The creators of South Park, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone, were able to secure a $20 million investment for their AI entertainment start-up Deep Voodoo. According to Variety.com, the funding was led by Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between CAA and venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. This signals a major step forward for the budding start-up as this would be its first outside capital raised. Up to this investment, Deep Voodoo has been funded entirely Park County, Parker and Stone’s independent entertainment company. According to the pair, the purpose of the 20 million investment is to “accelerate Deep Voodoo’s development of its leading deepfake technology, cost-effective visual effects services and original synthetic media projects.”
But that’s not all. It’s clear that Deep Voodoo’s efforts are to help further infuse AI into entertainment. In their announcement, they also said, “We stumbled upon this amazing technology and ended up recruiting the best deepfake artists in the world…We are psyched to share their brilliance with the Hollywood creative community.” Already, Deep Voodoo has done some interesting work within entertainment. The start-up provided VFX for Kendrick Lamar’s The Heart Part 5 music video which was released back in May. In the video, the singer’s face transformed into the visages of well-known figures such as the late Kobe Bryant, Jussie Smollett, OJ Simpson, and others.
You can watch for yourself below:
But their move to deep fake technology was thanks in part to the pandemic. Back in early 2020, they with other artists were working on a feature film about former President Trump. Due to the outbreak of Covid, that project was suspended, paving the way for the start-up to focus efforts on being a premier provider of deepfake technology. Michael Blank, who is head of consumer investments at CAA also said in a statement, “Deep Voodoo has established itself as a leading synthetic media technology platform that has already impacted traditional entertainment…Deep Voodoo uses artificial intelligence to support productions in innovative ways that are faster and more cost-effective than traditional VFX technology. Connect Ventures is thrilled to lead the investment in Deep Voodoo, providing unique access to CAA and NEA’s resources and relationships.”
Though using AI-powered tools to alter actors and musicians isn’t new, it’s another major step forward toward the acceptance of AI in entertainment. One notable studio that has fully embraced the technology is Disney. From developing de-aging technology for use on actors to AI-powered tools to generate original voice-over work, AI is fast becoming an investment of choice in entertainment.
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