Ode to Levi

6:44 minutes – Yesterday, Levi got his mission call to go to Lisbon, Portugal. He leaves in February for 2 years. I’ll miss him. I made this video a few months ago.

Thanks for being my friend for so many years.

The Singing Cowboy

5:44 minutes – This video is based on the art and story by Bryan Bruveleit. Essentially cowboy poetry.

ASSETS USED IN PRODUCTION

Cowboy fonts
durango-western-eroded
saddlebag

Still images
martin_cowboy.jpg
cactus1280x720.jpg

Background music
broken-shovel.mp3
cayuga-summer.mp3

Sound effects
Kids Cheering-SoundBible.com-681813822.mp3
close-door.mp3

Horse sound clips
32679__prosounder__galloping-horse.wav
182504__swiftoid__horse-clip-clopping-downhill-stereo.wav
Horse whinny 10.wav
Horse scream 5.wav
Horse snorts 1.wav
Horse scream 5.wav

Cowboy sounds
172951__irishcinema__the-only-harmonica-in-the-west.mp3
you-got-three-seconds.mp3
370706__shortshorts__jaw-harp.wav
428149__vdublin__saloon-piano-honky-tonk.wav

Lindsey Relapse

5:35 minutes – This video is about the similarities I and Lindsey Sterling, the YouTube superstar and dubstep violinist, have in common. And the conclusions aren’t good. Sorry fans. The list includes: eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive workaholic behavior, focused hyper creativity, fear of intimacy, and probably more. The only thing we don’t have in common is a net worth of 16 million US dollars. That’s right. I don’t have that much money.

If this video makes you angry, perhaps you suffer from the same cognitive dissonance that I and Lindsey Sterling do. Pretending that success and recognition make every disorder better. Not necessarily. The most successful scientists and engineers who I worked for succeeded in business because of their neurosis and obsessive-compulsive behavior. That’s right. Lindsey Sterling traded one symptom for a more sanitized and popular disorder. The results is a lousy family life or other sacrifices.

WEB ASSETS -OPEN SOURCE

8 PNG over-titles
Sound effects
Depth Charge-SoundBible.com-320539466.mp3
Laser_Machine_Gun-Mike_Koenig-1194129298.mp3
Upper Cut-SoundBible.com-1272257235.mp3

12 subscriber-growth-subheads

USED for components
JPEG STILLS
awards dress.jpg
dance-w-stars.jpg
dws2.jpg
dwts_22.jpg
lindsey1.jpg
on-stage-mini.jpg
stars.jpg

2019 – endgame_of_thrones_war_of_music_360p.mp4
compulsion-hungry-enough.png
curative-therapy overlay.png
dubstep wiki
eating-hungry-enough.png
hungry-enough.xcf
Poiret-One.zip
purple-curtain-wallpaper.jpg
self-esteem-hungry-enough.png
self-esteem-YT-hungry-enough.png
Sen-ExtraBold.zip
subscribers to youtube by year.odt
TradeGothicLTStd-BdCn20.otf
y2mate.com – silly_symphony_the_grasshopper_and_the_ants_Tl0iRVFRvEk_240p.mp4
youtube-ani-logo.mp4
YouTube-Logo-696×373.jpg

1-LINDSEY-AWARD.mp4
2-LINDSEY-AWARD.mp4
3-LINDSEY.mp4
4-LINDSEY.mp4
5-LINDSEY.mp4
6-LINDSEY.mp4
6 milllion $$$
7-LINDSEY.mp4
8-LINDSEY.mp4
9-LINDSEY.mp4
10-LINDSEY.mp4
11-LINDSEY.mp4
16m-NETWORTH.png
aerohead-overlooking-the-ocean.mp3
alte-din-1451-mittelschrift.zip
amazing-stutter.mp3
arena-lindsey.mp4
Bisou_-_10_-_Bad_Flower.mp3
Bisou_-_10_-_Bad_Flower-clip.mp3
covered-up.xcf
dance-clip-1.mp4
dizzy-log-2.mp4
Donna Summers Love to love you baby.mp3
Donna Summers Love to love you baby-intro.mp3
Donna Summers-moan.mp3
drown-rats.mp3
grasshopper+ant-clip.osp
Grasshopper+ant clip.mp4
grasshopper-intro.mp4
heavy-rain-daniel_simon.mp3
hungry-dog-clip.mp4
Lindsey Addiction-preview.mp4
Lindsey anorexic.mp3
Lindsey modesty happiness.mp4
Lindsey-modesty-happiness.osp
Lindsey-modesty-happiness-excerpts.mp3
Lindsey-modesty-happiness-excerpts-normalized.mp3
lindsey_stirling_super-singleness.mp3
self-esteem-on-looks-amazing.mp3
Shaolin_Dub_-_04_-_Awake.mp3
skirt-modesty.jpg
The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994.jpg
throbbing-lindsey.osp
y2mate.com – face_to_face_with_lindsey_stirling_SaztimXwiDw_360p.mp4
y2mate.com – lucretia_mac_evil_-oJdslYB0a4.mp3
Youtube – 20047.mp4
Youtube title sequence.mp4

