Machine learning as film critic

While identifying a Wes Anderson movie is probably something many moviegoers could do without complex AI, the creator of a new machine learning program called Machine Visions is hoping he can learn more about what makes an auteur’s works distinct.

[Yannick] Assogba uses four of Anderson’s films as source for his project — The Life AquaticThe Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom — from which he extracts a frame every 10 seconds, for a sample of 2,309 frames in total.

Assogba investigates color and recurring motifs in Anderson’s works, drawing out themes from the machine learning much faster than a human would be able to watch and process the images.

The Life Aquatic pixel grid

Each frame that the program analyzed from The Life Aquatic is displayed as a single pixel in this grid

Why It’s Hot

Machine visions not only provides an interesting way to look at film and cinematography through the lens of technology, it provides a detailed and accessible framework for starting to understand machine learning. By introducing people to machine learning through art and pop culture, Assogba gives both technical and non-technical people a reason to explore further.

“It can suggest similarities and juxtapositions for a human to look at, some are ones we would find ourselves while others might be surprising or poetic because of imperfections in the algorithms and models.”

Learn more  i-DMashable | Machine Visions

The future of VR filmmaking

I shared this with the Army team but if you haven’t seen it it’s worth watching. My Brother’s Keeper isn’t your typical VR movie. The PBS film, which premiered at Sundance last week, uses its period setting to show off several new filmmaking techniques, including the first 120 fps slow-motion recording in VR and the use of a customized action camera rig.

Why It’s Hot

We’ve all seen VR/360 video examples with lots of bells and whistles. But very often the techniques eclipse the story. As Engadget described “…most important, it uses all of that technical wizardry to craft a genuinely moving story.” When form and function meet art and heart.

Deadpool’s Unconventional Marketing Pays Off

If you’ve been watching TV or on the internet at all in the past few months, you know that Deadpool was released this past weekend. With a heavy social media campaign, Deadpool was anywhere and everyone with clever marketing tactics including: positioning as a romantic film, emoji posters, and even a PSA for for Testicular Cancer.

The marketing is both tongue-in-cheek and meta with fourth-wall breaking. There seems to be little difference between the character of Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds, the actor who plays him — as much of the content has been released on Reynolds’ own social pages.

The success of the campaign can be attributed to the crazy and fun promotional stunts pulled such as Deadpool running for El Presidente, complete with his own SuperPac as well as tweeting during the premiere of ABC’s “The Bachelor” and having his own Tinder account.



Other examples include an “Extra” interview comfirming the R-Rating of the film. That video has since received over 8 million views. Deadpool also counted down the days to Christmas with “12 Days of Deadpool,” with new pieces of content being distributed daily, culminating in the release of the second movie trailer.

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Why It’s Hot

Besides attracting lots of attention for their marketing stunts, Deadpool was able to shatter box office records its opening weekend, soaring past $130 million to make it the biggest opening ever for an R-rated movie. Fox had predicted an opening weekend of about $70 million. Because of its success, 20th Century Fox is considering making the third “Wolverine” movie R-Rated.

Hardcore: The World’s First Full-POV Action Movie

After earning viral success for his music video a year ago, musician and filmmaker Ilya Naishuller has created a new film that takes POV filming techniques to a new level.

Dubbed “Hardcore,” the film is touted as the world’s first full-POV action movie, meaning as the viewer you are experiencing the cinematic world from a complete 1st-person perspective… as if you are inside the body of the hero. “Hardcore” was filmed entirely using GoPro cameras and features an international cast.

Watching the sneak-peek below (begins at the 4-minute mark), you find the experience like a “live” action video game.

Why It’s Hot

“Hardcore” may not be the best movie ever made, but that’s not why we’re talking about it. “Hardcore” shows that filmmakers, creatives and advertisers need to rethink how we tell brand stories and communicate product experiences. Technology has already created platforms that enable first-person experiences. Marketing needs to become more about experiencing the world around a product, not just a gimmicky way of seeing the product itself.

“Gone Girl” Pinterest Offers Clues into Girl’s Mysterious Disappearance

“Gone Girl” is the fictional story of a woman who suddenly goes missing, whose husband is presumed to be responsible for her disappearance. Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind turning the bestselling novel into a film, is giving fans an inside look at lead character Amy Dunne’s life. In today’s modern world, it’s common for a digital footprint to be left behind by victims of crime, and in gearing up for next month’s film release, the movie studio invites fans to discover who Amy Dunne was before she went missing via her Pinterest page.

See the “Gone Girl” trailer and read more via the TODAY Show.

Why It’s Hot: The content on Amy Dunne’s highly-curated boards shines a spotlight on her personality and offer clues to understanding her story. For those who haven’t read the novel, Amy’s Pinterest paints a picture of her that will leave viewers guessing – and as Twentieth Century Fox executives surely hope, wanting to see the movie.

Social media accounts for movies isn’t a new concept, but accounts officially devoted to characters might be. This could be a new way of marketing stories (whether from the screen or in print) in the digital age, by letting the characters speak for themselves and tell their own story.

Mercedes-Benz builds community by outsourcing CLA Instagram film

Mercedes-Benz UK is allowing consumers to direct and create a scene for a short film featuring the CLA-class. Using the hashtag #CLAStory, Instagram followers can upload scenes that correspond with three previously recorded clips found on Mercedes-Benz UK’s Instagram, Facebook and Web site.

Read more here.

Why It’s HOT

It’s interesting to see how luxury brands are increasingly testing new waters. Moving from the days of perfection to the approachable, user-led world of platforms such as Instagram.

Instagram campaigns are not new to luxury car brands.

For example, BMW of North America allowed fans to reserve one of 29 thirtieth anniversary BMW M5s to be sold in the United States exclusively through information revealed on Instagram (se story here).




20 Strangers Kissing: An Experiment

On Tatia Pilieva’s short film First Kiss, the premise is simple: Get 20 complete strangers to passionately kiss. Nothing more. The result: a beautiful black-and-white tribute to every first kiss you’ve ever had, brought to you by fashion brand Wren Studio.


Published on 3/10:  2.5 MM people have watched the film in just one day. + 16MM views by 3/11. +41.5MM by 3/12.

Read more here and here.

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Why It’s Hot

Just seconds in, you’ll be screaming at your computer, “Just kiss already!”

Will it be awkward? Creepy? Uncomfortable? It’s like pitching new business: you have to seduce a stranger, hoping for a good night kiss.

Right on tone, voice, personality. This brand, who has probably not spend a marketing dollar outside of their owned properties, has proven that 3:29 of humanity will do the work.




Heineken gives Twitter users a shot at Tribeca

Heineken is inviting filmmakers to submit their concepts on Twitter for a chance at a screening during the Tribeca Film Festival. The #15secondpremiere campaign is part of Heineken’s continued sponsorship of the festival, and it offers a new social call-to-action that encourages people to submit their film concepts via Twitter.

Heineken will select one to produce as a 15-second short to premiere at a private event at the film festival.

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Read more here.

Why It’s Hot

This is the sixth year Heineken has sponsored the film festival, but the first year its involvement has evolved to integrate the traditional event sponsorship with consumer engagement.