OpenAI’s new Sora video is an FPV drone ride through the strangest TED Talk you’ve ever seen – and I need to lie down

OpenAI's new Sora text-to-video generation tool won't be publicly available until later this year, but in the meantime it's serving up some tantalizing glimpses of what it can do – including a mind-bending new video (below) showing what TED Talks might look like in 40 years.

To create the FPV drone-style video, TED Talks worked with OpenAI and the filmmaker Paul Trillo, who's been using Sora since February. The result is an impressive, if slightly bewildering, fly-through of futuristic conference talks, weird laboratories and underwater tunnels.

The video again shows both the incredible potential of OpenAI Sora and its limitations. The FPV drone-style effect has become a popular one for hard-hitting social media videos, but it traditionally requires advanced drone piloting skills and expensive kit that goes way beyond the new DJI Avata 2.

Sora's new video shows that these kind of effects could be opened up to new creators, potentially at a vastly lower cost – although that comes with the caveat that we don't yet know how much OpenAI's new tool itself will cost and who it'll be available to.

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But the video (above) also shows that Sora is still quite far short of being a reliable tool for full-blown movies. The people in the shots are on-screen for only a couple of seconds and there's plenty of uncanny valley nightmare fuel in the background.

The result is an experience that's exhilarating, while also leaving you feeling strangely off-kilter – like touching down again after a sky dive. Still, I'm definitely keen to see more samples as we hurtle towards Sora's public launch later in 2024.

How was the video made?

A video created by OpenAI Sora for TED Talks

(Image credit: OpenAI / TED Talks)

OpenAI and TED Talks didn't go into detail about how this specific video was made, but its creator Paul Trillo recently talked more broadly about his experiences of being one of Sora's alpha tester.

Trillo told Business Insider about the kinds of prompts he uses, including “a cocktail of words that I use to make sure that it feels less like a video game and something more filmic”. Apparently these include prompts like “35 millimeter”, “anamorphic lens”, and “depth of field lens vignette”, which are needed or else Sora will “kind of default to this very digital-looking output”.

Right now, every prompt has to go through OpenAI so it can be run through its strict safeguards around issues like copyright. One of Trillo's most interesting observations is that Sora is currently “like a slot machine where you ask for something, and it jumbles ideas together, and it doesn't have a real physics engine to it”.

This means that it's still a long way way off from being truly consistent with people and object states, something that OpenAI admitted in an earlier blog post. OpenAI said that Sora “currently exhibits numerous limitations as a simulator”, including the fact that “it does not accurately model the physics of many basic interactions, like glass shattering”.

These incoherencies will likely limit Sora to being a short-form video tool for some time, but it's still one I can't wait to try out.

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You can now ride the metro system in Cyberpunk 2077 thanks to a mod

It's been a year since the game's release and modders are still coming to the rescue of players who are unable to use some features within the city.

Cyberpunk 2077's wide-ranging metropolis has had a metro system that you could visit, but not use. Thanks to a modder by the name of keanuWheeze, you can now use the metro system to get around the city as you please.

There are 19 stations that you can use, and as you ride one, you can also switch between a first or third-person perspective, so you can get a good view of the city as you travel.

The posts on the page by players are already full of praise, with some exclaiming how this one mod has convinced them to re-install the game again.

Analysis: modders to the rescue

It's well-established that Cyberpunk 2077 has not had the best of launches, with constant patches to fix up characters, vehicles, and much more to make it playable at least, and enjoyable at the most.

While CD Projekt RED is most likely planning to enable the NCART System in time, the priority is still to make sure the game plays as originally planned. But mods have also been able to improve games in ways that the developers never intended.

Sonic Mania is a great example – released in 2017, modders have been able to implement brand new zones that reimagine levels from previous Sonic games.

Mods can not only enable features such as the NCART System, but they can also give new experiences that can be seen as unofficial expansion packs.

This could be Cyberpunk's saving grace, as there's still a significant fanbase who want the game to meet expectations that CD Projeckt RED set many years ago.

The game can still be breathtaking in an official capacity, but it could be the mods that can really help the game shine in time.

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