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Billie Tweets

July 9, 2009 // Posted in Audio Software, Culture, Visualization (Tags: , , , , ) |  No Comments

Billie Tweets is a Twitter based tribute to Michael Jackson by the open source software developers 9Astronauts.  It combines Michael Jackson’s video of Billie Jean with a karaoke style scrolling of lyrics highlighted word by word from recent tweets.  Each word in the song is pulled from a new “tweet” and displayed on the website in time with the music.  It’s a very forward thinking presentation and worth looking at.

billietweets

http://billietweets.com/

– Adam Smith-Kipnis

Google Audio: Searching for the right words

July 6, 2009 // Posted in Audio Software, Culture, Gaming, General, iPhone stuff, Software, Uncategorized (Tags: , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Back in February I wrote about search engines with speech recognition capabilities. Now Google has gotten into the mix with Google Audio Indexing.  Google Audio Indexing is an extension of their Speech Recognition group.

There are two big questions being addressed here. What information can be extracted from millions of hours of audio and how can that information be applied?

Background

Generally speaking, the analysis of speech recognition consists of the following.

  • the topic(s) being discussed
  • the identities of the speaker(s)
  • the genders of the speakers
  • the emotional character of the speech
  • the amount and locations of speech versus non-speech (e.g. background noise or silence)

Speech is not the only data that can be extracted from uploaded video.  Music has tempo, key, lyrics, timbre, instrumentation and much more.  The search for sound effect reference material in web video is also currently limited by titles and keywords manually attached to videos.

Imagination

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Imagine that you’re hearing impaired but would like to watch and understand political speeches posted to YouTube.  By using automated speech recognition in combination with closed captions, any spoken word video posted to YouTube would always be accessable to you.

Imagine that there is a video in a language not familar to you that you’d like to understand.  Speech recognition combined with a translation service like BabelFish could help to bridge cultures worldwide.  For people who are also blind, this could also be combined with speech synthesis feature for even greater accessability.

Imagine that you’re a business that wants to track the emotions of people uploading videos mentioning your product.

Imagine that you’re a Karaoke lover who has stage fright and wants to practice at home.  Extracting lyrics from music videos and automatically adding them as closed captions would be a welcome feature to you.  This might not be possible with “Louie Louie” but would be useful for everything else.

Imagine that you’re a DJ looking for the perfect track to mix.  Being able to search for musical content with video according to key and tempo would be hugely valuable to you.  This could be accomplished by combining MixMeister’s functionality with Google Audio.  MixMeister extracts tempo and key from music libraries.

Imagine that you’re a musician looking to compose new music from sampled clips.  Music search tools would be hugely useful to you as well. InBFlat.net is a website which presents videos composed in the same key.  Kutiman is a musician who composes new songs from uploaded video clips.  These are the sorts of projects that could be made using tempo and key detection in Google Audio.  See a sample of Kutiman’s work below.

Imagine that you’re a part of the largest search engine company in the world and want to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  What other features would you add?

Realization

With user generated content becoming the cornerstone of interactive media, tools and methods for parsing vast amounts of data will be essential.  Speech recognition will be a huge part of this.  Google is now working very hard at developing and refining their speech algorithms and is releasing multiple products to support this effort.  Here are a few examples of this.

Google Audio Indexing – Search through the audio content in web video.  Currently Google Audio Indexing is exclusive to the political channel of YouTube.

Google 411 – Google 411 is a voice activated search engine that can be dialed from any phone.

Google Mobile – Google Mobile has a built in speech recognition feature which is much faster than typing a search on a tiny touchscreen.

Google Voice – Google Voice is designed to consolidate phone numbers and also includes transcription services for voice mail.

As evidenced by a recent test by the New York Times, Google has a way to go before their algorithms are perfected.  Nonetheless, they are on the right track and have displayed a consistancy in their interest to develop speech recognition.

– Adam Smith-Kipnis

InBFlat: Harmonization with YouTube

June 3, 2009 // Posted in Audio Software, Culture, Software, Visualization  |  14 Comments

In Bb 2.0 is one of the more interesting websites I’ve seen in a while.  “In Bb 2.0 is a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls.”

Darren Solomon requested that fans record and post videos in the same key.  He then assembled selected videos on one webpage, effectively transforming a browser into a web-based audio video mixing board.

Because all the videos are in the same key, they mix harmonically and sound very natural.  The different elements are not in the same tempo but this interactive song is not driven by rhythm.  Each piece fits an ambient vibe and they all blend well.  It’s a very cool concept and one that I’m sure we’ll be seeing more interpretations of in the future.

Of the many videos posted, these are my favorite.

What is a Sound Designer?: Revisiting A 2006 interview

May 29, 2009 // Posted in Culture, Gaming, General  |  No Comments

I recently rediscovered an interview that I gave to an aspiring audio engineer in 2006. Three years later I’ve found that some of my views and opinions have changed and others have stayed the same… Read the rest of this entry »

Sound Visualization Using the Elements: Part 3 – Liquid

May 26, 2009 // Posted in Audio Hardware, Culture, Visualization (Tags: , , , , , ) |  9 Comments

Ferrofluid (Magnetic Fluid)

I find ferrofluid to be fascinating.  Ferrofluid is a fluid which polarizes in the presence of a magnetic field.  This means that if you send a magnetic burst through it, you can create a visible ripple.  With steady magnetic fields, you could sculpt the liquid into any form imaginable!  As soon as the magnetic field is gone, the liquid loseWeight Exercises it’s form.

I’d imagine that it was the inspiration for Terminator 2.
“LiquidAudio was a course project for ECE362 at Purdue University. It takes in an audio signal from a standard stereo jack and outputs the average amplitude of 5 frequency bands in a pool of ferrofluid.

This video demonstrates the project to the music of “Wildcat” by Ratatat. ”

More Ferrofluid

Water

This is an excellent demonstration of Faraday waves. Faraday waves are standing waves that appear on liquids encased in a vibrating container. As the frequency of vibration changes, so does the visible pattern on the surface of the water.

Non-Newtonian Fluid
Water and corn starch on a speaker. Non-Newtonian fluid behaves as a liquid until force is exerted on it, in which case it behaves like a solid. By placing non-newtonian fluid on a subwoofer, the rapidly oscillating pressure waves cause the fluid to splash very slowly.

If you filled a pool with non-newtonian fluid, you could run across it and swim in it!

Next element: Light projected Imagery