Before getting into the details about this video, you might have noticed the wording in the headline: “Creation.” NVIDIA didn’t simply record video or stream their keynote for their GPU Technology Conference (GTC) back in April this year. They created much of it using their own technology and tools, especially their Omniverse platform. Omniverse is a multi-GPU real-time simulation and collaboration platform, which is intended for multiverse and digital twin applications. Colloquially, some people call digital twins “deepfakes.”
The M. Night Shyamalan-level twist is that it seemed nobody outside of NVIDIA knew (or publicly said anything, anyway) that they had developed and presented their keynote this way. NVIDIA used their stage a few days ago at the computer graphics-focused conference, SIGGRAPH 2021, to reveal their secret.
At SIGGRAPH, NVIDIA premiered a half hour-long documentary that broke down how the technology giant’s president and CEO, Jensen Huang, keynote at GTC 2021 was largely rendered and simulated through Omniverse, using ray tracing, to physics, AI, and much more. Among some of the specific simulated elements are:
- Jensen himself, signature leather jacket and all, at least for a short interlude in the keynote recording. According to NVIDIA, “Through all but 14 seconds of the hour and 48 minute presentation — from 1:02:41 to 1:02:55 — Huang himself spoke in the keynote.”
- The kitchen backdrop that’s become familiar to regular viewers of his streams over the last year.
- The NVIDIA DGX Station A100 server featured in the keynote as a real-world accurate digital version.
This tweet sums up many of the reactions online when finding out about this “gotcha” twist.
NVIDIA revealed at SIGGRAPH that Jensen Huang’s GTC Keynote in April was…not real. Including Jensen Huang himself! 🤯
— Alexandre Moufarek (@amoufarek) August 12, 2021
The video itself is a mix of fascinating technical tidbits and insights around the-making-of the GTC keynote and sleek marketing for Omniverse. It’s a demonstration that, with enough technical know-how and creativity, simulations can be created that look so close to the real thing that they no longer sit in the not-quite-real space of the uncanny valley. At the very least, NVIDIA proved that they can turn an oh-so familiar 2D digital conference experience into something that is genuinely capable of being surprising.
If you want to check out NVIDIA’s documentary on YouTube, the video follows. NVIDIA also posted a blog piece last week that delves into more of the details about the keynote and the documentary about it.