Filmmaking AI Videography


Creative producers have all kinds of new technologies at their fingertips to create exciting and original content, but how much of the creative process do we still need to rely on ourselves to create authentic work when AI comes into play? Phil Tidy shares with us how AI is still simply a tool to aid our creativity.

22 February 2023 • 5 min read

Garry Killian | @GarryKillian | Freepik

It was the early 90s and the digital revolution was gaining pace with the internet, emails and PCs becoming ubiquitous. The move from analogue to digital was at a pace. Computer programmes, tools, applications and kit that were evolved to help with creativity were becoming much more accessible. Digital was coming. Music, film, writing… it was all changing at pace.

In the studio in Camden, we were beta testing software like Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere. Suddenly, everyone was getting a PC, learning all the new softwares and getting creative. When I first started shooting it was mostly on film or recording things on magnetic tape, but the move over to digital and onto desktop meant non-linear editing became affordable and available, where you could just throw everything in and move things around much faster. Making music videos by filming on digital formats, digitising the footage into desktop video editing machines, creating graphics and essentially playing around and hacking technology programmes together to create strange things was fun.

Technology has become more and more powerful, more accessible, and cheaper. And now we have these things in our pockets that connect us to everything in the whole world from our fingertips. Suddenly, everyone can be a filmmaker, a photographer, or whatever else. That comes with pros and cons, but there’s a lot to be excited about, just as much as there is to fear, as we learn how to utilise new technologies, our key tool to help in the creative process.


Now that everybody can have this technology at our fingertips, it is changing how we create, and therefore how we learn. Much of what we previously needed to know to get to a certain end point is now done for us. It’s changing the way we do everything, from how things are created to how they’re consumed. We can see how creators, brands and consumers are developing the concept of creativity. The question is, how is this changing society?

Let’s take AI. This technology is moving at such a pace that we are now approaching more and more complex problems or activities and the results are surprising us every day. More and more, we’re seeing people with non traditional backgrounds in the creative industries create something special, something new. Of course, it takes more than a phone or camera to make you a photographer or a filmmaker. But there’s an app for a lot of it. There’s script writing software, there’s video editing software, there’s text to speech editing, and so on. So what does the creative do? Ultimately, it’s about knowing when to use this technology. And when to use the data now available at our fingertips because of it.

Accessibility of these tools is creating a new generation of data-driven designers and creatives who access verified insights while allowing their creativity to be let loose. The combination of data and design
and creativity is a big win for all, from creatives to brands, as well as consumers.

So this all sounds pretty positive. Where is the challenge then? Ultimately, with the constant pace of development of these tools, we need to co-exist and not be replaced! Using the new tools to our advantage and creating a symbiotic relationship with new technologies because they are here to stay. And they’re getting more accessible and ubiquitous.

There is a growing set of tools and programmes online, like DALL-E (1) and Midjourney where you can create images from keyword searches that scour the internet and then create brand new amazing images which the creative can refine. For example, if you type in ‘dog on a skateboard juggling bananas,’ it comes up with the most incredible thing. These tools have created pictures that have won art competitions and fooled judges. The speed of AI and how fast it can put out results utilised well is amazing. We can create results at such a pace that we couldn’t think of ourselves, then select the best out of these and hone and boost the quality or amount of choice. Or better, we can use these results as a starting point to explore where that creativity goes.

It’s a brand new horizon, I guess. How can you verify that this is an original piece or where this has come from? That’s a whole other subset of where this goes. You can get robots to paint things and do things technically, very well. That’s fun. But I think it’s about the humans interacting and knowing how to utilise the products. Otherwise, we just press the button that entertains us and we will become the people in WALL-E, playing Sony Playstation 37 in these weird suits, just being mindlessly entertained. What is it to be human? What is consciousness? Are these machines ever going to be conscious?


AI is a tool, and we just need to know how to use it. The possibilities are endless. But we have to be aware of the dangers of technology too. Let’s look at social media for example. I believe that with social media, we’re doing a great job of limiting or shrinking our creativity. With TikTok for example, we’re now staring at these 30 second pieces of content. We don’t yet know how this hypershort content is influencing us and our kids’ behaviour. By creating these high intensity moments of content, do we have breathing space for proper creative thinking? That’s still a question to be answered.

So whilst embracing new technologies, we must be aware of how they may consume us during our day and at the same time, how they might be limiting our creativity more broadly. With all the tools and data at our disposal now, and the constant need for new and relevant content, perhaps we are losing something that makes creativity so special. Maybe there is something in discord, aberrations, mistakes, fallibility that will never come through technology. The human process of creativity cannot be ignored. Ultimately, we need to combine this with the technology at our disposal to coexist, learn, and create together.

I believe aberrations and accidents are sometimes the most creative things. Whether those are technical glitches within a machine, or whether they’re human mistakes or breakdowns or situational nonsenses, it’s something that we like. Collisions happen by stress, and here can be where the magic lies.

I have made a lot of music videos in my life. And there have been lots of happy accidents and creative strangenesses that made them something special. A notable example happened to a fellow filmmaker on a video for a single called Yellow (2), (a song you may have heard of). If you watch the video, it’s got Chris Martin walking down the beach. It was shot in Wales, with director Alex Smith. They had plans to shoot a whole video with a narrative, but it rained like hell. They couldn’t film what was planned. So they said, well, let’s get this one shot video, and got one take of the then-22-year-old lead singer walking down the beach. Then that was the video, and it was a most powerful, most memorable piece of accidental creativity.

So it was a happy accident. I have probably seen loads of happy accidents born out of things. You couldn’t have AI necessarily make that, and those make-shift decisions probably wouldn’t be made in that way. But with AI, you can just put random words in with the one word that you want, and you’ll end up with an immediate image that could blow your mind. We’re yet to know where that could take us and how this is useful, but it’s something exciting. And there’s no denying it’s the future. So embrace technology, coexist with it and find ways to explore with it to create those moments of happy accidents. Fighting against it, or relying on it completely will lead you being replaced.

(1) ‘DALLE: AI Made This Thumbnail!’, Marques Brownlee,

(2) ‘ Yellow’ (Official Video), Coldplay,

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