Phonetic video search tool in beta test

A new software package that searches for video clips by recognising phonetics in speech on the audio track has gone into beta testing at 40 international facilities, writes Kevin Hilton.
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A new software package that searches for video clips by recognising phonetics in speech on the audio track has gone into beta testing at 40 international facilities, writes Kevin Hilton. Developed by UK company AV3 Software, "get" for Final Cut Pro (FCP) currently works with the Apple non-linear digital video editing system. AV3 was founded by Graham Sharp and Peter Ramsay, who previously worked at Avid in the UK but saw the future for broadcast production in software, not hardware. "Graham and I saw that a lot of time was spent by people in the broadcast industry searching for material," says Ramsay, who heads AV3 as managing director. "Shooting ratios have increased - for any given half-hour programme there can be 15 hours of source material, so how do you find the shot you want?" AV3 formed a partnership with American development company Nexidia, which produces phonetic search technologies for the IT sector. Using Nexidia's program AV3 has produced a system that is tailored to the broadcast market. "Get" for FCP is seen as Version 1 of the system, which will be extended to other editing workstations in due course. Right now the software will work only if FCP is loaded into a machine but it will operate if it detects the program on an attached drive, for instance Pro Tools running QuickTime files. The phonetics program features seven languages: Dutch, English (divided into its North American, British and Australian variants), French, German and Spanish. Nexidia recorded samples of 100 speakers of each to provide enough variations in how words are pronounced. To use "get" for FCP a phrase, such as "financial crisis", is typed into the program window and a search is made of audio tracks on all video clips held on a server or computer drive. Ramsay acknowledges that sometimes the system can pick up on the wrong thing but says the tolerance parameters can be changed to make it more or less accurate. "Get" for FCP won the Black Diamond Award at NAB this year, where AV3 demonstrated the program and put out a call for beta testers. Ramsay says he wanted a range of broadcasters and facilities to participate, including those working on news, sport, documentaries and corporate production. The test period is due to last for a month, with a full launch of "get" for FCP in early July. www.getphonetic.com/

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