Deepfake tool gives animated life stories of dead relatives a voice
Early last year, MyHeritage made use of deepfake technology to bring old photos of deceased loved ones to life. Deep Nostalgia went viral and more than 100 million animations have since been created. Now the genealogy company is back with LiveStory, which adds vocal storytelling to the mix.
"LiveStory takes storytelling to the next level," said MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. "With this latest viral feature, MyHeritage continues to lead the world of online family history in both vision and innovation. Our use of AI to breathe new life into historical photos is unique and is helping millions of people cultivate a renewed emotional connection with their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Genealogy is all about telling and preserving our family stories. We keep showing the world how fun and compelling genealogy can be."
As with Deep Nostalgia – where users could upload a still photograph and have it turned into a short animation by deep learning algorithms – MyHeritage has joined forces with Israel's D-ID to have a speaking portrait of a relative narrate their life story.
Of course, the accompanying audio track won't be in the actual voice of your ancestor or relative, but the service offers more than 140 voices in 31 languages to choose from. MyHeritage hopes to add custom voice samples as a feature at some point in the future.
The life events highlighted in the video biography can be automatically generated from information contained in the user's family tree on MyHeritage, or via text in the first person entered manually as brief sections called chapters along with additional images to help tell the story.
The tool then stitches together images, converts the biography text to speech and then applies video reenactment technology to animate and lip sync the ancestor's face and mouth to add a voice to the story. This part of the process can take anything from around 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on the length of the narrative.
LiveStory is reported to work just as well on black-and-white photos as color or colorized ones, and the resulting video can be played as is or edited further, and then shared with friends and family.
The feature is expected to be improved over time, and future updates currently in the pipe include adding subtitles, drag and drop reordering of chapters and a photo picker to make image selection easier.
LiveStory is offered as a fremium feature, which means that users can create a few biography videos without cost online or through the mobile app. Beyond that, folks will have to pay a subscription fee. The tool is introduced in the video below.