the required similarity with their appearances from the original portraits.
- Next, we refined the style of the images themselves to capture the spirit of their era while ensuring a modern and fresh look in a new way
- The ultimate iteration of characters portraits creation.
- We utilized our reenactment technology to breathe life into these stunning yet motionless portraits. This technology enables us to capture speech mimicry and then, with the assistance of AI, translate them into the portraits, effectively bringing the heroes to life. Our characters' voices are also AI generated.
Some Highlightgs From the Event
Seunghye Sun, director of the Korean Cultural Center UK, emphasized that 'Cultural diplomacy has an emotional component, and this should be taken into account. At the same time, I am confident that the involvement of artificial intelligence in cultural diplomacy will open a new era for our common future.'
We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Seunghye Sun. Reface's mission is to develop AI in as many creative directions as possible and showcase its functional role for every person in the world.