Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and subject of Chris Jones’ prolific profile in Esquire, will give an interview on Oprah on Tuesday, March 2.His text-to-speech computer software will help him communicate to Oprah and her audience. He calls the voice Sir Lawrence.
NPR interviewed Dr. Matthew Aylett, chief technical Officer of CereProc, who explains how his Scotland-based company built Ebert’s synthetic voice.
Dr. AYLETT: So Roger’s lost his voice, but he has, of course, an awful lot of audio that he’s recorded in the past. So we’ve been able to mine this audio data and to produce a prototype of his voice for him.
ROBERT SIEGEL: He enters text, and the software finds those phonemes of Roger Ebert from things he actually said in recordings that you’ve assembled, and out comes a plausible Roger Ebert.
Ebert, by the way, is still blogging some of the best work of his life.
Yes, it is true, I persuaded Oprah to become the most successful and famous woman in the world. I was also the person who suggested that Jerry Springer not go into syndication, for which I have received too little credit.
Both Ebert and his review partner Gene Siskel appeared on Oprah in 1996 to review movies. Here’s a clip, in which they name off their favourite young actors and actresses.
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