Here's how to use AI to make a commercial in 3 hours, according to the guy whose creepy pizza ad grabbed the attention of Elon Musk
- A "terrifying" pizza ad created entirely from AI shows how far the tech has come.
- The creator, who spoke to Insider, said AI condensed days of work into a few hours.
The days of expensive commercial budgets, large teams of creatives and actors putting together scenes, and time-consuming delays over visual effects will soon be over. Maybe.
At a time when chatbots are sounding more human than ever and art generators can create images that look like photos, a YouTuber named Pizza Later proved that with a bit of creativity and know-how of various AI tools, you can make a commercial in under three hours that might get noticed by Twitter CEO Elon Musk and the official Pizza Hut account.
Pizza Later, who withheld his name to keep his online anonymity, told Insider that he works in motion graphics during the day. For almost a year, he's been tinkering with applications like Midjourney and Runway AI — a video generator — which is how he got the idea to create a commercial for a fictional pizza joint called Pepperoni Hug Spot.
Inspired by a "terrifying" AI clip of Will Smith eating spaghetti created on Runway, Pizza Later began putting together clips of people eating food to send to friends.
"And then from there, I just kind of sourced out the rest of the clips, just kind of imagining what else would be in a television commercial for a pizza place," he said.
He told Insider the entire process took three hours on Monday during a slow day at work. All the assets in the commercial were made with AI, from the resonant, professional-sounding voice-over to the bizarre clips insider the Pepperoni Hug Spot pizzeria.
"I'm old enough to remember a time before YouTube, and stuff used to be so time-consuming. And before my current job, I was actually in video production. I know how long it takes to set up lights and microphones and all that entails. So even though this stuff is really rough right now, it blows my mind."
Here's how you can make your own AI commercial.
Start off with a script
The foundation of every good commercial is a script to guide the production. Pizza Later said he used GPT-4, the newest version of GPT, to create the dialogue for the voice-over. Since ChatGPT launched in December, there has been a rise in content creators using the application to make their jobs easier.
"I'm not much of a writer, so it would probably take me much longer to come up with a script," he said. "Even as simple as the few lines that are in there."
The sentences in the Pepperoni Hug Spot commercial are noticeably grammatically incorrect and don't sound like something GPT would produce. Pizza Later said that he intentionally asked the program to write this way to add to the eerieness and humor of the commercial.
He also said the name "Pepperoni Hug Spot" was something he brainstormed with GPT.
"It doesn't mean anything obviously. But it sounds funny. So that was when I went with."
Put together a voice-over
AI voiceover technology has become a pest in the music industry, as users online are releasing music pretending to be Drake, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott, as well as a meme online (like Joe Biden and Donald Trump yelling at each other through gaming headsets while playing Overwatch).
It's also helpful for creating a commercial without hiring a voice actor. Pizza Later told Insider that he used Eleven Labs to create the voiceover by plugging in the script created in GPT-4.
"I had it do three or four different reads because it varies in tone and sort of the speed with which it reads," he said.
Use an image generator to come up with art
The stills in the AI pizza commercial, including the final exterior shot of the phony pizzeria, were created using Midjourney, which Pizza Later described as "mind-blowing." To create an image, all you need is a descriptive prompt. According to an AI prompt engineer that previously spoke to Insider, this means using a thesaurus to modify phrasing, paying attention to the verbs, and specifying the intent of your prompt — like asking it to create images in the style of a certain art technique or film style.
Use a video generator to come up with clips
The most noticeable aspect of the Pizza Hug Spot commercial was the video clips created using AI. Yes, they were disjointed, disconcerting, and full of discrepancies, but to create original video clips out of nothing wasn't even possible even a few months ago, Pizza Later said.
For the Pepperoni Hug Spot commercial, Pizza Later also used Runway AI, a text-to-video generator, to create short clips to add to the commercial. He told Insider he wouldn't be surprised if video AI technology became just as real as image generators in the near future.
Create a soundtrack that pulls everything together
Even AI music generation is now a thing. The software used in the pizza commercial, Soundraw, creates custom music in various genres, moods, and lengths. It allows you to choose specific instruments as well.
Most of the results sound extremely bland and corporate, but that might be just what you need for a commercial.
Edit it all together
The only part of the process that AI cannot do (yet) is video editing — in the commercial, the VHS filters, transitions, and some noises were all added in manually. However, Pizza Later said the AI made putting together the video much quicker.
"What I see in the future, and probably not too distant, especially if this progresses as quickly as something like Midjourney has, is let's say your favorite show comes out on Netflix or to your new favorite show, and it doesn't get renewed the next season. But I now have access to this video software or the software that allows me to generate video clips... all I have to do is ask it to create a 30-minute episode of my favorite show or an episode of 'Friends' that never existed before."
Put it up for the world to see
After releasing the commercial, Pizza Later said he was surprised by the widespread online reaction. Along with some humorous comments, he pointed out that many people did not even know some of this technology existed.
"I got a lot of really funny comments. Lots of like 'oh, this is nightmare fuel, but like the best kind of nightmare fuel.'"
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