Artificial Intelligence - What Is Automatic Film Editing?


Automatic film editing is a method of assembling full motion movies in which an algorithm, taught to obey fundamental cinematography standards, cuts and sequences footage.

Automated editing is part of a larger endeavor, known as intelligent cinematography, to include artificial intelligence into filmmaking.

Alfred Hitchcock, the legendary director, predicted that an IBM computer will one day be capable of converting a written script into a polished picture in the mid-1960s.

Many of the concepts of modern filmmaking were created by Alfred Hitchcock.

His argument that, if feasible, the size of a person or item in frame should be proportionate to their importance in the plot at that precise moment in time is one well-known rule of thumb.

"Exit left, enter right," which helps the audience follow lateral motions of actors on the screen, and the 180 and 30-degree principles for preserving spatial connections between subjects and the camera, are two more film editing precepts that arose through extensive experience by filmmakers.

Over time, these principles evolved into heuristics that regulate shot selection, editing, and rhythm and tempo.

Joseph Mascelli's Five C's of Cinematography (1965), for example, has become a large knowledge base for making judgments regarding camera angles, continuity, editing, closeups, and composition.

These human-curated guidelines and human-annotated movie stock material and snippets gave birth to the first artificial intelligence film editing systems.

IDIC, created by Warren Sack and Marc Davis at the MIT Media Lab in the early 1990s, is an example of a system from that era.

IDIC is based on Herbert Simon, J. C. Shaw, and Allen Newell's General Issue Solver, an early artificial intelligence software that was supposed to answer any general problem using the same fundamental method.

IDIC was used to create fictitious Star Trek television trailers based on a human-specified narrative plan focusing on a certain plot element.

Several film editing systems depend on idioms, or standard techniques for editing and framing recorded action in certain contexts.

The idioms themselves will differ depending on the film's style, the setting, and the action to be shown.

In this manner, experienced editors' expertise may be accessed using case-based reasoning, with prior editing recipes being used to tackle comparable present and future challenges.

Editing for combat sequences, like regular character talks, follows standard idiomatic route methods.

This is the method used by Li-wei He, Michael F. Cohen, and David H. Salesin in their Virtual Cinema tographer, which uses expert idiom knowledge in the editing of fully computer-generated video for interactive virtual environments.

He's group created the Declarative Camera Control Language (DCCL), which formalizes the control of camera locations in the editing of CGI animated films to match cinematographic traditions.

Researchers have lately begun experimenting with deep learning algorithms and training data extracted from existing collections of well-known films with good cinematographic quality to develop recommended best cuts of new films.

Many of the latest apps may be used with mobile, drone, or portable devices.

Short and interesting films constructed from pictures taken by amateurs with smartphones are projected to become a preferred medium of interaction over future social media due to easy automated video editing.

Photography is presently filling that need.

In machinima films generated with 3D virtual game engines and virtual actors, automatic film editing is also used as an editing technique.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Workplace Automation.

Further Reading

Galvane, Quentin, Rémi Ronfard, and Marc Christie. 2015. “Comparing Film-Editing.” In Eurographics Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing, edited by William H. Bares, Marc Christie, and Rémi Ronfard, 5–12. Aire-la-Ville, Switzerland: Eurographics Association.

He, Li-wei, Michael F. Cohen, and David H. Salesin. 1996. “The Virtual Cinematographer: A Paradigm for Automatic Real-Time Camera Control and Directing.” In 

Proceedings of SIGGRAPH ’96, 217–24. New York: Association for Computing Machinery.

Ronfard, Rémi. 2012. “A Review of Film Editing Techniques for Digital Games.” In Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing.

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