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Radio News: Computers now about to automate Foley sounds

Jun 13, 2016 11:41 pm
MIT News reports that if there are any Foley artists left, they may soon lose their jobs to automation. A Foley artist is someone who makes sounds for radio, film, or other media. The name comes from Jack Donovan Foley, who worked with Universal Studios when they released the first sound film in 1927, "The Jazz Singer." His name lasts for the job he did, which might soon be replaced by computers. Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory recently demonstrated an algorithm that predicts sound. The program can be shown a silent video clip of an object being hit, and produce a sound that can fool human listeners. "Researchers envision future versions of similar algorithms being used to automatically produce sound effects for movies and TV shows, as well as to help robots better understand objects’ properties," MIT reports. The group recorded an estimated 46,000 videos of the sounds of objects being hit, scraped, and prodded by a drumstick and analyzed their pitch, loudness, and other features. They tested the sounds by letting subjects guess whether sounds they heard were actual recorded sounds or computer-made sounds, and subjects chose the fake sounds as real twice as often. The National Science Foundation and Shell paid for the research. Read the full story in MIT News.
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