16.9.2020 – Largo, a spinoff of the Image and Visual Representation Lab at EPFL, is about to start a small revolution in the world of cinema. Thanks to its artificial intelligence software, the company provides directors, authors, producers and distributors with powerful information aimed at optimizing the impact of movies, and hence their profitability. A method already used by industry leaders Amazon and Netflix, but previously inaccessible to any others. Largo wants to democratize this, and the CHF 500’000 Tech Growth loan from the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT) will certainly be a help.
The film industry has never been as polarised as it is today. On one side, industry giants such as Amazon and Netflix, and on the antipodes, the others. What makes them different? How can we explain that these two “giants” share the cake? Where craftsmanship combined with excellent intuition were the only key to success a few years ago, a new ingredient has since become crucial: artificial intelligence.
The powerful software Largo.ai (for Artificial Intelligence) developed by Largo is able to analyse a film project partially or totally thanks to its analysis of cognitive patterns. The tool will convert these into a high level representation called “film recipe”. From the abstract, we move on to the concrete.
Based on this conversion, Largo.ai draws the priority schemes to be implemented in order to improve all or just parts of the script, from the choice of actors to the rewriting of certain scenes, the unfolding of certain scenes, etc. All this in order to find the best ingredients for a successful film recipe.
And the tool goes even further by predicting the potential income that the film can generate at each stage of its development, with an accuracy of around 70% to 80% – compared to 50% without the tool.
For Sami Arpa, founder of Largo: “Everyone will now be able to compete with the giants of the sector in a fair way, using the same tools that have enabled them to impose themselves in such a way. With Largo.ai, we wish to democratise success on our own scale, by opening it up to all stakeholders in the movie industry.”
Sami Arpa, himself a filmmaker, knows the sector well and decided to act on it a few years ago by taking the path of technology. Holder of a doctorate in computer vision obtained at EPFL, he created Largo and the Largo.ai tool, a symbiosis of his two experiences. At his side, Ilaria Lauzana, technical manager of Largo, holds a Master’s degree from EPFL. Javier Krause completes the team as business development manager. He has a solid experience in the film industry as a distributor and producer for 20 years.
Largo received an Innogrant in 2019 and won numerous awards and support in the region and abroad: most notably, Largo was voted best start-up at the San Sebastian Film Festival and selected as one of the start-ups of Horizon 2020 at the 70th edition of the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. The start-up has also recently made headlines by predicting who would be the most suitable actor for the next James Bond movie. To do this, the artificial intelligence tool compared several data on actors (type of character played, elements of the story, film genre…), then linked the results to what constitutes the James Bond DNA. Verdict: actor Henri Cavill would be the best choice with a 92.3% “positive matching” score!
To continue on this good momentum, the CHF 500’000 allocated by the Foundation for Technological Innovation will enable the start-up to develop its team, boost its sales and begin its expansion on the American market.
Source: Press release FIT