Adobe, the creators of Photoshop and other great software programs that many creative departments use to produce their clients’ advertising, have teased a new product called VoCo. On the surface, it looks really cool. Check out the embedded video demonstration and I’m sure you’ll think so, too.
The software can take a piece of audio of a person speaking and translate it into text. While, yes, most of our cellphones can do this, what really sets this technology apart is that you can actually edit the text, and Adobe VoCo will rearrange the audio to match it. Now you may say, video editors and audio engineers have been doing this forever. But, in case you didn’t make it to the end of the video, here is what really differentiates VoCo: you can type in anything you want, and it will create the matching audio file using that person’s voice! That means that the person doesn’t need to say anything remotely close to the desired words, yet you can mimic his voice to get the audio.
As a video editor, I have often joked that I can make people say things they didn’t say. However, that only works if they said the words I need, and all the inflections and flow of their speech matches cleanly once things have been moved and removed. The truth is, I am not trying to make people say something they didn’t say; I just want to take something they did say and have them say it better. The technology of Adobe VoCo is really a game-changer.
This is great for video game production, audio-heavy products such as audiobooks and podcasts, product demonstrations, and video case studies. At Martino Flynn, when capturing an interview for a case study or product demo video, we have run into situations where an interviewee did not say something exactly right, or said something accurate at the time that now has changed. The cost to re-shoot the interview and re-edit it to correct the video is often prohibitive. To be able to cleanly adjust a couple of words and place them under b-roll would be a quick and cost-effective way to keep a clients’ video accurate and avoid having to make changes that would incur greater financial costs.
I think the challenge for video editors, advertising and marketing agencies, and clients will be how to maintain an ethical approach to the choices made when using this technology.
Product or service names are often abbreviated over the course of a 30-minute interview. To use this technology to add in a full name would be a great tool to have. However, creating wholesale statements from Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) such as customers, even if true, would lead to a gray area of what is fair and acceptable to do. Also, how do we control this for voice over talent? Talent can charge for studio time, even if it is to change one line of a script. Why add that cost to a job when it could be done with a few strokes on the keyboard?
These questions don’t even get into the area of news and reporting, and public relations. Imagine how much more influence fake news stories will carry when they come complete with fake audio quotes from world leaders, celebrities, or anyone else who has 20 minutes of his recorded voice available online.
As far as VoCo goes, I am reminded of one of Jeff Goldblum’s lines from the movie Jurassic Park, “… your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Of course, now I’m wondering if he ever said that at all.
Assuring that no woman—or man—needs to face a breast cancer diagnosis alone is the intent. Helping the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester raise the funds to fulfill that promise? Well, that’s been a Martino Flynn passion for the past 10 years.
As a Gold Sponsor of the ARTrageous Affair, Martino Flynn is proud to create the promotional materials for this major fundraiser each year. For this, the 15th anniversary of the event, we raised the bar a little higher.
It began by asking a local artist to create an original painting that embodied the strength yet vulnerability of the breast cancer warrior. It ended with a sold-out event and record funds raised.
In between, we used “Bella Forza”—created by Cordell Cordaro and Rachel Cordaro to represent “beautiful strength”—as the centerpiece to a compelling invitation and poster. Deployed PR tactics that garnered media attention. Created social media posts that promoted event registrations as well as interest in items to be auctioned. Developed a fundraising poster that sold out in less than a minute. And produced a video that spurred a bidding war for “Bella Forza” during the event’s live auction.
All in all, a success—made all the more sweet because we love doing this work. The only disappointment is that we need to keep doing it, because the ugly truth is that there still is no cure. So we take solace in a line from the event materials: “In the journey, we find hope. And that’s a beautiful thing.”
To hear more about our ongoing relationship with the Coalition, watch our MFTV Spotlight, “Artistry And Inspiration For A Great Cause.” You can also watch the “Bella Forza” video for the artists’ perspective on this effort.