Don’t believe everything you see in an internet video.
That’s the message from Jordan Peele and BuzzFeed, which teamed up for a video public-service announcement that puts Peele’s words into the mouth of former President Obama.
The 72-second piece begins as what appears to be a message from former President Barack Obama. Halfway through, it is revealed to be Peele — delivering his famous Obama impression as a voiceover to a digitally manipulated video.
The project emerged from discussions between Peele and BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti about fake news, and the importance of media literacy in the era of fake news as technology makes it increasingly easy to disseminate misinformation by manipulating video and audio.
The video, produced by BuzzFeed in collaboration with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, was distributed Tuesday across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. The video was written by Jordan Peele and produced by BuzzFeed’s Jared Sosa.
The video was built using After Effects, a motion-graphics program, and Fakeapp — an artificial-intelligence video-editing program that has been used mainly for superimposing celebrities’ faces onto porn scenes.
BuzzFeed’s Sosa figured out a way to get a semi-accurate camera track on Obama’s head to get a virtual 3D camera. This allowed him to paste Peele’s mouth onto Obama’s. Sosa then used Fakeapp to replace Peele’s mouth with Obama’s; he had Fakeapp run for 12 hours and the synchronization improved dramatically, with the software correcting some of the points where Peele’s mouth weren’t in the right position. He then exported that footage to refine the synthetic jaw and then let Fakeapp run for 48 hours to get a more accurate render of Obama’s mouth.