This is Scary: Project VoCo Audio App That Gets Announcers to Say ANYTHING
by Tracy Johnson
You probably haven’t heard of Project VoCo, because it’s still in beta. But how many times do you wish you could get that air personality to say exactly what you want them to? Or make them say it just a little differently? More effectively?
And wouldn’t it be great to do it yourself, from your own desktop without having to work through or with anyone else?
Well, your day is coming. And it’s exciting, or scary, depending on how you look at it. Adobe has announced a new app described as Photoshop for Audio.
As you know, Photoshop allows users to manipulate photos or audio in creative, imaginative ways. You can correct mistakes, change the background and even make things appear that weren’t originally there.
So we shouldn’t be that surprised that an audio app is on the way that allows you to make words appear in an audio track that were not there in the first place.
Introducing Project VoCo
The working title is Project VoCo, and it’s designed to be a state-of-the-art audio editing application. Project VoCo can apparently generate new words using a speaker’s recorded voice. Essentially, the software understands the structure and sound of a voice and has the ability to replicate it.
Just start with about 20 minutes of recorded speech, and the software learns the speaker’s vocal tone, patterns and diction.
Adobe developer Zeyu Jin unveiled the software in a live demo at the Adobe MAX conference in San Diego, showcasing how Project VoCo let him add words to a sentence in a near-perfect replication of the speaker:
Project VoCo Implications For Radio
For now, it appears that Project VoCo is able to replicate words and short phrases, not long-form or endless segments. But as the software improves, imagine what you may be able do with it:
Voice Over Talent
Hire the voice, get a 20-minute demo, and replicate it for any copy, any time you want it. It would save time for the voice actor and the station. Don’t like how it sounds? Change a word or phrase and fix it without having to track down the talent.
Multiple Versions of Reads
Many times, we’re limited in how many versions of a liner or promo because of the quota allowed in the agreement with the voice talent. You may be able to create an unlimited number of updates, versions and alternatives quickly and efficiently.
Theoretically, you could enjoy the sound of any personality, while managing an air personality’s content to fit your station and local market. One voice tracker could now handle hundreds of stations, and the local PD could have greater control over the content.
All personalities would be well-served to perform their best topics more frequently, but it’s hard to regain the spontaneity. What if you could start with the original audio, and rewrite the lines to create a fresh, new break?
Editorial Control Of “Live” Segments
Taking the idea to another level, a PD could even require talent to record their “live” breaks in advance, and submit them for approval. Then, a producer or editor could manipulate the product before it airs the next day.
I think I’m pretty excited about this. How about you? What do you think? How would you use it? Are you excited about it? Scared of it? Does it bother you?
Thanks to Michael Steele for calling my attention to this app.
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