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The making of the McDo LipSync experience

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The making of the McDo LipSync experience

The Making of the McDo LipSync Experience

We’ve had a great partnership with McDonald's Belgium over the past years. After a bunch of cool campaigns in 2023 we closed down the year with a captivating end-of-year campaign. The centerpiece of this campaign is a Christmas-themed digital overworld integrated into the existing McDonald's Belgium app. This immersive environment, designed as an interactive advent calendar, offers users a series of unique experiences, each unlocking on a specific date. Among these experiences, the McDo LipSync stands out, showcasing the capabilities of AI technology in creating engaging user experiences.

The McDo LipSync Experience

The McDo LipSync feature allows users to select a song and upload a photo of a person. Utilizing the advanced AI model SadTalker, the app animates the person in the photo to lip-sync the chosen song, creating a personalized and entertaining video. This feature not only enhances user engagement but also demonstrates the innovative application of AI in digital marketing.

The Technology Behind McDo LipSync: SadTalker

SadTalker is an AI model developed by a team from Xi'an Jiaotong University and Tencent AI Lab. The model excels in generating talking head videos from a single face image and a piece of speech audio. Traditional methods often faced challenges like unnatural head movements and distorted expressions. SadTalker addresses these issues by generating 3D motion coefficients (head pose, expression) from audio and using a novel 3D-aware face render for more realistic talking head generation.

Key Components of SadTalker

1. ExpNet: A network that accurately learns facial expressions from audio. It distills both motion coefficients and 3D-rendered faces for more precise expression modeling.

2. PoseVAE: A conditional Variational Autoencoder designed to synthesize head motion in various styles, enhancing the naturalness of the head movements.

3. 3D-Aware Face Render: This component maps the generated 3D motion coefficients to an unsupervised 3D keypoints space, synthesizing the final video with heightened realism and coherence.

Advantages of SadTalker

  • Realistic Motion: By individually modeling connections between audio and different types of motion coefficients, SadTalker achieves more lifelike animations.

  • Versatility: It can produce videos in different languages, styles, and even control specific features like eye blinking.

  • Quality Assurance: Extensive experiments on datasets like HDTF and VoxCeleb2 demonstrate its superiority in motion and video quality.

The Challenges and Limitations of SadTalker

While SadTalker represents a significant advancement in AI-driven animation, it's essential to acknowledge its limitations and areas for improvement. One notable challenge is the video quality, particularly in terms of resolution. Although SadTalker excels in rendering realistic motions and expressions, the output videos are not always high-resolution. This limitation can be attributed to the complexities involved in generating detailed textures and fine features in higher resolutions while maintaining real-time performance.

Another area of concern is the balancing act between realistic movements and the preservation of the original identity of the person in the photo. While SadTalker is adept at creating lifelike animations, ensuring that the animated face retains the unique characteristics of the original image without distortion is a continuing challenge. This aspect is crucial for applications like the McDo LipSync, where personalization is a key component of the user experience.

Conclusion 

This campaign for McDonald's Belgium, highlighted by the McDo LipSync feature, showcases the practical and impactful use of technology in marketing. Through the application of SadTalker, this initiative has successfully engaged customers in a unique and enjoyable way, demonstrating how creative tech can add a fresh dimension to brand experiences. This project serves as a clear example of how thoughtful integration of technology can bring a fun and personal touch to customer interactions.

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