Face off

The New Scientist magazine, on low-cost face swopping for digital video…

Face replacement is a much-used effect in Hollywood productions, even cropping up in realistic drama films such as The Social Network, in which two unrelated actors played a pair of twins. The complex and expensive equipment it requires, not to mention dedicated visual effects artists, have kept it out of low-budget movies, though.

No longer. “We achieve high-quality results with just a single camera and simple lighting set-up,” says Kevin Dale, a computer scientist at Harvard University who came up with the new technique.