The Future of Voiceovers: Hold Your Tongue…Possibly ForeverWritten by Peter Drew
“Do we need to cast a voice-over talent for this project?”
That’s a valid question any producer might ask when creating an advertisement, corporate audio-video presentation, video game, etc. Of course, answer depends on what elements producer and client feel will best communicate with audience. For a radio ad, a fully sung jingle with no voice-over could work best. A TV spot or corporate narration might be most effective using scrolling graphic and text, again without an announcer. But very soon producers could be pondering whether their productions need a voice over talent for a more disturbing reason. Vocal utterances produced by air passing through folds of tissue and formed by lips, teeth, and tongue may, simply put, become obsolete. Yes, “virtual voice talent” may very well become a reality.
Welcome to Machine
In May 2004 issue of Mix Magazine, in two separate articles, Stephen St. Croix and Paul D. Lehrman relate their experiences with a new piece of software ominously named “Vocaloid.” This little computer-coded wonder is a speech synthesizer that’s being used to synthesize background vocals on actual recordings that are being sold to public—background vocals so good, you’d be hard-pressed to recognize they’re fake singers. Now, considering dubious singing talents of many of our current pop stars, maybe a Vocaloid virtual diva named Britney isn’t too far-fetched. Audio manipulation, including pitch correction, equalization, compression, reverb, have been used for decades to save bacon of many a pop star’s performance in-studio or on stage. Technically, it’s just a short step from this point to a “singer in a box.”
In fact, in letters section of July 2004 issue of Mix Magazine a person identified only as “BC,” referring to St. Croix and Lehrman articles, boasted that he’s created a “band” called The Bots… “created wholly from speech synthesizers and 3-D graphics.” BC further states, “I use Vocaloid among a variety of other speech synths to make it more into an ensemble. The Bots have released two CDs, a ‘record deal’ with Magnatune, and a second video in works. It’s been a long and painful ordeal, but I’ve finally gotten them to point where they seem as real as any other band out there—except no live concerts.”
One Small Step for Man – One Giant Bill from Tech. SupportWritten by Pete McFraser
Beaming data to moon—it sounds intriguing, but is it really answer to offsite backup?
Dozens of businesses were unable to recover from 9/11. Having all of their files and backup data in one location added incredible economic damage to already tragic losses of life. Should businesses anticipate a graver disaster than that of World Trade Center?
Jumping forward ten, maybe twenty, years... North Korea’s nuclear arsenal builds to an astounding 50,000 warheads (more than USSR at peak of Cold War), ozone hole exceeds 15 million square miles, and war on terror wages on. Nevertheless, it’s business–as–usual back in good old US of A. Investments grow, as does price of gasoline and real estate. Cures for would–be–lethal diseases are on brink of discovery, and space travel is available to anyone willing to pay.
Nobody saw it coming. Or more precisely, no one believed it would really happen. Astronomers warned of day asteroid would come. And it does.
Barreling through space at unheard–of speeds, asteroid, aptly named “the end of days,” smashes against earth like a 400 billion ton hammer. Hundreds of thousands of lives are lost almost immediately. Dust and ash spread across sky, and earth whimpers as if wind were knocked out of her. Over coming months, damage is address by Red Cross like a troupe of girl scouts servicing Normandy invasion. The economy is in shambles as consumer confidence falls through floor...and then basement.
Out of smoke comes Dennis Laurie, CEO of TransOrbital. In a speech matched only by Sir Winston Churchill, or maybe even Morgan Freeman, he assures world that rebuilding economy is possible. The companies that had invested in TransOrbital by sending their backup data to moon could fly past their competitors and reshape new world. By retrieving data stored safely in space, these companies redefine Fortune 500 and become new leaders in global economy.