Connect with us

Culture

How that viral video was made

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Uncanny Valley is inescapable. Just look at the latest eerie video from the amateur (for now) parodist Steven Connolly. The faces of Ronan O’Gara and Johnny Sexton have been merged with, respectively, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy in John Hughes’s film The Breakfast Club. All rivalries are forgotten as the rugby legends make a touching romantic connection.

“Johnny has a public reputation for being a bit of a grump,” Connolly says. “So that suited Ally Sheedy’s character right there. So it just kind of worked. Rog has liked the video, but Johnny hasn’t. Ha ha!”

The video sits among an array of largely sports-related parodies on Connolly’s increasingly popular YouTube channel. Enjoy Graham Souness, the famously combative former footballer, recommending a new scent called Brutal. Rory McIlroy’s face is superimposed on that of Sylvester Stallone in a subversion of Rambo: First Blood Part II. “You gave the order for people to start shouting when people are teeing off, didn’t you?” RorySly grumbles before brandishing a knife at poor (unaltered) Charles Napier.

Over the past year or two Connolly has enjoyed the odd bit of feedback from the celebrities. Ricky Gervais liked his Oscar impressions video and helped that post go viral. Padraig Harrington also gave him a helpful retweet.

We catch Connolly, who works in IT, on his lunch break. “I have always mimicked,” he says. “I think I started mimicking the parish priest in Manorhamilton, in Co Leitrim, for a few laughs. Then I did the teachers in school. A few years ago, my brother said he knew someone who was setting up a radio channel. I auditioned. I didn’t get it, but I then formalised it. It is part time. I don’t think I’ve been paid for anything.”

There are two skills here. Connolly is as adept at the Co Down vocal rambles of McIlroy as he is at Souness’s more wintery Scottish grumbles. But it is the video trickery that establishes his parodies as entertainment of the moment. Just a decade or so ago, it would require millions – and the services of Hollywood’s swankiest special-effects boffins – to merge footage in this manner. Such “deepfakes” are now available to the skilled amateur.

“You basically take the faces – Rog and Emilio, say – and the AI runs for about 24 to 36 hours, and then there is the editing on top of that,” he explains.

So is there a specific piece of software that helps out with such operations?

“Yes, this is DeepFaceLab. It would be tricky to use if you are not IT-orientated,” he says, before going on to mention “batch files” and other terms that cause the civilian brow to furrow. “I could show somebody in a few hours how to do it. It is much more difficult if you are trying to work it out yourself.”

We have become used to online creators playing any number of imaginative conjuring tricks with pre-existing footage. Dialogue is manipulated. Music is reimagined. One wonders where copyright comes into this. The venerable Universal logo is right there at the start of Connolly’s Breakfast Club clip.

“Parody is fine. That is my rudimentary knowledge of copyright law,” Connolly says. “YouTube will notify you if there is any issue with copyright. I put up Star Wars, and obviously John Williams’s soundtrack is in there. They say you can’t monetise this. But you don’t monetise anything anyway.”

Welcome to the new economy.

Source link

Culture

Ex-Ireland rugby player charged with stealing almost €600,000 from BOI

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Former Irish rugby international Brendan Mullin is to face trial accused of deception, false accounting and theft of close to €600,000 from Bank of Ireland where he held a senior executive position.

Mullin (57) appeared at Dublin District Court on Tuesday following an investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) into bank fraud allegations going back a decade.

The former rugby star won 55 Irish caps between 1984 and 1995 before he went into financial services and became managing director at Bank of Ireland Private Banking Ltd.

He was arrested at 9.08am on Tuesday when he met gardaí in Dublin city-centre. He was brought to the Bridewell Garda station where he was charged with 15 offences which allegedly took place between 2011 and 2013.

He is accused of stealing €500,000 on December 16th 2011, at Bank of Ireland Private Bank at Burlington Plaza, Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

Mr Mullin, of Albert Lodge, Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, is charged with eight further thefts of amounts totalling €73,000 from the bank.

Five counts of false accounting were also put to him.

He was also charged with deception by inducing a named man and woman to sign a payment instruction with the intention of making gain for himself or another on July 27th, 2011.

Dressed in a grey suit and light blue shirt, he sat silently during his hearing before Judge Michael Walsh.

GNECB Detective Sean O’Riordan told the court Mr Mullin made no comment when charged.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed trial on indictment meaning his case will go before a judge and jury in the circuit court.

The DPP has also stated that he can be sent forward for sentencing on a signed plea, should that arise, but defence solicitor Robert Purcell told Judge Walsh a book of evidence will be required.

Bail terms had been agreed, Judge Walsh noted, and it was set in Mr Mullin’s own bond of €10,000.

He was ordered to surrender his passport but this was not made a precondition of release; Judge Walsh warned him that it must be handed over to gardai within 48 hours of taking up bail.

Mr Mullin needed to travel for work purposes and that could be done once the GNECB detective is notified in advance, the judge said.

