Deepfaking Trump with Harry Shearer

We speak to virtual production studio Mod's Michela Ledwidge about the tech that brought Harry Shearer's Donald Trump satire to freakish life.

Deepfaking Trump with Harry Shearer

This week, Seamus interviews Michela Ledwidge, a virtual production director who has just helped Harry Shearer launch an album of satirical songs with Shearer shifting from his famous roles of The Simpsons and Spinal Tap into the tweeter-in-chief, Donald Trump.

If it isn't freaky enough to watch these videos and see just how uncanny the deep fakery can be, especially when you have a voice artist like Harry behind the performance, the whole thing was produced across the great Pacific divide during coronavirus lockdowns.

Michela Ledwidge directing Shearer from afar (© 2020 Mod)

We talk about where it started, how it was produced between two Australian production companies (Michela's Mod studio and another Australian team, Electric Lens Company), how you manage directing a motion captured performance like this remotely, and what it means for the technology to be capable of pulling something like this off today.

It's a fun and insightful conversation on the future of all kinds of digital production opportunities in a field where Mod has become a world leader in how to push the boundaries of what's possible.

You can find the videos at Harry Shearer's YouTube channel and the full album, The Many Moods of Donald Trump, is on Spotify or wherever you get your new music.