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  1. #1

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    Disney Patent/Tech Question

    So I'm sitting here indulging my Disney Geekdom a little and reading Disney patents and I came across the following one titled Speech Transformation System filed back in 1993.
    http://www.google.com/patents?id=nCc...+voice#PPP1,M1

    To put it in a nutshell, it is a system that takes a target voice speaking a phrase as an input. Then it takes a source voice speaking the exact same words and calculates the spectral differences between them. The system is then put in real time mode and whatever the source voice speaks comes out sounding exactly like the target voice. In other words, a person playing Alice would speak whatever they wanted to and the system would "morph" their voice into the voice of Alice.

    Now, I see the characters wearing the little mics in the parades and such and I was wondering if anyone knew if this system was being actively employed? By the patent drawings it was originally intended to be used by fully costumed (head) characters such as Mickey but they don't speak at all except during the parades/shows and that could easily be done by pre-recorded audio track as you can't see the mouths moving.

    This is a really slick piece of technical work and it would be so cool if they were using it.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Nice! I've wondered about technologies like this before. It's a pity this hasn't been put to use, though I totally understand that it's quite difficult to work out.


  3. #3

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Actually, from reading the patent, it's amazingly simple. All the hard work is done in a "prep" session where the computer is given the actual characters voice and then CM's voice doing the same line to compare. Then it can tell what the "difference" between the two is. From then on, when the CM is mic'ed as the character, the computer takes their voice and applies the difference to it to make it the characters voice saying what the CM is saying. It's all done real time. I just can't tell if that is what is going on when Alice or Ariel, etc talk during the parades. I think it is as sometimes they interact with guests and that wouldn't work if it was a pre-recorded track they were simply lip synching to.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Actually, from reading the patent, it's amazingly simple. All the hard work is done in a "prep" session where the computer is given the actual characters voice and then CM's voice doing the same line to compare. Then it can tell what the "difference" between the two is. From then on, when the CM is mic'ed as the character, the computer takes their voice and applies the difference to it to make it the characters voice saying what the CM is saying. It's all done real time. I just can't tell if that is what is going on when Alice or Ariel, etc talk during the parades. I think it is as sometimes they interact with guests and that wouldn't work if it was a pre-recorded track they were simply lip synching to.
    Well, I didn't so much mean that the technology itself was difficult, though I'm sure it took a lot of hard work to make it function correctly. What I meant was that from a logistical standpoint, it's hard to make it work because unless the real voice is sufficiently far from the listeners or the simulated voice is really, really loud, the listeners will hear both. So in a case where the cast member's "voice" is being carried over loudspeakers and (s)he is far from the audience, it could work, but it'd be very, very difficult for up-close-and-personal character interactions. You'd hear the real voice along with the character voice.


  5. #5

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    The face characters use their own voices. Plain and simple.

    But I don't want to go among MAD people!

  6. #6

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Another thing this might be used for is Turtle Talk with Crush. Maybe?

  7. #7

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    I doubt it. When I have seen Turtle Talk, some of the 'Crushes' did not sound anything like the real Crush.

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  8. #8

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    How about Stitch, in Innoventions? That sounded just like him, if you ask me.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Crush , Ros in Monsters, Stitch. They don't sound quite the same because "exact same words and calculates the spectral differences between them" has not been calculated.
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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    How about Stitch, in Innoventions? That sounded just like him, if you ask me.
    Nope, just a talented cast member sitting in a room doing the voice.


  11. #11

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Rick View Post
    Crush , Ros in Monsters, Stitch. They don't sound quite the same because "exact same words and calculates the spectral differences between them" has not been calculated.
    What exactly do you mean "has not been calculated"? Because it has... back in 1993 by this patent. And actually much earlier by those who invented the math behind it. It's actually not that hard to perform a fast fourier transform on the audio to get the exact tones being spoken at any instant. Then you run the audio through a few other filters and you can pull out excitation as well. Besides, the patent wouldn't have been issued if they the claim wasn't possible. Go read it, it's pretty cool. I wonder when they will use it, if they haven't already.

    One possibility I thought of is the movies they've been making of the older characters where they need to duplicate the voice and may not have access to someone who can do it naturally.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

  12. #12

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    I believe that this technology is used for the muppets mobile characters that roam the hollywood backlot area in DCA

  13. #13

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft16 View Post
    What exactly do you mean "has not been calculated"? Because it has... back in 1993 by this patent. And actually much earlier by those who invented the math behind it. It's actually not that hard to perform a fast fourier transform on the audio to get the exact tones being spoken at any instant. Then you run the audio through a few other filters and you can pull out excitation as well. Besides, the patent wouldn't have been issued if they the claim wasn't possible. Go read it, it's pretty cool. I wonder when they will use it, if they haven't already.

    One possibility I thought of is the movies they've been making of the older characters where they need to duplicate the voice and may not have access to someone who can do it naturally.
    Different people, different voices. It will need to be calculated/adjusted for every different person. No it is not that hard to do a fast Fourier transformation. It is even easer if the values have been per collected and saved.
    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    How is a state religion bad, but state medicine good?
    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatpete View Post
    Anyone who makes the decision to depend upon the government to take care of their basic needs has essentially doomed himself to a life of bitter disappointment.

  14. #14

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Rick View Post
    Different people, different voices. It will need to be calculated/adjusted for every different person.
    According to the patent itself this is exactly what they do. They give the computer a sample of the target voice. Then any person whose voice they want to alter speaks the exact same lines as the target voice. This is a "learning mode". After this, the system is switched to "real time mode" and anything the person says will be in the target voice. It happens in real time. It probably takes one or two learning sessions and a few tweaks after that as I doubt it's perfect but it still has a huge amount of potentially cool uses.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

  15. #15

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    Re: Disney Patent/Tech Question

    just a friendly reminder... patents are filings to protect METHODS to do something. Your idea does not actually have to be in use or physically created to file a patent. You will have to show that it is useful and actually would do what it says (but that doesn't mean it does it well).

    Companies often file patents on ideas as defensive moves and also to protect what they may or may not do.

    Its a good idea to file for a patent on a good idea even if you never take it to fruition.. they become assets and can also be used to hold other challenges back. (don't sue me over X or I'll sue you over Y..).

    It's kinda like the cold war sometimes
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