OpenAI Releases Early Demos of Sora Video Generation Tool

OpenAI’s Sora text- and image-to-video tool isn’t publicly available yet, but the company is showing what it’s capable of by putting it in the hands of seven artists. The results — from a short film about a balloon man to a hybrid flamingo giraffe — are stirring excitement and priming the pump for what OpenAI CTO Mira Murati says will be a 2024 general release. Challenges include making it cheaper to run and enhancing guardrails. Since introducing Sora last month, OpenAI says it’s “been working with visual artists, designers, creative directors and filmmakers to learn how Sora might aid in their creative process.”

As great as Sora is at generating things that appear real — what excites us is its ability to make things that are totally surreal,” says “Air Head” Director Walter Woodman, of the Toronto-based production company Shy Kids.

That and other works are embedded in OpenAI’s “Sora: First Impressions” blog post. “While we have many improvements to make to Sora, we’re already getting a glimpse of how the model can help creatives bring ideas to reality,” explains the company.

The seven short films are “made by a select group of outside filmmakers, artists, advertising agencies, and musicians that have been given access to the model,” writes VentureBeat, adding that release of the demos follows “a report by Bloomberg that OpenAI executives have met with Hollywood filmmakers and studios to drum up interest in using Sora for conventional, big budget filmmaking.”

Yet, VentureBeat notes that “OpenAI’s Sora publicity campaign also comes at a time when AI video and generative AI for content creation more generally is being met with more open skepticism and derision from artists and viewers.”

The outlet explains that last week, “the new indie horror film ‘Late Night with the Devil’ was criticized by dozens online for its use of AI to create still images for certain transitions and, seemingly, set decor — with some even calling for a boycott on it and any films that used AI instead of hiring artists using more traditional methods.”

The company has come under fire for unauthorized data scraping to train Sora, according to VentureBeat, which quotes former Stability AI exec Ed Newton-Rex, CEO and founder of the non-profit model audit firm Fairly Trained saying unflattering things about Sora.

TechRadar suggests the demo shorts show Sora is “weirder and more powerful than we thought,” opining that “all of the films ranging in length from 20 seconds to a minute-and-a-half are visually stunning, most are what you might describe as abstract.”

Tom’s Guide reports that some of the videos took mere minutes to generate, with mixed results, with some of them looking like “a scene cut from a Hollywood movie,” while “others more closely resemble early experiments in AI video or a student film.”

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