Turns out the viral ‘Air Head’ Sora video wasn’t purely the work of AI we were led to believe

A new interview with the director behind the viral Sora clip Air Head has revealed that AI played a smaller part in its production than was originally claimed. 

Revealed by Patrick Cederberg (who did the post-production for the viral video) in an interview with Fxguide, it has now been confirmed that OpenAI's text-to-video program was far from the only force involved in its production. The 1-minute and 21-second clip was made with a combination of traditional filmmaking techniques and post-production editing to achieve the look of the final picture.

Air Head was made by ShyKids and tells the short story of a man with a literal balloon for a head. While there's human voiceover utilized, from the way OpenAI was pushing the clip on social channels such as YouTube, it certainly left the impression that the visuals were was purely powered by AI, but that's not entirely true. 

As revealed in the behind-the-scenes clip, a ton of work was done by ShyKids who took the raw output from Sora and helped to clean it up into the finished product. This included manually rotoscoping the backgrounds, removing the faces that would occasionally appear on the balloons, and color correcting. 

Then there's the fact that Sora takes a ton of time to actually get things right. Cederberg explains that there were “hundreds of generations at 10 to 20 seconds a piece” which were then tightly edited in what the team described as a “300:1” ratio of what was generated versus what was primed for further touch-ups. 

Such manual work also included editing out the head which would appear and reappear, and even changing the color of the balloon itself which would appear red instead of yellow. While Sora was used to generate the initial imagery with good results, there was clearly a lot more happening behind the scenes to make the finished product look as good as it does, so we're still a long way out from instantly-generated movie-quality productions. 

Sora remains tightly under wraps save for a handful of carefully curated projects that have been allowed to surface, with Air Head among the most popular. The clip has over 120,000 views at the time of writing, with OpenAI touting as “experimentation” with the program, downplaying the obvious work that went into the final product. 

Sora is impressive but we're not convinced

While OpenAI has done a decent job of showcasing what its text-to-video service can do through the large language model, the lack of transparency is worrying. 

Air Head is an impressive clip by a talented team, but it was subject to a ton of editing to get the final product to where it is in the short. 

It's not quite the one-click-and you-'re-done approach that many of the tech's boosters have represented it as. It turns out that it is merely a tool which could be used to enhance imagery instead of create from scratch, which is something that is already common enough in video production, making Sora seem less revolutionary than it first appeared.

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Google wants you to ditch passwords as it turns passkeys into the new standard

The end of passwords might be arriving sooner than we thought. Google has officially made passkeys the default sign-in method for all personal accounts on its network.

Passkeys, if you don’t remember, are slated to be the “next evolution for online security.” Instead of a lengthy password, this tech typically uses a four-digit PIN or “biometric credentials” for easy logins. They are also said to reduce the likelihood of having your credentials phished by bad actors or targeted by some form of account takeover attack. To encourage adoption, Google will begin sending out prompts to users informing them of the recent change and where they can go about creating a passkey.

Easy setup

Fortunately, generating a passkey is quite simple (in fact, we have a guide detailing the whole process). In short, you’ll need to head over to the company’s official passkeys website, then create a PIN or connect your biometrics to your account. You can use either fingerprints or your own face assuming your device supports facial recognition. After that, you connect your smartphone and you’re done.

There are some restrictions you should be aware of. PCs must be running at least Windows 10, while for Macs, it needs to be macOS Ventura. Smartphones must have either Android 9 or iOS 16. Additionally, this tech only works on a handful of browsers: Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Google Chrome. Of course, they need to be running their latest versions.

If you’re not interested in passkeys, you do have the option to opt-out. Head on over to the Sign-in options page, locate “Skip Password When Possible”, then toggle off the switch.

Upcoming changes

We reached out to Google asking why the company felt it was time to make passkeys the default so soon after it hit the scene. Support for the security feature came out back in May of this year. Well, as it turns out, they seem to be fairly popular with the user base. 

Kimberly Samra, security communications manager at Google, told us 64 percent of surveyed people found the feature “easier to use than traditional login methods.” What’s more the company found that logging in with a passkey is “40 percent faster than” a regular password, according to internal analytics.

The passkey saga isn’t stopping here as Google states it is working with select “partners” across multiple industries to make the new login system usable across Chrome and Android. It’s already present on Uber as well as eBay with plans to expand it to WhatsApp soon. From there, the tech giant will continue encouraging other platforms to pivot towards passkey to eventually make passwords totally obsolete.

If you’re looking for ways to further bolster your online security, we recommend checking out TechRadar’s list of the best antivirus software for 2023

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Turns out a lot of us are really bad at behaving on Zoom calls

After another bumper year for video calls across the world, Zoom has released a series of somewhat surprising facts about some of the oddest facts it has gathered about users in 2021.

The video conferencing platform carried out a global survey and combined the results with its own internal insights to show how we really used Zoom – with some particularly odd findings.

This includes over half (53%) of Zoom users saying it was OK to eat during meetings, 42% saying they have made a call from their beds, and over a quarter (26%) saying they almost never showered before going on a call.

Zoom in 2021

Covering the period of November 15 2020 to November 15 2021, the company's survey discovered that Wednesday was the most popular day of the week for Zoom calls, followed by Tuesday and Thursday.

The average length of a Zoom call was a whopping 54 minutes, with the average meeting size found to be 10 participants.

Zoom, which was used in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world, also found that January 21 2021 was the busiest day of the year for virtual meetings, with February 25 the most popular day for webinars.

Elsewhere, nearly three-quarters (71%) of Zoom users have had to say the phrase “you're on mute” at some point in the last 12 months, with 57% needing to ask if everyone on a call could see their screen.

75% of users said they waved goodbye at the end of their meetings, with outdoor landscapes (26%) proving slightly more popular than blurred backgrounds (25%) or company logos (20%).

Just under half (43%) confessed to only cleaning the part of the room visible on camera, with the same number (43%) of parents having a child show up during a meeting, and 36% saying they have had a pet show up during a meeting.

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