MUSIC

waves by maliciou | https://soundcloud.com/maliciou
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

You are free to use Overlooking The Ocean music track (even for commercial purposes), but you must include the following in your video description (copy & paste):

Overlooking The Ocean by AERØHEAD | https://soundcloud.com/aerohead
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

You are free to use Mystic Fuse music track (even for commercial purposes), but you must include the following in your video description (copy & paste):

Mystic Fuse by Relic Music | https://soundcloud.com/relic-music
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

The Kind Nudge

3:03 minutes – This gentle 1995 poem is embedded in noise and confusing dystopia. It’s symbolic of my childhood warfare theatre. It’s the emblematic burial of all my fragile, tender, and intimate emotion. It was my childhood strategy to survive suffering, injustice, and totalitarian dictatorship. The strategy never left me. Neither did the mental war of hyper-vigilance.

This recent video poem and my last, The Rusty Cart,  both contain the keyword “Gone” as a prominent word.

I became naturally cold and distant, content to live in my own world. I built emotional walls so others didn’t approach me or know how to talk to me.

Poem

The Kind Nudge
for imaginary childhood companions.

When the wind whispers your prized name, the playful wispy sound slides smooth into my elements.
An echo resonating warmth from your dancing flame.
An affectionate flicker softening my robust mask.
Silly searching still for the clever lustre of your enchanting treasures
Locked forever but never from splendid imagination through daydreaming power.
Defiantly dancing closer and closer.
Passing into viewed unity.
Pedestrians at the crossroads.
The hidden wondrous sacred ground, undefended, unrestricted.
Tiptoeing in awe.
Marvelling at our inner senses peaking.
“Separate but together, together but separate.”
The paradox of intimacy and autonomy … at rest.
Gone our frightened jangled jitters.
We smile.
Basking in comfortable friendly silence.

© TEARE 1995

<speak>
The Kind Nudge.
<break time="500ms"/>
for imaginary childhood companions.<break time="500ms"/>

When the wind whispers your prized name, <break time="500ms"/>the playful wispy sound <break time="500ms"/>slides smooth into my elements.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

An echo resonates warmth <break time="500ms"/>from your dancing flame.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

An affectionate flicker softens my robust mask.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Silly searching still <break time="500ms"/>for the clever lustre of your enchanting treasures.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Locked forever <break time="500ms"/>but never from splendid imagination <break time="500ms"/> through daydreaming power.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Defiantly dancing closer <break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />and closer.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Passing into exhibited unity.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Pedestrians? <break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />at the crossroads?<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

The hidden wondrous sacred ground, <break time="500ms"/>undefended, <break time="500ms"/>unrestricted.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Tiptoeing <break time="500ms"/>in awe.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Marvelling at our inner senses <amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />intense.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

"Separate but together, <amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />together but separate."<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

The paradox of intimacy and autonomy <break time="500ms"/> at rest.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Gone <break time="500ms"/>our frightened jangled jitters.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

We smile.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

Basking in comfortable <break time="500ms"/>friendly <break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />silence.<break time="900ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
</speak>
The Kind Nudge : Amy British

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Open-source web assets

MP3 audio clips – Sound effects and music

  1. The Ballad of John Henry.mp3 – intro only
  2. gun_battle_sound-ReamProductions-1158375208.mp3
  3. heavy-rain-daniel_simon.mp3
  4. wind_1234-mike-koenig.mp3
  5. grenade-launcher-daniel_simon.mp3
  6. CREDIT: Dark Knight by Serge Narcissoff | https://soundcloud.com/sergenarcissoff
    serge-narcissoff-dark-knight.mp3
    Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
    Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

