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Audition with AI voice reference
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MBVOXX
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2024 8:14 am    Post subject: Audition with AI voice reference Reply with quote

My normal work week sees 40-50 auditions and all those audition scripts always come with some degree of direction. As well, they often include references ranging from the writer's scratch track to celebrity "touchstones", to simple suggestions or requests. I've even received audition scripts that have referenced me as the voice to either match (literally), or try to capture the essence of. Oddly, sometimes I get those "me" jobs and sometimes I don't. lol.

Last week I received an audition script with an AI voice over of the entire script for reference. As I listened to the reference track I thought it sounded about as perfect for the project as possible. There was nothing artificial about it, and the tone, timbre, inflection, and all performance aspects were spot on. Apparently whomever created it had entered all the directional data and the computer executed it perfectly. And I mean perfectly.

I wondered ... (if it's a non union job) why doesn't the client just go with the AI voice and call it a day? Sadly, it's looking like this is where the future of general, day to day, in the trenches VO work is likely to end up. The AI voice guy shows up on time, doesn't make mistakes, doesn't slur words or have mouth noises, doesn't drink, doesn't complain about the poor copy writing, doesn't require a studio, linking software, or expensive gear, and charges a whole lot less. And kinda like drum software, renders the best sounding performance money can buy.


Last edited by MBVOXX on Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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BruceG
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2024 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear you Michael. My work is the "non-glamorous" end of VO, largely E-learning. Thankfully I'm still getting a lot of work...but I've wondered lately how long this will last. As you've already said, AI is getting scary-good these days, though I've heard instances on YT where there is a "glitch" after about 8-10 min or so. I don't think it's completely there yet for long-form narration but it could be, sooner than we realize.
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2024 2:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Audition with AI voice reference Reply with quote

MBVOXX wrote:
I wondered ... (if it's a non union job) why doesn't the client just go with the AI voice and call it a day? Sadly, it's looking like this is where the future of general, day to day, in the trenches VO work is likely to end up. The AI voice guy shows up on time, doesn't make mistakes, doesn't slur words or have mouth noises, doesn't drink, doesn't complain about the poor copy writing, doesn't require a studio, linking software, or expensive gear, and charges a whole lot less. And kinda like drum software, renders the best sounding performance money can buy.


My gut tells me your hunch is correct, and for all the reasons you point out. I'll also add that AI has gotten really good. The good stuff is not yet used by the mainstream, but we are literally months away from that as I've seen the really good stuff working on AI industry task force groups at The TV Academy and AMPAS.

This is why SAG-AFTRA has been so diligent about this. We cannot control or enforce protections and compensation with non-union AI usage. The only thing we can do is guarantee protections and profit sharing when previous union vo work is enhanced with generative AI to create new union content. I'll give you one example. I recently chaired the animation contract negotiations. One of our AI gains was in foreign language. If studios take our English recordings and through AI generate our work into foreign languages, which they have the technology to do quite well, we get paid applicable residuals. For the union actor, AI will be the next generation of profit sharing/residuals. We were able to make better AI gains in animation than tv/theatrical.
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Mike Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see a day not too far off where residuals from AI usage (imagine a global translation to many languages for a large campaign) usurp traditional residuals.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2024 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I'm hearing from my eLearning clients about AI is not about quality, but about privacy. With drug development cost in the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars, the pharmaceutical word is especially touchy about their proprietary information leaking into the ether. At this point, they just don't trust the AI engines. That will likely change, but not on 4/12/2024.
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Lee Gordon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2024 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several years ago, I did a video game in which I played two characters, both of which were talking computers in the same manner as Majel Barrett's Star Trek computer or HAL from 2001. In fact, one was in the style of HAL. If AI had been at the level of advancement it has reached today, the game developer could probably have used it instead of me. I'm sure there are plenty of other humans who have performed similar roles over the years. I think the current state of AI is just the computers getting their revenge against us for taking their jobs.
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MBVOXX
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2024 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember back in the late 80's doing sessions for a cash register voice. Since sampling was in it's infancy and couldn't reproduce captured speech with accuracy and only in short segments, they had me speak very slowly, articulating and enunciating each vowel and syllable, so the computer could interpret it back as close to speech as was possible at that time.
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2024 7:12 am    Post subject: Re: Audition with AI voice reference Reply with quote

MBVOXX wrote:
There was nothing artificial about it, and the tone, timbre, inflection, and all performance aspects were spot on. Apparently whomever created it had entered all the directional data and the computer executed it perfectly. And I mean perfectly.


I wonder if "perfect" execution isn't closer to "error-free" than excellent. What separates great reads from acceptable ones is not lack of technique, or tone, or any other set of attributes which can be rated; but the ready conveyance of internal states.

I say this not so much in a wishful way but to get a handle on what AI's biggest hurdle might be: having no consciousness, it cannot convey fleeting conscious states. And despite its hand-over-fist gains, it is nowhere near anything like consciousness.
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Philip Banks
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2024 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AI, are you ready?
The OOV girl has just spotted her ex with his new girlfriend. He is driving her favourite car, the one they always wanted to own when they were together. She is heart broken. As shots change to show how great the car is and the couple having a wonderful time she describes the features of the car as if she were describing her happiest memories of their relationship. Ok? I'm rolling.

No? What's needed is EI. Emotional Interaction. Code THAT!

AI is able to generate something very quickly but that is not the same as being spontaneous.
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2024 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip, Philip...you just don't know what you don't know.

This thing is a tidal wave capable of matching (and often exceeding) human capabilities on every level that relates to VO.

You'll see. You'll definitely see.
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2024 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GunslingerWriting wrote:
Philip, Philip...you just don't know what you don't know.

This thing is a tidal wave capable of matching (and often exceeding) human capabilities on every level that relates to VO.

You'll see. You'll definitely see.


You are so right. Not only is AI spontaneous already today, it can be done in real time. This whole thing is so ironic. Union vo said 25 years ago that major buyers will never hire non-union talent. That non-union talent will never be as good as union talent. Now, non-union talent is saying the same thing about AI. This is just history repeating itself by way of today’s tech disruption.
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Philip Banks
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2024 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really ignore the double dose of patronising responses but out of courtesy I'll defer to acceptable "free speech".
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2024 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. At least I'll be dead soon.
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
f studios take our English recordings and through AI generate our work into foreign languages, which they have the technology to do quite well, we get paid applicable residuals. For the union actor, AI will be the next generation of profit sharing/residuals.


I wonder what our fellow unions overseas think about this? This will decimate their dubbing industries
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Bob Bergen
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2024 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

melissa eX wrote:
Quote:
f studios take our English recordings and through AI generate our work into foreign languages, which they have the technology to do quite well, we get paid applicable residuals. For the union actor, AI will be the next generation of profit sharing/residuals.


I wonder what our fellow unions overseas think about this? This will decimate their dubbing industries


Possibly? But most of this foreign dubbing has been done non-union. And, buyers may continue to do so as a way to avoid residuals. We just wanted to protect our work. And, they can do the same if foreign animation is dubbed in English using AI.
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