Voco-The ‘Voice Manipulator Software’-Threat for VO Artistes?


Did you know that Software major Adobe has unveiled what it calls the ‘Photoshop for Voice’, a software that makes it possible to take an audio recording and rapidly alter it to include words and phrases the original speaker never uttered, in what sounds like their voice!!

Sugar Mediaz Voice Industry Blog finds out more about this development. This Blog has been compiled with help from articles by BBC.com, Voiceoverherald.com and theverge.com

Voice manipulator Software VoCo from Adobe

Breakthrough technology or threat to Voice over Artistes!

Imagine a scenario where a client needs to get some correction done from a Voice over Artiste for a recording done earlier and the artiste is not available or the client is not okay with the re recording fee of the artiste. The client simply uses this software Adobe Voco and using it’s voice synthesis abilities to RE CREATE the Voice over artiste’s voice from his earlier recording, gets his job done WITHOUT engaging with the artiste, thereby saving money…or rather..depriving the Voice over artiste of his re recording fees!!

Like Photoshop, Adobe VoCo is designed to be a state-of-the-art audio editing application. Beyond your standard speech editing and noise-cancellation features, this software can also apparently generate new words using a speaker’s recorded voice. Essentially, the software can understand the makeup of a person’s voice and replicate it, so long as there’s about 20 minutes of recorded speech.

VoCo allows you to change words in a voiceover simply by typing new words. Have to hear it to believe it? Check out a live demo using a recording of co-host Jordan Peele’s voice.

At a live demo in San Diego on Thursday, Adobe took a digitized recording of a man saying “and I kissed my dogs and my wife” and changed it to say “and I kissed Jordan three times”.

The edit took seconds and simply involved the operator over typing a transcript of the speech and then pressing a button to create the synthesized voice track.

“We have already revolutionized photo editing. Now it’s time for us to do the audio stuff,” said Adobe’s Zeyu Jin, to the applause of his audience.

He added that to make the process possible, the software needed to be provided with about 20 minutes-worth of a person’s speech.

This shows how incredibly powerful this application is as it can generate words that are not in the recording and the same time replicate the voice, in general tone and timbre – making it ideal for voice over projects like audiobooks and podcasts…also Scary!

 Powerful and amazing as it is, this voice manipulation technology can pose some serious security and ethical concerns.

Concerns for the Voice over Industry

The creators of this software are peddling that their main target users are those in the voice over industry.

For its part, Adobe has spoken of it’s customers using VoCo to fix podcast and audio book recordings without having to rebook presenters or voiceover artists. On their blog site VoCo is described as giving the user the “option to edit or insert a few words without the hassle of recreating the recording environment or bringing the voiceover artist in for another session.”

But what will stop people with enterprising minds from misusing the application and break ethical boundaries?

If released, VoCo would definitely do wonders for the voice over industry, in particular benefiting producers, but the voice over actors would undoubtedly come up on the short end of the bargain.




5 Responses

  1. Freddy

    I think it’s a ‘neighbours envy,owners pride’ kind of situation…

    But eventually technology will replace human to robots…this is just the start …

  2. Jassi bhatia

    Wow…amazing technology….although not encouraging….wonder where mankind is going to stop…voice cloning may become d order of d day….Individuals Voice copyrights may exist…?

  3. Yogesh Rokde

    Yesterday, I came across this video, about #VOCO project by Adobe.
    The bitter truth about the software industry is they are boomed with new technology and always want to produce and update new tech for customers. No doubt Adobe is A VERY BIG NAME in software industry, and as a Designer I am also using some of the Products of Adobe from past 12 years. They already have some Audio editing tools in their bucket, and #VOCO is just an update in that bucket, as I said earlier.
    There are so many TEXT TO SPEECH recognition software already available in the market from past several years, but it is just for limited or restricted use, and #VOCO is just a little updated version of it.
    Moreover, I must say, Softwares are just tools for digital manipulation. We just have to take it positively.

  4. Harish Bhimani

    Wonder if VoCo can perpitrate more damage than Photoshop.
    We underwent the same anxiety when TTS was born.
    But in the Adobe demo, do you notice the slight mechanical tone & quick release in the ‘created audio’ akin to TTS? Probably, that’s why the demos were short phrases rather than full-bodied sentences.

    • Sugar Mediaz

      Dear Harish ji,

      An opinion from an Industry stalwart like you, it means a lot to us.
      You have made a pointed observation about the mechanical tone and the ‘jerky’ feel in the created audio. Let’s hope that this Photoshop for VOICE does not end up making any dent in the world of Voice Artistes who are anyways struggling for a more dignified identity in terms of their rights as Performers. Also, this prototype is already facing enough challenges and concerns on the legal front with regards to misuse in crime evidence.

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