Should Video Creators Use AI Clones?

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Are you really looking at your favorite creator? Or an AI version of them? 

Since the meteoric rise of AI, more and more creators are using AI clones to stand in for them in videos. It saves time and effort and allows them to scale their content creation while taking a break. 

But does it really work if your aim is to grow your channel? Should video creators use AI clones? 

Here’s an in-depth look at what these clones actually are, how you can create one, and what the up- and downsides are. Let’s jump right in.

Contents

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What are AI clones?

AI clones are personalized avatars that creators generate. They look just like them and imitate their gestures, facial expressions, and voice. 

Typically, creators use AI services like elai and HeyGen to make such a personalized avatar and clone their voice. Once it has been generated, you can feed your AI clone a script that it then performs. These scripts can consist of plain old text, but you can also specify where to pause and what to emphasize. 

Once you’re happy with your clone’s performance, you can export it as a video, edit the background to look like your usual set, and voilà. 

YouTuber Tim Benniks cloned himself with HeyGen, an AI avatar tool.

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How do you make an AI clone?

As mentioned above, there are several companies that specialize in creating custom avatars and voice clones. Elai and HeyGen are currently two of the most prominent, but given the lighting-fast development of the AI sector, more and more contenders are crowding the market. 

To make an AI clone, you first need to pick a provider. Their range of services and pricing varies. Most charge a monthly subscription and an extra annual charge to maintain your custom avatar. On average, you can expect to pay between $150 and $200 per month to have a personal AI clone. 

Once you’ve picked a service, you’ll be asked to send footage to train the AI. You’ll need to film yourself in high resolution (usually 4K) against a green screen. Depending on the provider, you’ll also get additional notes for the sample footage, such as: 

  • Talking slowly 
  • Making frequent 2-5 second pauses between phrases. 
  • Not moving your hands too much.
  • Not making any expressive head movements.  
  • Keeping your voice and facial expressions muted. 

Using the footage you send in, the AI service will generate your personal avatar. In most cases, you get to review it and request changes or send in additional footage until you’re satisfied. Then, you can access your avatar in your personal online space and harness it to generate content. 

Kelsey, aka Premiere Gal, looks at how to make voice and video clones, and how you can use them.

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Benefits vs. Drawbacks of AI Clones

A key benefit of AI clones for creators is that they allow you to take a step back from time to time. The pressure that comes with constantly being online, or in front of the camera, to grow your audience means that more and more creators struggle with burnout

Having an AI clone to stand in for you occasionally can help you to take a vacation and disconnect while still keeping up your content production. 

Fighting creator burnout is also one of the reasons creators who already use AI give as their driving motivation. One of them is Jordi Van Den Bussche, aka Kwebbelkop, a popular gaming YouTuber who recently launched an AI influencer platform. His reason?

“Every time I wanted to take a holiday or I needed some time for myself, I couldn’t really do that, because my entire business would stop,” he explained to Wired.

Another advantage of AI clones is when it comes to video editing and brushing up your footage. Say you misspoke while recording, or your audio quality turns out to be sub-par in places. Having an AI clone at hand can help you generate the missing elements and patch up your footage without going through the trouble of re-recording video or audio. 

However, AI clones also have considerable downsides. The most important one is that audiences don’t like them

Creators like Kwebbelkop who’ve used AI clones extensively have faced serious backlash. People tend to view using clones as ‘cheating’ and the results as sub-par. For instance, check out the comments on a recent video by Bloo, an AI-generated ‘virtual influencer’ that Kwebbelkop launched recently:

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The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, AI clones can be incredibly handy for influencers when it comes to needing a stand-in while you take a break, or making improvements to footage you filmed. However, relying on AI clones to completely take over can be disastrous – audiences want an authentically human connection with the creators they admire, not a bland interaction with a bot. 

That said, this technology is only in its infancy. We’ll see how it develops – and what other AI marvels will emerge – in the next few months.

FAQs

AI clones are personalized avatars that creators can generate using their likeness and voice. They look and talk like the creator who commissioned them.

Companies like elai and HeyGen offer to create personalized avatars with cloned voices. You have to send in footage to train the AI that corresponds to certain specifications, like being filmed in 4K in front of a green screen, including lots of pauses, and not gesticulating too much.

AI clones can be a great resource for creators and video editors to improve footage with video and audio issues – say if you forgot to film a certain part of your video script, or made a mistake. They can also be a temporary stand-in if you need to take some time away. However, audiences don’t want to interact solely with AI and creators who rely on it too much typically face intense backlash.

AI clones can help you fix your raw footage – for instance if there’s an issue with visuals or if your sound cut out. They can also act as stand-ins for creators who need to take some time away but still want to generate content. That way, they can actually help keep creator burnout at bay.

The major disadvantage of AI clones is that audiences don’t like them. Creators like Kwebbelkop who rely on clones have faced intense backlash. People want to establish a human connection with their favorite creators, not deal with an artificial bot.