The TikTok account that brought together actor Tom Cruise’s deepfakes caused an astonishment by the quality of the videos, which leave few clues that they are montages. However, the creator of these works himself has minimized the impact of the clips – and does not think they are as dangerous as they appear.
The responsible for the videos is the special effects artist Chris Ume, a Belgian who has already done similar works putting the faces of celebrities in different situations. He was interviewed by The Verge, explaining the works better and giving an opinion on the current situation of artificial intelligence.
“You can’t do that just by pressing a button. This is important, it’s a message that I wanted to get across to people. By combining traditional computer graphics and visual effects with deepakes, I made it better. I made sure you wouldn’t see the flaws” , he explains.
According to Ume, each video took “weeks” of work using professional video editing tools and algorithms. Also according to the artist, the profile achieved its goal of amusing and raising public awareness about the existence of deepfakes, in addition to being a portfolio for the professional himself. TikTok will not delete the account, as it makes it clear that it is a parody – and Tom Cruise himself recently opened his own account there.
In terms of backstage, he even explained how he did it to recreate Tom Cruise. The secret was to use a colleague, a lookalike of the star named Miles Fisher, who over time was able to study and imitate the actor’s gestures and impressions, making the deepfake’s job a lot easier.
Despite the criminal use in the case of pornographic videos or to create montages for political use, for example, Ume does not believe in a negative impact of deepfakes. However, he acknowledges that this technology “is here to stay” and that “everyone believes in them”.
“It’s like Photoshop twenty years ago. People didn’t know what photo editing was, and now they know about these forgeries,” he adds.