TTS to Bring Stories and Screenplays to Life

Screaming Bee this week released ScriptVOX Studio, a text-to-speech software application to help writers prototype their stories.

ScriptVOX provides writers with an effective tool for prototyping their stories, scripts, narrations, or screenplays and for creating multimedia presentations by assigning voices to the characters and graphics to the text. This allows a writer to playback his story to hear how the dialogue and scenes flow.

ScriptVOX Studio uses Microsoft’s SAPI 5.0 technology for text-to-speech (TTS) to produce the character voices. In addition, the built-in advanced voice-changing technology allows users to enhance and modify any TTS voice. With just a single voice, a writer can create a whole cast of characters for a story. Additional digital algorithms allow a writer to simulate environmental effects on a voice such as phone, radio, and echo, and to morph the voice to sound like a robot or other characters.

ScriptVOX is an extension of Screaming Bee’s highly successful MorphVOX, an application widely used in videogame development to create different sound effects and voices, according to Screaming Bee CEO Mark Ramirez. "Customers who have used MorphVox were telling us the wanted this," he says.

The storyboarding tool in ScriptVOX Studio provides a user with a way to associate images with the text. This allows writers to conveniently visualize their scripts and screenplays. Combined with ScriptVOX Studio's file rendering capabilities, a writer can also create an audio or video presentation.

A writer can import a story as plain text, RTF, Word doc, or PDF files. The audio files that are created can be rendered as Microsoft .Wav files or Windows Media files.

"We created ScriptVOX Studio to bring a writer's story to life," Ramirez says. "This is a great tool for helping a writer to prototype stories. He can hear the voices of his characters without having to hire real actors to read [the script]."

He adds that the application at this point is still in its earliest stages. "It’s for prototyping right now. It’s not ready to be put out on the big screen," he says.

That is a goal, though, as eventually Ramirez hopes to improve the technology so it can be used professionally. Other plans include the ability to add a musical score or soundtrack and the ability to add voice-over material produced using real actors’ voices, Ramirez says.

"Right now, we’re serving a niche market. It’s not a broad-ranging application," he says. "There are a lot of things we want to add to it."

The company ran a demo of ScriptVOX Studio on Youtube.

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