He must appear again at the District Court on November 11th next to be served with the book of evidence by the prosecution.

A trial order can then be granted.

Source link

Continue Reading

Culture

Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The killing on Saturday evening in the western town of Idar-Oberstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, is believed to be the first in Germany linked to the government’s coronavirus rules.

The row started when the cashier, a student, told the customer to put on a face mask, as required in all German shops. After a brief argument, the man left.

The suspect then returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he brought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off the mask and another discussion ensued.

“The perpetrator then pulled out a revolver and shot him straight in the head,” prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann told reporters on Monday.

The suspect, a 49-year-old German man, walked to a police station the following day to turn himself in. He was arrested and has confessed to the murder.

He told police he felt “cornered” by the coronavirus measures, which he perceived as an “ever-growing infringement on his rights” and he had seen “no other way out”, Fuhrmann said.

Idar-Oberstein mayor Frank Fruehauf called it “an unfathomable, terrible act”, and residents have laid flowers and candles outside the petrol station.

The murder comes just days before Germans head to the polls for a general election on September 26 that will see Chancellor Angela Merkel bow out of politics after 16 years.

Katrin Goering-Eckardt, the parliamentary leader of the Green party, tweeted that she was “deeply shaken” by the killing, which she said was “the cruel result of hatred”.

Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner from Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, who hails from the region, said the murder was “shocking”.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper said far-right chat groups on Telegram were applauding the murder, with one user writing “Here we go!!!” while others posted thumbs-up emojis.

Germany has seen repeated protests from anti-mask demonstrators throughout the pandemic, some of them attracting tens of thousands of people.

The Querdenker (Lateral Thinkers) movement has emerged as the loudest voice against the government’s coronavirus curbs and regulations. Its marches have drawn a wide mix of people, including vaccine sceptics, neo-Nazis and members of Germany’s far-right AfD party.



Source link

Continue Reading

Culture

Remains found in Dublin adds intrigue to search for Robert Emmet’s grave

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Skeletal remains have been found at one of the locations identified as a possible last resting place of Robert Emmet who was executed on this day in 1803.

The remains were found during an excavation at the back of St Paul’s Church in Stoneybatter in Dublin.

The disappearance of the body of Robert Emmet is one of the great mysteries of Irish history.

Emmet was tried and then hanged for instigating the ill-fated 1803 rebellion. He became a symbol of Irish martyrdom for his speech from the dock in which he concluded: “Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my name remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written.”

After he was publicly hanged outside St Catherine’s Church in Thomas Street on September 20th, 1803, his head was displayed to the crowd by the hangman Thomas Galvin. The remains of Emmet’s body was taken to Bully’s Acre in the grounds of what is now the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and buried there.

When some of his friends went to reintern his remains from Bully’s Acre to St Michan’s Church in Church Street, a church associated with the United Irishmen, they found there was no body there, and so began a search which endures to this day.

Robert Emmet was publicly hanged outside St Catherine’s Church in Thomas Street on September 20th, 1803.
Robert Emmet was publicly hanged outside St Catherine’s Church in Thomas Street on September 20th, 1803.

His great-nephew Dr Thomas Addis Emmet requested an archaeological dig at the family vault in St Peter’s Church in Aungier Street to mark the centenary of Emmet’s death in 1903, but that proved to be unsuccessful.

Speculation

St Paul’s Church is another contender in the saga of Emmet’s remains. It was the parish church of Kilmainham Gaol’s doctor and effective governor Dr Edward Trevor.

In his book In the Footsteps of Robert Emmet, JJ Reynolds speculated that Trevor removed Emmet’s body and put it in an unmarked grave in the grounds of St Paul’s Church. This was to ensure that his grave would not become a shrine for Irish nationalism.

The church, which was the venue for the consecration of the philosopher George Berkeley as Bishop of Cloyne in 1734, has been converted into the Spade Enterprise Centre, a not-for-profit social enterprise unit.

The land where the skeletal remains were found is being turned into a shared kitchen for small business enterprises in the area.

The yard at the the back of St Paul’s Church in Stoneybatter, Dublin where skeletal remains were found.
The yard at the the back of St Paul’s Church in Stoneybatter, Dublin where skeletal remains were found.

Archaeologist Franc Miles said burials in the grounds were from 1702 to the 1860s. A extant set of burial records remain, but Emmet, if he really is buried there, would have no record.

Previous exhumations were carried out when the graveyard was closed in 1860s to make way for a school on the site.

“With all the evacuations, we were left with bits and pieces of body. There weren’t many full skeletons,” he said.

Mr Miles said it all the gravemarkers and stones were removed in the 1860s “so all you are left with really are bones.”

Mr Miles said it would be difficult if not impossible to identify Emmet’s remains even if they are buried in the grounds of St Paul’s Church.

His own “educated guess” is that Emmet’s body is still buried somewhere in Bully’s Acre.

As many of his supporters have said over the last two centuries: “Do not look for him. His grave is Ireland.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!