Whether it is to make high-quality recordings, reproduce perfect 3D sound over headphones, or analyze digital content – the tools developed by Fraunhofer IDMT make for highly efficient processes and high sound quality when it comes to handling audiovisual content.
Intuitive identification of quality problems in audio recordings
Fraunhofer’s “Microphone Manager” allows fast and intuitive quality checks of sound recordings during live performances or in the studio. “When concerts are recorded, usually quite a lot of microphones are used. Identifying sound quality problems has always been a very time-consuming endeavor, as sound engineers sometimes need to overview and handle up to one-hundred audio channels on their mixing consoles. Using the Microphone Manager, this complicated and ardous process can now be substantially simplified. You simply instal a virtual listener at a selected position within the digital sound scene. This allows you to check all audio channels easily and localize sound problems very quickly”, says Christoph Sladeczek, head of the Virtual Acoustics group at Fraunhofer IDMT. Besides having the possibility to save and store the sound scene for later recordings or sound mixes, the Microphone Manager is also capable of producing semi-automated sound scenes from the microphone setup.
3D sound reproduction for headphones
New, innovative sound reproduction methods, such as wave field synthesis, allows the audience to virtually immerse into the sound and enjoy a highly realistic sound experience (in planetariums or during live performances, for example). To achieve this effect, a ring of loudspeakers is installed at the respective venue. Individual sound sources (the instruments played by the members of an orchestra, for example) are being recorded and the signals are then saved in an object oriented format, together with information about the sound sources’ position, volume level, and sound propagation direction. Until recently, listening to such recordings over headphones has had its limitations. But not anymore: Fraunhofer IDMT has developed “SpatialSound Headphone”, an interactive system that allows direction adequate 3D sound reproduction over headphones, based on the concept of audio objects. Unlike conventional surround sound technology, object oriented sound reproduction is not about saving headphones or loudspeaker signals.
Instead, these signals are being produced in real-time, allowing to create 3D sound scenes (from as many as 32 sound objects) and to edit their properties interactively. “This new tool allows to render object oriented sound recordings over headphones. Film directors, for example, now have the possibility to record 3D audio content, listen to it on the spot, check the sound quality, and make a first rough mix”, says Alejandro Gasull Ruiz, a project manager at Fraunhofer IDMT, who has been responsible for the development of this new technology.
Recognition of speech and music sequences in radio and TV programs
At the IBC 2013, Fraunhofer IDMT will also be presenting a new module of its “A/V Analyzing Toolbox”, which allows automatic recognition of speech, music, pieces of speech with background music, and silence in radio and TV programs. While this tool can be used for highly efficient content based search in radio and TV archives or as an add-on for sound identification systems, it could also be an extremely helpful instrument for copyright collecting agencies or copyright licensing service providers in their efforts to protect copyrights and detect copyright infringements. “The tariffs to be paid by the copyright collecting agencies are determined by the proportion of music in radio and TV programs.
Trying to quantify this proportion usually is extremely time-consuming, and the results of the analysis are mostly quite inaccurate, as audio content lists usually are reviewed randomly and manually. Our new tool helps facilitate this process substantially, making it possible to review huge audio catalogs and archives in a highly efficient fashion. Copyright collecting agencies will benefit from this by being able to calculate much more precisely than they are doing now”, says Dr. Uwe Kühhirt, head of the Audiovisual Systems group at Fraunhofer IDMT.
Efficient management of audiovisual content
Fraunhofer’s A/V Analyzing Toolbox consists of a number of modules for detailed analysis and efficient management of audiovisual content, ranging from automated error analysis of audio and video files to recognition and composition of single scenes and representative keyframes in video clips. Another feature allows recognition and evaluation of camera movements (such as panning or zooming) in films and videos. Semantic video analysis allows to categorize individual film sequences according to certain visual concepts (such as specific landscapes or times of the day), making it much easier to search for and find specific sequences in huge film archives.
Fraunhofer IDMT will be presenting its latest developments at this year’s IBC2013 at booth 8.B 80, hall 8.
About Fraunhofer IDMT
The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT is doing applied research in the field of audiovisual media. The Institute is known as a competent partner of industry when it comes to developing groundbreaking technologies for the digital media domain. Together with its contracting partners Fraunhofer IDMT develops cutting-edge solutions consistently designed to meet user requirements and expectations. At its headquarters in Ilmenau and its branches in Erfurt and Oldenburg Fraunhofer IDMT employs over one-hundred people working on the Institute’s research portfolio.
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