Thrilling


Sometimes, when I work on a project, there’s nothing we can publicly show until the product launches. And sometimes, by the time the product gets attention, I’m off working on the next big thing and can’t enjoy the show, except by proxy.

In this case, Big Stage has partnered with SonyBMG & YouTube to bring you a free sneak preview of our technology. Needless to say, we’re all very excited to see how it goes.

The process is pretty simple from your point of view: you take and upload three slightly different digital photos of your face to MichaelJackson.com (account registration required), wait an hour or so while our big iron servers do some really heavy math, and then you receive an email telling you the YouTube URL of your finished personalized Thriller video, which you can share as you wish.

That’s it.

The result will be something like this — though imagine your own face in place of my 7 month old son’s — and note: it’s not really designed for kids’ faces:

 

The art and science behind this demo is very impressive. It requires creating a life-like 3D avatar for each person to be dubbed into a video clip which has been "BigStage Enabled" such that it can accept those avatars and animate them appropriately. Once we do that, we can put pretty much anyone in any video we touch.

Will it fool anyone? Will Dick Cheney playing golf (or even going duck hunting) with Osama Bin Laden soon become breaking news on CNN, only to be outed as a fake by a seething Dan Rather? Not anytime soon. But that’s not the point. The first applications of this technology are simply to have fun, see yourself doing things you might never do, go places you might never go, and share the results with your friends.

That’s not to say there aren’t more serious uses too. And those will become clear as we begin to really launch this technology in a big way.

Ah, but what about the content owners, you ask? Won’t they mind having their precious content being mashed up and repurposed like this?

Some might, and we’ll talk patiently with those. But SonyBMG, for example, was thrilled (sorry) about us using this video to help promote the 25th anniversary of one of their top money-making albums of all time. They immediately got it. Other big names have too.

After the fall of DRM and the failure of the RIAA to do anything but steal from their customers and retard technology growth, I think the movie studios, networks, and sponsors will be more than happy to give away 30-60 second clips of interesting content that will only create loyalty, good feelings, and drive sales higher.

It’s a whole new world, and all the world’s a stage — a really big stage.

  1. #1 by Min Heo on March 6, 2008 - 6:13 pm

    I have tried MichaelJackson.com, but I can’t find where I can upload 3 photos. Can you explain how to, more?

  2. #2 by avi on March 6, 2008 - 6:23 pm

    It’s not on the main MJ page yet. The PR will come soon.

    Click the link I posted above, or this one: http://www.michaeljackson.com/mythrillervideo

    You’ll need to register for their site and do a verification step. After that, you should upload 3 photos as the instructions describe, straight, slightly turned, and slightly turned more (see the examples). You’ll get a confirmation email, and then another email a few hours later when YouTube has finished converting the video to their Flash streaming format.

  3. #3 by Michelle Tourigny on March 6, 2008 - 8:54 pm

    Avi,
    That is just plain freaky. :)
    Michelle in Australia

  4. #4 by Daniel on March 19, 2008 - 10:25 am

    Oh man, I want to play with you guys now.

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