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Can audio-techs tweak an movie actor's accent nowadays?

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  • Can audio-techs tweak an movie actor's accent nowadays?

    We continue to get actors who astonish us by being English (or Aussie) but who deliver a note-perfect American accent onscreen. Or, and less often, an American who can deliver a convincing British accent onscreen.





    Sure, accent coaches achieve amazing results, but I'm wondering if audio-techs can't now tweak spoken soundtracks to catch the 2 or 3 little telltale lapses an actor might have? Either in phoneme pronunciation, or overall pitch lilts.



    My hunch is that they probably have gizmos/software nowadays that can "listen" to a British accent... and do most of the work instantly to transform it into American... or vice-versa.



    Thoughts? Comments?



    Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant and Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln:






    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrAu00ss9bo





    Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher






    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04_1DxbzHUc





    Tilda Swinton as American rural trailer denizen:






    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqj7Q2jOTc4
    Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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  • #2
    No, I don't think that they can.



    Keep in mind, though, that most big budget film has large sections (or maybe even the whole thing) where the dialog has been re-recorded in a studio with the actors recording their dialog again and again until it is perfect. So even if there is a slip in the production track, it will be caught and recorded in post.



    As far as processing to generate accents-- I don't think that is really a possibility at this point.
    My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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    • #3
      I also doubt that it's possible, because it's not just a question of timbre, but of content. However, I would never rule out that it's a possibility!
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      • #4
        My guess is that the acting community takes the pitch-perfect accent more seriously perhaps due to increasing global distribution and marketing.



        Christian Bale, I bet a lot of USA people would be surprised to learn, is a Brit. He even does his promos and interviews with an American accent so as to "not confuse" the audience



        Also, one aspect of an "accent" that software would have to deal with is "which accent?" A nation such as Great Britain has who knows how many shades of accents that vary geographically, socio-economically, and historically. An actor has to put an accent together that works in a very specific context, as there is so much to an accent that is not generic.



        I'm thinking that a "software accent" would be as noticeable to locals as auto-tune is to most of us...



        nat whilk ii

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        • #5
          Leonardo di Caprio did a stellar ....and I mean inflections and body language and all, gestures, head movement.......****************ing STELLAR South African accent in Blood Diamond. Then too, in a nice reversal.....Sharlto Copley...the South African guy from District 9 who has a super thick SA accent, did very nicely as Murdock on the A-Team. I think Charlize Theron does nicely also.

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          • #6
            If Hollywood has a decent 'accent creator' then there would not be so many examples of horrible accents.

            i.e. Keneau Reeves horrible brit accent in Dracula, Harrison Ford's awful Russian in K-19, Costner in Prince of Thieves, DiCaprio in Blood Diamond or any time Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster tried to do any accent.



            I'm sure in the bowels of the CIA they have boxes that can do a reasonable job, but Hollywood sure doesn't have access to them.

            Film voice coaches have been doing this for 75 years and their ratio of success is dreadful.
            Tim O'Brien

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            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by nat whilk II
              View Post

              My guess is that the acting community takes the pitch-perfect accent more seriously perhaps due to increasing global distribution and marketing.




              I bet you're right.








              Also, one aspect of an "accent" that software would have to deal with is "which accent?" A nation such as Great Britain has who knows how many shades of accents that vary geographically, socio-economically, and historically. An actor has to put an accent together that works in a very specific context, as there is so much to an accent that is not generic.



              Well, to do that, they need an expert who knows the accent they're shooting for. IMHO, *that* aspect would be easiest to codify. The hard part would be morphing the audio. Note that accents involve far more than tone, consonants, and vowel sounds. It also includes rhythm and phrasing, and probably other things I'm missing. I bet it'll be possible eventually -- at the same point that we wouldn't even need the actor to speak the parts in the first place.








              I'm thinking that a "software accent" would be as noticeable to locals as auto-tune is to most of us...



              More so! Pitch is the easiest characteristic to modulate by software.











              Quote Originally Posted by scarecrowbob


              Keep in mind, though, that most big budget film has large sections (or maybe even the whole thing) where the dialog has been re-recorded in a studio...




              I believe that the whole soundtrack is created de-novo in the studio. The soundtrack recorded during shooting can be helpful for synchronizing, but everything is replaced, in general, for anything but a very low-budget film.
              learjeff.net

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              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by TimOBrien
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                ...... so many examples of horrible accents......... DiCaprio in Blood Diamond ......




                I just got done saying he did a great accent in Blood Diamond and you shoot him down on that. Could you explain? Do you know the accent well?

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