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Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!

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rcPics
Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 13, 2007 at 6:30:07 am

Of course not! But this is actually what one of the producers asked me while I was editing and doing sound design on a recent indy feature.

It's a film shot in Italy (very nicely on super 16, I might add), and their lead character is supposed to be a local...meaning Italian accent (all the dialogue is in English). But the actor is British and only spoke with his natural accent. The producer figured since 'computers can do so much today', that it had to be possible. Sure. Like there's a pull-down menu to choose your nationality of destination, with sliders for their degree of aptitude at English, keyframes so that you can make the accent thicker in some spots, three degrees of tricky vowel and consonant discombobulation, and upcoming plugins covering the subtle differences in varying regions of China. (!!!!!) WTF?

I told him no...it doesn't exist nor is it likely to very soon...and that if it did, the designer of the filter should win the Nobel Prize in science or something. "But I've seen electric pianos that you can make sound like a trumpet or violin.", he replied. "That's.....different.", I told him.

I then facetiously suggested that he hires a digital artist to animate the actor's hands more fervently when he spoke. "Y'think so?", he asked. At that point, I tactfully moved on to more pressing issues, like what color he wanted the DVD case to be. Amazing.



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grinner
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 14, 2007 at 3:53:39 am

nice.
I sometimes get asked if I have a filter to drop 20 pounds off a talent. I've actually warped beer bellies before and gotten positive response by drinken producers. Careful how you oppease here, they just may wanna keep it.
type the script into one of thos online automated voice doohickies just to mess with him.
lol




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Charlie King
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 14, 2007 at 9:02:17 pm

Oh god man, I just about busted a gut. You did such a great job of explainingeverything. Very creative writing. WOW!!! maybe someday I CAN be a news pernouncer for real. I just need a filter to get rid of my Texas drawl.

Charlie


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grinner
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 15, 2007 at 3:13:46 pm

lol
I've heard ya talk, pardner. Aint gonna happen.



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Mike Cohen
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 15, 2007 at 4:53:39 pm

I frequently am asked to remove a super from a video I did not create. Or asked to remove a time code burn


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Mark Suszko
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 16, 2007 at 2:24:17 pm

Painting out graphics supers can be very lucrative if you charge by the hour:-)

Seriously, the only answer to the guy's need is to ADR or "loop" the actor's audio with someone else re-doing the voice to specification. This kind of work has always been more popular in Europe, because first of all good location sound gear was hard to come by or pay for over there in the early days, but post production looping was dirt cheap. Secondly, the multitude of languages and dialects over there meant ADR was often a necessity for distribution. Orson loved ADR because of his background in radio. On "Magnificent Ambersons" he tried to pre-record and edit the entire movie in ADR sessions, THEN have actors lip synch it on the set. His technology was unable to make this work well enough and it was abandoned. Today, the tech is certainly there.


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rcPics
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 19, 2007 at 12:51:12 am

"Seriously, the only answer to the guy's need is to ADR or "loop" the actor's audio with someone else re-doing the voice to specification. This kind of work has always been more popular in Europe, because first of all good location sound gear was hard to come by or pay for over there in the early days, but post production looping was dirt cheap. Secondly, the multitude of languages and dialects over there meant ADR was often a necessity for distribution."

Yeah, the 'solution' is obvious...if it wasn't while casting (!!). It was just funny how he so casually thought I could hit a button and 'fix' things.



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adkimery
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 19, 2007 at 11:59:58 pm

"On "Magnificent Ambersons" he tried to pre-record and edit the entire movie in ADR sessions, THEN have actors lip synch it on the set. His technology was unable to make this work well enough and it was abandoned. Today, the tech is certainly there."

It doesn't sound like it would be much different than singers lip synching in music videos.


-A


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Mark Suszko
Re: Audio Filter that will change someone's accent?!
on Mar 20, 2007 at 4:06:11 am

Indeed, this is now a common way they do things for stage shows at theme parks and the like for many years. It's especially good for those shows where the actors have to run around, fight, or dance a lot, and just can't keep up a consistent wind and voice over a dozen shows a day. The delivery remains consistent even after cast changes. At the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, they have a very nice, effects-filled show where a librarian interacts with ghosts of Lincoln and others; they use this same system, where the live actor has to lip synch in perfect time with a pre-recorded track that drives all the effects. Not very much of a stretch for the actors, but it does mean everything is consistent show to show and actor to actor, without any micing problems.


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