The relentless advance in technology means that making videos is literally easier than falling off a log, and my social media feeds are crammed to the rafters with adverts from companies and apps offering to do just that. Motivated by the nagging feeling that I have become obsolete, a few months ago I set aside an afternoon to explore how easy it would be to use this new method. It turned out that I didn’t need half a day; a coffee break would have been more than enough and I’ll let Ada tell you how I did it. Or rather, how the app did it – just click on her picture below.
Now, I think it’s absolutely incredible that you can type words on a keyboard and receive, before your kettle has finished boiling, a word-perfect and glitch-free performance ready for post-production. Ada doesn’t have bad days, lose her voice, bristle at clumsy direction or get tired. Synthesia is quick, easy and user-friendly, and there is literally nothing about it not to like. Many people will use AI to make training and other in-house videos and save a fortune in the process. They would be mad not to and it’s anyone’s guess what new developments and improvements will come in the years ahead.
So in many ways presenters who are “good but not great” like me – by which I mean I can do the job really well, but have never been offered a six-figure salary to host a programme about holidays, second homes or antiques – are on notice, which is a sobering thought to sit quietly with. That said, it is neither churlish nor unfair of me to suggest that Ada is also good but not great, but in a different way. Her diction is perfectly clear, but she can’t convey nuance and while she may be perfectly photogenic, her timing remains robotic. I also feel certain that no matter how complex, powerful or clever the coding that powers her becomes, it is unlikely that she will ever be able to truly connect with her audience – which might explain why none of the adverts for AI video apps that I have seen ever use an AI presenter to persuade you of their merits. Perhaps the technology can explain but not persuade.
So those who need to source training videos are therefore faced with the reality that they will almost certainly get what they pay for. They can choose between the economy and speed of AI with its characteristic lack of humanity, or the quality of a video production company which brings with it the added cost of staff, premises, professional presenters and the agents who negotiate on their behalf.
Or they could try something else and hire me to do the job; one individual who for the last thirty years has practised all of the skills needed to produce every aspect of a video and now offers a one-stop shop to do just that.