OpenAI’s Sora Powers Washed Out’s ‘The Hardest Part’ Music Video

OpenAI’s Sora Powers Washed Out's 'The Hardest Part' Music Video

Director Paul Trillio crafts a four-minute music video made exclusively with OpenAI’s text-to-video model, Sora

Washed Out, the chillwave musician, unveiled the first fully artificial intelligence-generated music video last week using OpenAI’s text-to-video model, Sora. The latest single “The Hardest Part,” released Thursday, is accompanied by a four-minute music video that follows a couple’s romance from high school through adulthood, speeding through scenes of their wedding, raising children, and eventual death.

Paul Trillio, the video’s director, had envisioned an “infinite zoom” concept for a decade but considered it too ambitious until now. “I was specifically interested in what makes Sora so unique. It offers something that couldn’t quite be shot with a camera, nor could it be animated in 3D. It was something that could have only existed with this specific technology,” Trillio stated via Washed Out’s record label, Sub Pop.

Sora, currently unavailable to the public, can generate videos up to a minute long based on text prompts. Edited together, these clips can form full-length projects. OpenAI’s February reveal of its video-generation capabilities ignited a mix of excitement and concern.

Trillio emphasized the creative potential of AI-generated videos, writing that Sora’s “surreal and hallucinatory aspects” enable exploration of new ideas. “I wasn’t interested in capturing realism but something that felt hyperreal. The fluid blending and merging of different scenes feels more akin to how we move through dreams and the murkiness of memories,” he said.

“The Hardest Part” is the lead single from Washed Out’s upcoming album, Notes From a Quiet Life, and the longest video created using Sora to date. Trillio aimed to create a dreamlike, almost uncanny visual effect with Sora, avoiding realism in favor of something “hyperreal.”

Ernest Greene, the musician behind Washed Out, said in a statement via Sub Pop that Sora brought the fictitious couple’s story to life uniquely. “What [Trillio’s] come up with is nostalgic, sad, uplifting, and often quite strange. However, he still manages to make you feel for the characters and invested in the journey of how their lives progress.”

While some artists criticized the use of AI, doubting its creativity and emotional impact, others see the technology as an opportunity for lower-budget creators. Trillio remains optimistic about how artists will adapt to AI’s potential. “This offers a glimpse at a future where music artists will be given the opportunity to dream bigger.”

He concluded that “an overreliance on this technique may become a crutch,” but emphasized that it should be used as “another technique in the toolbelt.”

Director/Editor | Paul Trillo
Video Production House | Trillo Films