Still images

  1. industrial-future-japan.jpg
  2. industrial-bkg.jpeg
  3. industrial-wallpapers-28650-6029121-opt.jpg
  4. 191383.jpg
  5. bullets-isolated-on-white-background-rifle-761890540.jpg
  6. Crosshairs[1].png
  7. dead-warehouse-opt.jpg
  8. destiny-2-black-armory-forsaken-new-armor-guns-rasputin-siva-triangles.jpg
  9. factory-ind-opt.jpg

Built titles and effects

  1. director.png
  2. dizzy-pictures.png
  3. futura.zip (freeware)
  4. GONE.png
  5. trnsp-red.png
  6. white-screen.png
  7. title-kind-nudge.png

The Rusty Cart

2:46 minutes

See the puny heart spin
Rollin’ in the gutter.
Clatter, clank, such a din.
Makes one wonder where it’s been.
Is it such a hellish sin
to love another?

Gimme work, gimme money
that’ll cure all ills, honey.
Drown in demon distractions!
Satiate with surface satisfactions!
Transform the sky, gray to sunny.
March ’em, dance ’em. Ain’t it funny.
Peering down a tunnel dark
Life a wild hopeless lark.

More noise, more lights.
Soak the senses in delights.
Cover up, bury deep
Screaming feelings that won’t sleep.
Yank the stabbings from the heart.
Cram them in a rusty cart,
And roll them off to hell!

There they’ll burn, smashed and broke.
Melt and simmer, smoldering joke.
Still we drink the caustic smoke.
Breathe it in. Expand the lung.
Corrupted crawling fetid dung.

Devours the insides to the outsides.
Powdered nothing.
Only sobbing song.
Hear it echo.
Fading. Faded. Gone.

Voice Talent

<speak>

THE RUSTY CART
<break time="500ms"/>
See the puny heart spin<break time="500ms"/>
Rollin’ in the gutter.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Clatter, clank, such a din.<break time="500ms"/>
Makes one wonder where it’s been.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Is it such a hellish sin<break time="500ms"/>
to love another?<break time="500ms"/>

Gimme work, gimme money<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
that’ll cure all ills, honey.
Drown in demon distractions!<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Satiate with surface satisfactions!
Transform the sky, gray to sunny.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
March ‘em, dance ‘em. Ain’t it funny.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Peering down a tunnel dark<break time="500ms"/>
Life a wild hopeless lark.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

More noise, more lights.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Soak the senses in delights.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Cover up, bury deep<break time="500ms"/>
Screaming feelings that won’t sleep.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Yank the stabbings from the heart.<break time="500ms"/>
Cram them in a rusty cart,<break time="500ms"/>
And roll them off to hell!<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

There they’ll burn, smashed and broke.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Melt and simmer, smoldering joke.<break time="500ms"/>
Still we drink the caustic smoke.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Breathe it in. Expand the lung.<break time="500ms"/>
Corrupted crawling fetid dung.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
<break time="500ms"/>
Devours the insides to the outsides.<break time="500ms"/>
Powdered nothing.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Only sobbing song.<break time="500ms"/>
Hear it echo.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Fading.<break time="300ms"/> Faded. <break time="500ms"/>Gone.<break time="500ms"/>

</speak>
Polly Voice: Matthew, Male, English, USA

Resulting audio clip MP3 voiceover

Second take switched voice to Amy- British-English.

Commentary: The word “hell” breaks the cadence or rhyming rhythm. It’s similar to breaking the invisible grid in graphic design. It calls attention to an idea because it seems out of place. This is emphasis without a pointing finger. So it was a subconscious decision — and serendipitous strategy.

OPEN SOURCE ASSETS

SOUNDS
Machine_sound-Marianne_Gagnon-88253407.mp3
Cutlery Clank-SoundBible.com-1591059093.mp3
Record Static-SoundBible.com-306727640.mp3

STILL IMAGES

rusty-metal-bad.jpg
colorful-rusty-texture-uhd-4k-wallpaper.jpg

FONTS
trajan-pro.zip

VIDEO CLIPS
spinning_heart_machine.mp4
Hands – 552.mp4
Light – 3228.mp4
Aerial – 18390.mp4
Parade – 9173.mp4
Space – 17847.mp4
Fire – 19463.mp4
Particles – 6436.mp4
Forest – 17844.mp4
Counting – 9908.mp4
Smoke – 10889.mp4
Dandelion – 23263.mp4
Fun Fair – 40.mp4

MUSIC SOUNDTRACK

bensound-betterdays.mp3

The Girdle

2:32 minutes – Inspiration is from personal 2019 emails – and a poem written in 1991. The Girdle is about the rivalry between mother and daughter. Primarily the envy of the mother.

