* Campaign created and conceptualized by VMLY&R for Ageas Federal Life Insurance
Global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R, unveiled the making of the film using Deepfake AI technology for Ageas Federal Life Insurance (AFLI) latest campaign featuring 11-year-old cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. The recreation process used a mix of custom pre and post processes and innovation took over 3 months, multiple stages, and dozens of technical and artistic experts across India and Spain to complete.
Making of the Video - https://vimeo.com/693461149
SRT Reaction Video - https://vimeo.com/693457577
YouTube link of the final campaign: https://youtu.be/GeF-Aecd0nY
Training Material Challenges
Deepfake AI video regeneration is a complex face-replacement process that only performs as well as the “learning” material that serves as its input. This was the first hurdle as no photographs or videos were available of Sachin at age 11. The few black and white photographs that were from his later teenage years and news interviews were of extremely poor quality and lacking in detail. The VMLY&R team conducted painstaking archival research with the help of the sportstar’s team to first visualise how he looked at a young age and assembled a set of photos and rare archival interviews.
The team auditioned over 40 child actors to find one who balanced performing abilities with a morphological resemblance to young Sachin.
They then proceeded to extract as many angles and expressions as possible from the archival material and a preliminary regenerated video was executed on 8 different young actors to help with the cast selection.
Precision Shooting and Preliminary AI
VMLY&R planned the shooting extremely carefully to ensure proper conditions for the best results, keeping in mind that we had a limited range of head angles. The team had to shoot the actor to mimic the same light conditions as in the archival photos, to get additional layers of information on each compositing.
Before editing, a second preliminary AI regeneration technique was applied to the best shots to make the take selection easier, to ensure that Sachin’s expressions looked believable. Once we had all takes and sources, a final calculation was done to get as many details and expressions as possible.
Integration and 3D
In the third stage, integration of the AI-generated visual layers over the young actor takes was performed. When comparing the results to the reference pictures, it was found that additional facial shape transformations on the chin were necessary to match a resemblance with the target at this age.
So the team had to innovate again. A 3D model of a young Sachin's head was built based on the young Sachin photographs. This head was match-moved on every take to provide guidelines for proper shape adjustment.
VMLY&R even developed a technique to transfer details of the original actor to complete the missing details on young Sachin. Realistic face details such as the interior of the eyes had to be manually restored to increase the likeness. Next, additional 3D layers provided realistic were added lighting and texturing resources.
The VMLY&R team included some details that are the gold standard for Deepfake tests and can never be achieved with traditional Deepfake techniques - Such as a ball passing in front of the face, the head hiding behind the arm while he was performing with the bat.
At the end of the third stage, after colour adjustment, an artistic touch was an “old videotape look”, that helped melt original and post-produced layers together.
And finally, Sachin’s unmistakable voice had to be de-aged. The legend agreed to spend an entire day recording in a studio. With every take, we manually de-aged the voice and had to place it on the Deepfake output to make sure it matched and sounded authentic.
Commenting on the campaign, Mukund Olety, Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R India said, “It’s amazing what we can do with technology. We can tell stories that could have never been told before. We wanted an inspiring figure to convince parents to overcome their fears with better financial planning from Ageas Federal Life Insurance, and who is better than our protagonist - the 11-year-old Sachin. While we knew this was something we could achieve using technologies such as DeepFake AI, unfortunately for us, we didn’t have any pre-existing videos of Sachin as a child. Instead of letting that stop us, we found our way through custom tech innovations.”
The TVC is supported with integrated social, print and outdoor pieces.
VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Made up of more than 12,000 employees worldwide, the agency has principal offices in Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R India encompasses VMLY&R, The Glitch and VMLY&R Commerce, and works with client partners including Colgate Palmolive, Marico, Ford, ICICI Bank, Kraft Heinz, Future Group, PepsiCo, Abbott Pharma and Swaraj Tractors. For more information, visit www.vmlyr.com. VMLY&R is a WPP company (NYSE: WPP).