Roger Ebert appeared on the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” this afternoon and debuted his new computerized but humanized voice. The famous critic has been dealing with serious health issues over the past few years due to his battle with cancer. He’s gone through several surgeries on his throat and jaw, which have unfortunately impaired his ability to speak. But today on the show he showcased his new voice to the world with the help of some highly sophisticated vocal software.
Over the years, several advancements have been made to aid individuals who’ve lost their ability to speak. Ebert has been lucky enough to find a program and a device that takes it to a whole other level. He inputs his responses into a computer that outputs his text using a digital voice. The major development is that the voice sounds just like Ebert, which is much warmer than the alternative.
Ebert found this amazing company called CereProc in Scotland that claimed they could build voices for specific customers. He shot them an email inquiring about their services and they hooked him up with one of their leading programmers. The company needed a high quality piece of audio that featured Ebert’s voice to work with that didn’t include background noise or any type of interruptions. After months of trial and error they finally developed a proper imitation of his vocal patterns and what we have is the final product in the following video.
What do you think of Roger Ebert’s new voice? Does it sound natural?