Artificial intelligence has been shaking up every industry you can think of, so it’s unsurprising that it’s having an immense impact on filmmaking. The capabilities of generative AI can find ways to contribute to just about every aspect of the film production process, and below are some of the key ways — good and bad — it’s currently changing things up and what it could mean for the industry’s future.

The Good

Right now, AI is a tool that offers augmented intelligence in filmmaking; in other words, it helps streamline processes by assisting people with completing tasks. It can help the film industry with everything from researching audiences to cutting costs.

Audience Research

Behind the scenes of filmmaking, a great deal of work is entirely unseen, including the process that goes into understanding audiences and their interests or preferences. This process is essential in the film industry because it can determine which movies will have broad appeal and generate revenue versus those more likely to flop.

AI can streamline the research process by sorting through vast amounts of data to create an informed summary of how an audience may feel about a specific script or other choices made in the production process (such as casting choices).

Storyboarding and Script Development

AI’s ability to generate images and text can inspire and speed up the story creation process. It can push writers out of positions of writer’s block, help them edit and refine their ideas, and help them start visualizing how the scenes will be captured and presented.

Location Scouting

Finding the perfect location to film is another decision-making process that can be made more efficient with the assistance of AI. Tools can help shortlist places that are suitable for the script and able to accommodate an entire production crew.

AI even has the potential to remove the need to find locations by generating settings that perfectly align with the script. This means that instead of shutting down major casinos (though this was never a concern for ones you can browse this site for) or other high-traffic destinations, AI can recreate these places, saving both production costs and the costs from shutting down businesses during production.

Video Creation and Editing

Sorting through hours of footage is traditionally time-consuming, but AI can sift through large amounts of information quickly. It can even help pull together the footage needed for certain scenes.
Beyond this, AI makes tasks like adding visual effects and CGI and even general video editing significantly easier. While the AI tools that can deliver on all the video editing processes are still relatively new and are not yet refined, they’re already helping filmmakers. Tools like Runway ML and Adobe Firefly are making the creative processes easier and show the potential to do even more in the future.

Reduced Costs and Accessibility

By improving filmmaking workflows and making software easier for anyone to use, what used to be reserved exclusively for big-budget features is now accessible to far more people. This accessibility gives smaller filmmaking crews the tools to bring their films to new levels without relying on a massive budget. Variety says this newfound accessibility “promises to usher in a new level of storytelling that will capture the hearts and minds of people across the globe.”

The Bad and the Potentially Ugly

The topic of AI often brings with it a bit of doom and gloom, with people worried about the potentially harmful capabilities it presents. With filmmaking, there are a few notable concerns, including actor rights, potential job loss, and programmer biases.

With AI tools that can reproduce the likenesses of people and synthesize their voices, there rightfully has been growing concern around actors’ rights to essentially trademark or regulate the use of their likenesses or voices. AI may not have mastered this for creating full-length feature films, but deep-fakes allude to a future that could jeopardize actors’ roles.

The film industry, like others, also has many concerns about the loss of human jobs, and given that AI can play a role in every step of the filmmaking process, job losses aren’t out of the realm of possibility; this was even a part of discussions during the WAG strike of 2023, though the potential job loses impact more than writers and actors.

Another concern frequently brought up during the discussion of AI is programmer biases. The people behind these generative AI tools are unwittingly adding their biases to machine learning processes, and many wonder how this could impact storytelling, representation, and equality.

Final Thoughts: Augmented Creativity Is the Future of Filmmaking

Our desire for the human element is too strong to give over to AI filmmaking in its entirety. David Smith points out in The Guardian that “a film industry that depended solely on AI, rendering actors extinct, would wipe out the circus of gossip columns, late night TV interviews, red carpet film premieres and the Oscars.”

It’s hard to imagine a reality where we let go of these culturally significant things. Humans love to gossip and discover what goes on behind the scenes; it’s a built-in pro-social behavior. For the entertainment industry, the penchant for gossip and glamorous events earns it a pretty penny — so removing this lucrative component of Hollywood is unlikely.

Rather than replacing the whole filmmaking process, we’re much more likely to see AI become an augmenter of our creativity, allowing filmmakers to delve into new levels of storytelling that they could once only dream of. It will shorten the credits list, as fewer people will be needed to bring a major production to life, but it will also provide more creatives with the opportunity to explore their own stories and skills.