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Runway’s latest AI video generator brings giant cotton candy monsters to life

Enlarge / Screen capture of a Runway Gen-3 Alpha video generated with the prompt “A giant humanoid, made of fluffy blue cotton candy, stomping on the ground, and roaring to the sky, clear blue sky behind them.” (credit: Runway)

On Sunday, Runway announced a new AI video synthesis model called Gen-3 Alpha that’s still under development, but it appears to create video of similar quality to OpenAI’s Sora, which debuted earlier this year (and has also not yet been released). It can generate novel, high-definition video from text prompts that range from realistic humans to surrealistic monsters stomping the countryside.

Unlike Runway’s previous best model from June 2023, which could only create two-second-long clips, Gen-3 Alpha can reportedly create 10-second-long video segments of people, places, and things that have a consistency and coherency that easily surpasses Gen-2. If 10 seconds sounds short compared to Sora’s full minute of video, consider that the company is working with a shoestring budget of compute compared to more lavishly funded OpenAI—and actually has a history of shipping video generation capability to commercial users.

Gen-3 Alpha does not generate audio to accompany the video clips, and it’s highly likely that temporally coherent generations (those that keep a character consistent over time) are dependent on similar high-quality training material. But Runway’s improvement in visual fidelity over the past year is difficult to ignore.

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