This camera enables directors to turn filmed footage into AI imagery while shooting

The CMR-M1, developed by SpecialGuest and 1stAveMachine, debuted at Cannes Lions, including at Ad Age’s lawn party

Published On
Jun 24, 2024

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As AI promises to change filmmaking as we know it, SpecialGuestX and 1stAveMachine—two longtime innovators in the advertising production space—are putting the technology in the hands of directors while they are shooting with a camera that transforms real images into generative AI on the fly.

The CMR-M1 (short for Camera Model 1) incorporates a FLIR sensor, a Snapdragon CPU and a viewport. It records real images—in 1368x768 resolution at 12 frames per second—and transforms them using AI. All AI processing is done in the cloud. The real footage is uploaded to a server where a Stable Diffusion workflow is executed. In this first prototype version of CMR-M1, the execution is not real-time—there is a latency between recording and transformation—but new AI models such as StreamDiffusion will allow real-time processing.

The camera made its debut at Cannes Lions last week. See some examples of its output below, including footage from Ad Age’s Cannes lawn party.


The goal of the camera is to bring AI into the physical filmmaking process, rather than doing everything at a keyboard. The CMR-M1 includes familiar features of a professional camera, such as interchangeable lenses, accessories bars, matte box, a tripod base, etc. It also has in-camera editing capabilities.

It also comes equipped with five Stable Diffusion LoRAs, including a “Blooming Nature” style that turns images into a colorful jungle and an "Old Money" style that creates classic luxury scenes with tuxedos, gold coins and rugs. The camera also has a slot to insert a style card, which has a NFC chip with an identifier that connects to the filmmaker’s unique style and workflow. This allows each user to have a model trained with their “own” images and a personalized prompt that defines their unique style.

“We believe that movie creation is inherently physical. Filmmakers are used to using cameras, lenses, tripods, lighting, and that AI has to be a new tool that enhances creativity,” said Miguel Espada, co-founder and executive creative technologist of SpecialGuestX. “In the spirit of creative experimentation, we designed a camera that serves as a physical interface to AI models.”

“Sometimes to imagine what the future might be like you have to prototype it. This is especially the case when it comes to filmmaking, creative technologies and the creative community,” said Aaron Duffy, founder and executive creative director of SpecialGuestX. “The CMR-M1 is a prototype for how hands-on creators will use AI rather than sitting at a keyboard.”

“We are always looking for ways to be ahead of the curve especially as it relates to innovation and technology in production. Miguel and Aaron at SpecialGuestX have been long-time collaborators and were the perfect partner to bring this AI-powered camera to life,” said Sam Penfield, EP Partner of 1stAveMachine. “I look forward to the endless possibilities of having this one-of-a-kind camera in-house.”

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Jun 24, 2024
Agency :
Special Guest
Agency :
1st Ave Machine

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