Respeecher and 141 Productions: A Collaboration to Bring a Toni Crews’ Voice to Life in “My Dead Body”

Respeecher
3 min readJun 6, 2023

Introduction

In 2022, Respeecher partnered with 141 Productions to recreate the voice of Toni Crews, a young woman who donated her body to science for public display in the film My Dead Body. The project challenged Respeecher to create a high-quality target voice model based on amateur recordings, as no professional recordings of Crews existed. This case study explores how Respeecher and 141 Productions overcame these challenges to bring Crews’ voice to life and pay tribute to her legacy.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge Respeecher had to overcome was the quality of recordings for Toni’s voice. The available source material was limited to amateur-level recordings, which varied in quality and presented difficulties when extracting the necessary data to create a high-quality target voice model. Additionally, since Toni’s sister was the source voice for the project, the team had to ensure the cloned voice maintained a close resemblance to Toni’s original voice.

The Solution

Respeecher and 141 Productions worked together to develop a comprehensive plan to tackle the challenge. The process involved:

  • Gathering all available audio material
    The team collected as many recordings of Toni as possible, including phone calls, voice messages, and video calls. This allowed them to work with a larger sample size and improve the quality of the target voice model.
  • Cleaning and processing audio data
    The audio material was cleaned, filtered, and processed to eliminate background noise and other inconsistencies. This step was crucial for obtaining accurate voice data for the AI model.
  • Training the AI model
    Respeecher used their proprietary AI technology to train the model with the processed voice data, iteratively improving the model’s accuracy over time.
  • Fine-tuning the cloned voice
    The team worked closely with Toni’s family and friends to ensure the cloned voice sounded as close to Toni’s real voice as possible. Feedback was provided to further refine and improve the model.
  • Integration into the film
    Once the cloned voice was finalized, 141 Productions integrated it into the movie, voicing Toni’s diary entries, social media posts, and personal letters to her children.

The Results

The collaboration between Respeecher and 141 Productions resulted in a high-quality and authentic cloned voice for Toni Crews in My Dead Body. The film culminated in a respectful tribute to Toni’s selfless donation. It delivered valuable insights to medical students, who were able to observe the dissection and better understand the impact of cancer on the human body.

By voicing Toni’s personal notes and diaries, the film allowed viewers to connect with her on a deeper level, sharing her thoughts and experiences. The AI-generated voice added a layer of intimacy and poignancy, highlighting Toni’s bravery and the importance of her legacy.

The collaboration between Respeecher and 141 Productions demonstrated the power of voice cloning technology in preserving and honoring the memory of a deceased individual. Despite the challenges posed by the lack of professional recordings, the team and the powerful technology managed to recreate a lifelike model of Toni’s voice, showcasing the potential of AI in filmmaking and storytelling.

This article was initially published on the Respeecher blog.

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