Real Voice for State – 2nd attempt

The easiest way to say what we had to do to make this work is by putting it down in a step-by-step.

1. Record audio voices of all characters conversing with each other at the same time to avoid audio prints that don’t match-up.

2. After importing audio files into the computer, each individual voice must be saved as a separate audio file for every single time that character speaks. For example:

Vin: I have to do what? (audio file 1.1)
Nat: I need a file for every single part of the conversation. (audio file 1.2)
Vin: State won’t let you just run the whole wav file? (audio file 1.3)
Nat: No. (audio file 1.4)
Vin: So I need to make a new audio file for every part of the conversation. (audio file 1.5)
Nat: Yes. And then I have to upload each individual file every time a character begins to speak. (audio file 1.6)
Vin: That sucks. (audio file 1.7)
Nat: I know. (audio file 1.8)

That short conversation is now 8 different audio files.

3. So then each individual audio file must be imported into State whenever a character begins to speak.   This process will then remove all the continuous room noise that was present in the background and create a horrid empty space of sound between one character having finished speaking and a new character beginning to speak.

4. Export the file from State.

5. In Premiere I exported the audio file to fix.

  • Using Soundbooth I lowered the room noise a bit from where the characters are speaking. I did this using the previously blogged about method.
  • To help with the cavernous sound of the recording I added an EQ Graphic filter and selected Presence.
  • I also had to export some of the room noise to fill in the spaces between the characters talking.  I took the few seconds of exported room noise and pulled them into Garage Band to create a clip of room noise that was several minutes long.  I probably could have done this in Soundbooth, but since I already know how to do it in Garage Band, and I’m really not in the mood to learn a new trick right now, I made it in Garage Band.

6. I pulled the new audio into Premiere, including the room noise audio as a constant background hum, and then proceeded to edit as normal.

Xtranormal Voice Options

First trials with the Xtranormal animation tutorials went reasonably okay. The biggest problem seemed to be the robotic voice provided by the program.  There are very few options in each language and what tends to happen is that some words are hard to understand in the robotic voice the first time around. We want the videos to be understood by all and if the native English speakers are having trouble with robotic enunciation then… well.

So for the second draft we are going to be trying out a recording of live human voices. The xtranormal desktop software, State, allows a user to record a voice into the program and the animated person follows along to that recording instead of the robotic voice. This sounds like a good alternative.  I haven’t finished putting together the new drafts, but here are some issues that have been raised with the use of the human voice:

1. Any editing would require the person who voiced it to come in. Otherwise you might potentially have to edit every single video with the new voice.

2. the robotic voice is something that whoever is doing the animation can work with on their own instead of having to wait for a schedule fit with the voice actor.

3. The librarians doing the voices are talking considerably faster than the robotic voice. This might give rise to a different problem. As the robotic voice was difficult to understand, a fast human voice might be difficult for our target audience to follow. As in, it’s hard to absorb information that you are hearing for the first time when it’s given too fast. My opinion.