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Old 08-17-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
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Default A "mechanical volumizer" (how to sound like a lion or Elvis)?

I happened to see the film "Ghost rider" starring Nicholas Cage yesterday with my son.
According to wikipedia, Cage's voice was manipulated like this

Ghost Rider's voice was manipulated by sound designer Dane Davis, who won an Academy Award for Sound Editing for The Matrix. Davis filtered Cage's line readings through three different kinds of animal growls that were played backwards and covered separate frequencies. Davis then amplified the dialogue through a mechanical volumizer. Director Johnson described the sound as a "deep, demonic, mechanical lion's roar".[

Now, I have read about experimental research where anyone's voice could have been transformed into, say, the voice of Elvis, and being a terrible singer myself I have been waiting for a commercial release of something like that, but no luck so far.
The next best thing could perhaps be something like this, transforming my voice into something else using these same kinds of tricks as applied in this movie.

But how exactly should I do this?
OK as a first step I would need to rip off the sound of Elvis growling and play it backwards :-), that should be easy.

But next, how do I filter my own voice through this? What does the above description mean exactly?
And what on earth is a "mechanical volumizer", google does not find anything about that?

(for those interested: the experimental application for anyone to sing like Elvis - google: "Singing Voice Impersonator Application for PC", the pdf-version is on-line)
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:59 PM   #2
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Sounds like they just used a vocoder and an eventide harmonizer with maybe some reverb.

Sound designers sometimes obfuscate their methods so people don't copy their tricks.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:26 PM   #3
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I would tend to think Antares would be looking into this idea?

They already have something called "Throat", though last time I had a chance to try it, it didn't seem to do anything worthwhile. Least not in the the sense of turd polishing my own voice.

Seems to me, it should be digitally possible to do what you want.

I'm thinking that, without knowing for sure, that some sort of analysis of an incoming voice, converting to something intermediate like MIDI or something MIDI-like, then driving some sort of "instrument" that has Elvis properties, is doable in theory.

I think the hard part is deciding what the atomic elements of speech and singing are that would have to be analyzed in Elvis (or Star x's) voice so that you could synthesize the new speech/singing.

In some sense it's getting there with these apps that read text and generate a voice, though I don't know the algorithmic tooling for it.

So's perhaps a high level abstraction would be:

Voice in -> analysis -> some intermediate form or even text marked up -> Computer Voice generated by reading markup text, using Elvis sound fragments

In any event, would be an interesting R & D project. It brings up some interesting questions about "what are the essential atomic elements of speech and singing sounds?" And beyond that, "If you know the atomic elements, can you invent unique ones beyond just using fragments of existing voices?"

I.e. can you both 1) Replicate other peoples voices?; 2) Create completely new voices with arbitrary characteristics?

Of course, to the extent that Elvis has a unique performance style, your voice might or might not "track" so well. For example if your phrasing isn't Elvis, might not come out sounding like Elvis exactly.

Last edited by flmason; 08-17-2011 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:51 AM   #4
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You could experiment with vocoders. Your voice could be either the carrier or modulater.

Then you could experiment all sorts of ways. One vocoded track, one not vocoded but 100% wet reverb etc.

You could use pitch shifting and eq ing, throw ReaXcomp on there and experiment with that, three different vocoders going, one with a delay, one with distortion but turned down etc.

Try all different sounds as carriers, why not? Thats was a cool example thanks for the wikipedia quote.

Note frequency key map
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:54 AM   #5
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If it were possible, people would be doing it out the wazoo. I don't think you're gonna be able to sound like elvis.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by run, megalodon View Post
If it were possible, people would be doing it out the wazoo. I don't think you're gonna be able to sound like elvis.
No doubt. It would sell like hotcakes at first, for sure.
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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I have no idea if it was used in that films but I'm fascinated of the morphing capabilities of the Kyma sytem


(scroll down to the morphing examples)

you could easily morph yourself into Elvis with this I guess

Last edited by nofish; 08-18-2011 at 06:54 PM.
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