Dancing like a pro… without the training!

Tomorrow you might be able edit video content with such accuracy that you could be dancing just as you’ve always dreamed of without even practicing! Sounds a bit weird don’t you think? A team of researchers just published a paper to explain how they did manage to do such a thing.

Imagine a world where everybody could imagine they are dancing the way the best performers are dancing? Imagine picture yourself as Nijinski, as Martha Graham, as the rising star of of street dance, or any dancer you admire without dropping sweat? How cool would that be? A group of four researchers, Caroline Chan, Shiry Ginosar, Tinghui Zhou and Alexei A Efros from Berkeley, just released their work result in a paper called Everybody Dance Now! And they manage to fulfill their promise…

Their goal was to transfer the movement of a professional dancer onto the image of an amateur. Thanks to video analysis and artificial intelligence they are now able to recognize and extract some ‘poses’ the original choreography is made of. After having extracted this moves, they ask the amateur to perform a few simple reference movements to ‘feed’ the database with data. Artificial intelligence can combine it in order make who they call the Target subject act and dance the way the Source subject (high level dancer) is doing. Computer is using a per-frame image-to-image translation. Sounds like hieroglyphs? You can see reference movements of the amateur as a base that computer will modify or combine to make it match with the datas extracted from the original dance video. Computer will then reconstruct thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning ‘inter-poses’ movement. After a few minutes of processing, you can watch a video of any member of your family dance as a professional. Even if there are still some defaults in the video, the result is stunning!

No doubt that film industry, games and entertainment will certainly be interested in that technology quite soon, and so should be Justice and performing arts ! What if anyone would be given access to this technology? Would it be as easy to edit videos than it is to edit pictures with photoshop for instance? Would it modify our perception of video proofs?  Will this virtual dance make ‘traditional’ dancing old-fashioned? Will it inspire new ways to create dance and choreography? Many questions are yet to be answered. One thing is for sure, we are going to keep a close watch to what is done with this technology!

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