Text-to-movie: Storyboard of the future?

February 6, 2010 // Posted in Audio Software, General, Software, Visualization  

Text-to-speech systems have been in development for a very long time.  One that I use frequently for creating placeholder dialog in games is the AT&T Labs Natural Voices text-to-speech demo.  It’s a free service that enables the user to type out any phrase and then download an audio file with that phrase spoken by any number of synthesized accents.  For the most part they sound very realistic!  The only caveat is that some words need to be spelled phonetically to translate well.

So it was with great pleasure that I discovered the website Xtranormal.com. Xtranormal has a web-based procedurally generated storyboard application as well as a downloadable version.  I’ve attached my first text-to-video project as an example.  It’s a parody of Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Here is my source.  Note the icons that were dragged and dropped into the script to trigger animations, camera positions, facial expressions and even a sound effect!

2010_script What I like about this software is that it makes the process of concepting film very easy, and allows for the rapid expression of ideas.  Video is rendered within the browser as well!

There are a few bugs that they still need to work out, but I’d imagine that they will fix them soon.  If you move the mouse too much while editing in the browser, it will reset your project and there are some issues with formatting video during the publishing process.  Overall, this is a fun and useful set of tools for kids and professionals alike.

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