THE GIRDLE

Competitive Mama.
in memory of the girdle.
Thank you for birthing this beautiful babe.

Standing smiling smooth.
teeth square and straight.
tall and thin.
stomach smooth and flat.
She really must never eat.
Mama, looks at her lap and can’t find her feet.

Ah, those magnificent thick locks
so were yours before thinning
… and greyed.
Such a charming wig.
so wonderfully displayed.

Poor mother what transpired
Do you hate a lovely appearance gorgeous
Under an evil breath,
“Just once let her arrive shabby, unkempt, and enormous.”
But then — they might say,
“Like mother like daughter.”

Wouldn’t that – be nice?

TEARE 1990


Assets and Elements

MP4 videos

  1. makeup – 12720.mp4
  2. Girl – 6515.mp4
  3. Rose – 8508.mp4
  4. Girl – 16397.mp4
  5. Background – 3025.mp4
  6. Boxing – 20118.mp4
  7. Boxing – 20113.mp4
  8. humpback_whale_breach_360p.mp4
  9. ocean.mp4

MP3 audio

  1. Crisp_Ocean_Waves-Mike_Koenig-1486046376.mp3
  2. oceanwave.mp3
  3. Wave Crashing At Beach.mp3
  4. ocean53.mp3

Still images

  1. blue-whale.jpg

Voiceover

<speak>Competitive Mama.<break time="700ms"/>
in memory of the girdle.<break time="700ms"/>
Thank you for birthing <break time="500ms"/>this beautiful babe.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Standing smiling smooth.<break time="500ms"/>
teeth square and straight.<break time="500ms"/>
tall and thin.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
stomach smooth and flat.<break time="500ms"/>
she really must never eat.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Mama, looks at her lap and can't find her feet.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Ah, <amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />those magnificent thick locks<break time="500ms"/>
so were yours before thinning<break time="500ms"/>
... and greyed.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Such a charming wig.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
so wonderfully displayed.<break time="500ms"/>
Poor mother what transpired<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Do you hate a lovely appearance <break time="300ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />gorgeous<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Under and evil breath,<break time="500ms"/>
"Just once let her arrive shabby, unkempt, and enormous."<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
But then -- they might say,<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
"Like mother like daughter."<break time="500ms"/>
Wouldn't that? <break time="500ms"/>be <break time="700ms"/>nice?
</speak>
Mathew, Male USA voice

Separated poem into 5 voices:

  1. intro-female.mp3
  2. thank-you-mama-mathew.mp3
  3. kimberly-wig.mp3
  4. enormous-joanna.mp3
  5. outro-smarter-brian.mp3

Master voiceover no processing

Music track

  1. the-show-must-be-go-by-kevin-macleod.mp3

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1500068

The Show Must Be Go

Kevin MacLeod

Music from https://filmmusic.io:
“The Show Must Be Go” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
Licence: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

WooComa project

1:45 minutes – This short video’s goal was an advertisement for a digital download about the slowness of WooCommerce plugin. But in the end, I didn’t use it. Instead it became revelatory of two paradoxical aspects of my life. One is the tenacity of the snail  – and the second is the desire for fast-paced creative production. Prolific unfettered output. Unchained from the plow.

The final video uses 26 open-source components:

Heart Rate Effects:

  1. Heartbeat flatline-outtro.mp4
  2. Heart intro.mp4
  3. Heart Rate background.mp3

Speed Music Clips:

  1. carnival.mp3
  2. ending-credits.mp3
  3. snail-1-music-slow.mp3
  4. subway.mp3

Snail Video Clips:

  1. Snail-1.mp4
  2. Snail-2.mp4
  3. Snail-3.mp4

Movie Clips:

  1. Rally.mp4
  2. Sailing Boat Video.mp4
  3. carnival.mp4
  4. dirt-bikes.mp4
  5. motorcycles.mp4
  6. Subway.mp4
  7. Subway-tunnel.mp4

Other Sound Effects:

  1. Explosion-Ammo-Delayed.wav
  2. FA-18a-fighter-jet.mp3
  3. Screaming Hawk.mp3
  4. Seashore And Seagulls.mp3

24-bit PNG Titles and signage:

(Myriad Pro Extrabold Condensed knockoff font)

  1. hates-slow.png
  2. PagePipe.png
  3. signup for woo.png
  4. woocoma-title.png
  5. WooSnail.png

Dizzy Pictures logo parody

18 seconds – Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio. They’re the producer of live-action feature films and are based in Burbank, California. Walt Disney Pictures is regarded as one of Hollywood’s Big Five film studios. Films produced by Pixar Animation Studios are also released under this brand. Dizzy Pictures has no affiliation with either of these corporate entities.

