Transforming Media: Generative AI’s Role in Cutting Film and Video Production Costs

Generative AI is poised to drive major cost efficiencies across film, TV, advertising, video games and other media productions. A McKinsey report estimates generative AI could contribute up to $4.4 trillion annually to global productivity, with marketing/sales capturing up to 15% of that value ($463 billion).

Virtual Production & Digital Assets

  • AI tools can procedurally generate incredibly realistic 3D environments, characters, props etc. at a fraction of traditional set construction costs. Major studios are already using AI-generated extras and digital avatars to supplement live talent.
  • For a $200 million sci-fi movie sequel, using AI throughout could slash $30-40 million (15-20%) off the budget and reduce production time by 25%.

Automated Video Creation & Editing

  • AI-powered video editing can streamline repetitive tasks, with edits taking minutes vs. hours/days with traditional methods.

Graphics, VFX & Immersive Experiences

  • AI is enabling realistic set extensions, graphics inserts and AR effects for live TV at lower costs than physical sets.
  • VFX studios can leverage AI for asset creation, rendering, compositing etc. reducing labor and computing costs.

While generative AI introduces ethical considerations, the potential cost savings could be transformative for many production companies:

  • For a $50 million comedy movie, using AI in pre-production and post could reduce costs by 5-10% and cut 4 weeks off the schedule.
  • For a $100 million family film, AI/virtual production tools could shave 20% off budget and time.

Generative AI aims to augment human creativity, not replace it. As Joanna Popper of CAA stated: “The best case is AI takes on repetitive work, opening up human time for more creative pursuits.”

The key is leveraging AI’s speed and efficiency to automate mundane tasks, while reallocating resources towards higher-value creative roles and innovation. As the technology evolves, media companies embracing generative AI could gain a significant competitive cost advantage.