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Research

Daniela Rosner

Winter 2024

Generative Cinematography: Critical and Creative Reckonings with AI Filmmaking

Led by PhD Student Brett Halperin with guidance from Associate Professor Daniela Rosner 

In this studio-based DRG, we will reckon with the creative potentials and perils of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for independent/amateur filmmaking. Amid recent advances in large language models such as DALL-E, GPT, Runway AI, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, AI is increasingly generating moving pictures, screenplays, and sounds, as well as supporting post-production. On one hand, AI is threatening to undermine artists and the humanistic craft of filmmaking. From a labor standpoint, Hollywood film workers have striked against exploitative uses of automation. What is more, AI is raising critical concerns around training data ethics, as well as the generation of algorithmically-biased representations, narratives, and sounds. On the other hand, AI might present potential to lower barriers for low-resourced independent/amateur filmmakers. For filmmakers with social-justice oriented agendas, reappropriating AI might offer a way to expose its harms and possibly even generate otherworldly possibilities. As this tension seems to reanimate how the invention of the camera threatened painting, we will work through and against how AI troubles filmmaking, examining who and what gets lost. 

Students will work as individuals or in groups to produce a short film approximately 2-10 mins long. Films can experiment with generative AI to produce screenplays, imagery, and/or sound, as well as support post-production processing. Films can also choose to subvert or resist the use of AI by engendering a social critique about the technology. 

Each student will: 

  • Produce a short film (as an individual or group) that reckons with AI
  • Write a reflection on the role of AI in the filmmaking process
  • Explore, critique, and catalog nascent AI filmmaking tools
  • Share works in progress and participate in critiques
  • Watch, analyze and discuss films made with AI
  • Read relevant literature on generative AI and digital filmmaking
  • Attend weekly meetings/screenings (date/time/location TBD)

The DRG will be graded credit/no-credit for 2-5 variable credits, where 1 credit = 3 hours of work per week (e.g., 1.5 hours of work in class + 7.5 hours of work outside of class = 3 credits total). 

Application Process:
We are looking for a limited number of undergraduate and graduate students to join in this DRG. Basic filmmaking and editing skills are required. Other relevant skills and backgrounds will also be considered. No prior experience with AI or coding is required. To apply, please fill out this application. If you have any questions, you can email Brett Halperin at bhalp@uw.edu.


Dr. Rosner's Research Group archive