Face2Face lets you make anyone say stupid things on YouTube

22 Mar 2016

Have you ever felt like you wanted to create a video where you could make a politician say anything you wanted, in real-time, on YouTube? Well, now there’s Face2Face.

The Face2Face system is not exactly a Google-led endeavour, but rather a group effort among researchers from Stanford University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Face swapping has gotten rather popular online lately, largely down to the successful addition of such a feature on Snapchat, but this technology takes it a step further, allowing anyone with a webcam to transmit their facial expressions onto a recorded video.

During the team’s presentation video of Face2Face it took some of the biggest names in international relations – former US president George W Bush; Russian president Vladimir Putin, and US presidential hopeful Donald Trump – and got them to look like they were saying exactly what one of the researchers was.

Not available for the public yet

Explaining how it works in the abstract for its paper, now published online, the team said it achieved the effect using “fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit”.

From the off you can see that it will definitely be of use to those looking to make satirical videos of politicians, but is unlikely to actually convince anyone that the person on the video is saying these ridiculous things.

You won’t get a chance to try it out for some time yet, however, as it’s still in a research phase of development but, speaking to Mashable, team member Matthias Niessner said it could possibly be commercialised in the future.

Sock puppets image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic