The fact that change is inevitable doesn’t necessarily have to relate to the concept of editing voices, pictures or video. Yet all three are commonplace, with differing approaches and agendas when it comes to the actual purpose behind such a decision. Whether for good or bad, the reality is that all three will continue to be a focal point of how the world is viewed by individuals who may or may not be aware of such changes.
Readily available software for all three aspects can result in a scenario in which no semblance of reality ends up existing. Voices can be changed from one gender to another and from an adult to a child or vice versa. Pictures can remove individuals from a photograph, add someone who was never there in the first place or change the surrounding scenery to create doubt in the mind about exactly where the photo was taken.
Picture editing is ordinarily not seen as dangerous, considering it’s a daily job for print outlets and media services on the Internet. Yet skilful manipulation of a photograph can be done in such a way that context is completely lost in the process. This ability was available before the rapid development of multiple applications, though it’s now available to anyone who seeks to use it through software like Photoshop or social media concerns like Instagram.
Example of photo manipulated between Arnold S. and Colin F.
Though some using Photoshop offer up efforts that look amateurish, the reality is that individuals who are more malleable can fall victim to skilful use of this software. That helps distort the true facts involved, which can end up cementing a viewpoint that can’t be dissuaded due to the alleged evidence of a photograph.
When it comes to video, quick cuts and other standard tricks offer the opportunity to either use reaction shots that are out of sync with actual events or completely change the context of comments that were made. More ominously, the use of specifically designed software can change a person’s face that appears on a video.
In the latter instance, a worst-case scenario leaves open the potential prospect of someone with the technological capabilities to handle this software framing an innocent individual for a crime. If that person fails to have a strong alibi, this doctored form of evidence can serve as a powerful tool in a subsequent conviction. While that may serve as an extreme reaction, the mere fact that it’s a possibility is something to consider when assessing the overall value of this software.
One of the more recent additions to the world of video editing can be seen with respect to real-time face manipulation. In this case, previously shot video can be used with new technology that will allow for another person to change the facial reactions of the person on the video.
Past technologies have allowed for videos to be manipulated in a way that makes it seem as if the person on the screen is actually saying what can often be absurd comments. The problem with this type of software is that it’s readily apparent to the viewer that a change has been made to the original video.
With the Face2Face system, online videos can be changed in a manner that can make it virtually impossible for anyone to detect any difference from the original. The presumed intent is for entertainment purposes, yet such actions can pose problems for both the subject of the video and anyone unfamiliar with the video in question.
That’s because individuals whose motives may be questionable at best could make changes that serve to embarrass or humiliate the subject. Such manipulation then plays into the mindset of the unsuspecting viewer, who takes away the wrong perspective of the comments.
Voice editing holds the promise of offering a more professional production that deletes mistakes and delivers a clear message to a targeted demographic. However, ethical concerns that involve misrepresentation can color its use.
Ethics aside, the true danger lurks with the possibility of individuals who seek to commit crimes like identity theft. Using stolen information and adapting it to make seemingly legitimate purchases by using a victim’s name accomplish this. In addition, being able to harass someone through the making of false accusations places an undue burden on the target of such a crime.
The Current State of Editing
The form that an edit takes in whatever medium it’s being done shouldn’t have to be closely scrutinized. Yet things have drastically changed from the days when an airbrush or re-touch was considered the essence of innovation. That means that what someone sees or hears might have a backstory that requires a deeper analysis of the belief structure of the originator.