The lettering of the Walt Disney logotype is very similar to a font called Waltograph, which is a free-for-personal-use typeface designed by Justin Callaghan.

Typo Slab Regular freeware font is used for the “PICTURES” type.

Don’t Call Me Dear

4:00 minutes

What I learned from this video poem?

Everything seemed cohesively unrelated during the “build” – is that chaos? Until – at the very end – I dedicated the work to my Mom. Then it all made sense to me. She was a 1960s work-at-home Mom with two little kids. She married an unpredictable raging scientist and narcissist. She was the unwilling victim of domestic violence. She chose never speaking about the bullying or violence. Silenced by intimidation and weakness. But to her credit, she survived marriage but could never escape mortal death. My child-mind thought I could protect her from death. But I was wrong. She died at 82 from complications related to age.

What a horrible way to live. Cowering and manipulating each other. Walking on eggshells.

Don’t Call Me Dear is a poem written and self-published in print during the early 1990s. The original piece was biographical and about a guy (me). I was divorced at the time. To mask my vulnerability, I switched the gender to female – a common creative-writing trick. Often in my writings, the female character represents my creative inner self.

The goal of lo-fi video poetry is working with no costs. Severe self-imposed limitations for productivity and creativity. New ideas emerge. Serendipity helps. The goal is finishing and moving on to the subsequent project. There’s no perfectionist fine tuning after final output. Acquired learning only translates forward to new projects. Not to reworking past flaws. The flaws are part of the prolific process.

In hindsight, there are things I’d do differently. But that’s not a disciplined option to stay on course. Quality is sacrificed – but successive projects improve and gain new skills. Future achievement grows from adaptive practice. You acquire new habits and skills.

The Poem

Ashamed, almost terrified she listened.
Panic swept her frozen face.
With whirling mind she thought,
Don’t say those words.
Please, please don’t make me say it to you.
In a flash, she recalled every hurt and pain received under the umbrella of love.
Searing tears still smoking in her tender heart.
“Can I believe you?”
“Can I trust you?”

It still stings so deep
You reopened all my old wounds.
Do you understand the real me?

The fire smoulders now.
Bits of ash flutter off in the breeze.
The pungent smell of burnt memories spin slowly in the billowing smoke.

Tomorrow is gone but yesterdays feelings live on.

Will they ever sleep?
They toss and turn.
Dancing insomniacs.
Moulding dreams haunted by fears without meaning.

Don’t call me Dear

Salvaged Letter

I then salvaged a piece of a 2017 letter I wrote to a “terminally-gifted,” 17-year-old girl. She’s a brilliant friend of Levi, my son. I asked her to pose any question to me. What would she choose? The question she asked, “How do boys think?” That response was a 1-page letter my son Levi later delivered to her. I excerpted a few lines for this project as a voice test sample. In the end, it fit adding the excerpt to this piece.

Testing Robot Voice Talent from Amazon

There are four contenders racing to capture market share in Artificial Intelligence (AI) text-to-voice and voice recognition. Those are:

  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • IBM

Each has different goals and features and are incorporating these into the programming language called Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML). Learn more about SSML

To generate two voice-over tracks, I used the online text-to-speech synthesizer on Amazon Polly. A sign-up is required. Then you access a development tool that processes up to 3,000 characters. They charged me $1 via PayPal. You can listen to the text-to-speech results before download as an MP3 file. It feels like a live environment compared to other cumbersome techniques.

https://us-east-2.console.aws.amazon.com/polly/home/SynthesizeSpeech

Amazon Polly – Not free but almost. It’s so cheap.

This production method was infinitely better than the clunky workaround using SpeechKit WordPress plugin. Before, I couldn’t preview nor place timed gaps between sentences. Very cumbersome. That’s how I produced my first two very-novice and mechanical robot-voiced videos, Last Rocket and Sanctum Nova Muerte. Still, they were better than even older alternatives.

Converting Talent-less Text-to-Voice

The first text-to-voice track built for this lofi project is an Amazon-Polly Kendra conversion of the letter excerpt. The second MP3 is the same text read by Matthew.

