Arts & Entertainment | January 8, 2020 7:30 am

A YouTube Deepfaker “Fixed” the De-Aging in “The Irishman”

The process only took a week

the irishman al pacino robert de niro
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro as Jimmy Hoffa and Frank Sheeran in "The Irishman"

Netflix spent millions of dollars digitally de-aging The Irishman stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci to make them appear 40 years younger (a process you can read about here). But did a YouTube deepfaker do a better job at it with free software and just seven days of work?

The CGI faces were used primarily in the film’s first half, which chronicles hitman Frank Sheeran’s life over a series of decades, from his time a young man new to the world of organized crime to his old age in a nursing home.

One big concern with the de-aging process for director Martin Scorsese was hindering the actors’ natural process. “The process doesn’t use animation, it actually records the faces of actors with every nuance of their performance and replaces them with the younger CGI faces,” cinamatographer Rodrigo Prieto said. “The advantage is that you don’t have to place motion-capture marks on the actors’ faces or helmets with little cameras. In fact, they don’t even wear makeup. It feels perfectly natural to them. This was a prerequisite for Scorsese — he did not want the actors to be encumbered with any VFX paraphernalia.”

Check out a side-by-side comparison of The Irishman‘s de-aging and the YouTuber’s take on the process below.

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