REFERENCE: Voice Samples

What’s SSML? Who cares?

The Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) is used with a standard Application Programming Interface (API). SSML is used to control the volume, pitch, rate, and pronunciation of synthesized speech. Using SSML, I coded variable-length pauses without slicing or splicing the tracks into pieces to insert silent gaps. This was a big step forward for productivity. Ideally, and eventually, future voices will switch/change during output instead of editing in a production audio editor. But not yet. There’s a provision for specifying preferred voice in SSML code – but it doesn’t work yet. You choose one voice in the Amazon Polly dashboard – not in the SSML code. That’s it. One vice per track. Oh, well. Soon. Maybe?

I combined the two MP3 tracks (voices) and edited using Audacity on a Linux operating system. My computer is built from scrap, secondhand, used parts purchased on Ebay for under a few hundred dollars. That price tag includes three LED back-lit monitors. That is cheaper than hiring professional voice talent.

Polly Voice Track Output Examples

Here are the sample MP3 Kendra and Mathew voice tracks and then the composite follows:

Kendra solo track above


Mathew solo track above


Above: Composite of two tracks in Audacity.


Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software available for Windows, macOS/OS X and Linux operating systems.

Free Audacity digital audio editor.

Another female voice track.

I then proccessed the 21-line poem Don’t Call Me Dear using speech synthesis techniques – but with Polly’s Salli voice. Here I added more effects – besides breaks or gaps. I used breath duration, whispered, and break time settings in the SSML code. That 1-minute and 17-second code example is below. It’s downloaded from Amazon’s dashboard.

<speak>Ashamed, <amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />almost  terrified <amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />she listened.<break time="700ms"/>
Panic swept her frozen face.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
With whirling mind she thought,<break time="500ms"/>
Don't say those words.<break time="500ms"/>
Please, please don't make me say it to you.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
In a flash, she recalled every hurt and pain received under the umbrella of love.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Searing tears still smoke in her tender heart.<break time="500ms"/>
Can I believe you?<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Can I trust you?<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
<break time="500ms"/>
It still stings <break time="1500ms"/><prosody volume="-7dB">so deep</prosody><break time="1500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
You reopened all my old wounds.<break time="500ms"/>
Do you understand? <break time="200ms"/>the real me?<break time="500ms"/>
<break time="1500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
The fire smoulders now.<break time="500ms"/>
Bits of ash <break time="100ms"/>flutter off in the breeze.<break time="500ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
The pungent smell of burnt memories <break time="100ms"/>spin slowly in the billowing smoke.<break time="500ms"/>
<break time="500ms"/>
Tomorrow is gone <break time="200ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />but yesterdays feelings live on.<break time="500ms"/>

Will they ever sleep?<break time="1000ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
They toss and turn.<amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Dancing insomniacs.<break time="1000ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />
Moulding dreams haunted by fears <break time="1000ms"/>without meaning.<break time="2000ms"/><amazon:breath duration="long" volume="soft" />

<prosody rate="-20%" volume="-15dB">Don't</prosody><amazon:effect name="whispered">
     <prosody rate="-30%" volume="+10dB"><break time="700ms"/> call me<break time="500ms"/>
     dear.</prosody></amazon:effect> 
</speak>
poem - code

Still Image Selection

Since there are 21 lines in the poem, it takes about the same number of still images to create a slideshow. Each line gives some clue how to communicate feelings and ideas. I rename and number the downloaded images for automatic sorting when dropped into OpenShot video editor.

Free OpenShot video editor dashboard.

I used Google Image Search and creative-commons to locate qualified large images. They were not resized or optimized for speed after download. They are processed in free PhotoFilmStrip software on Linux to match the duration of the final voice track.

Free PhotoFilmStrip dashboard.

Video Compression saves time during upload and page loads.

After the composite video is output from OpenShot video editor, the MP4 video weighs 383MB. It’s optimized using HandBrake software for translation to web optimization and conversion to M4V format.

HandBrake changes the file size to 48MB. This is important for an 8-times faster upload to my YouTube channel. It only took about 10 minutes uploading.

21 lines = 21 images.

Then off searching the Internet to harvest open-source image based on keywords. A lot like hunting for the right driftwood washed up on sandy shores.

  1. Ashamed, almost terrified she listened.
  2. Panic swept her frozen face.
  3. With whirling mind she thought,
  4. Don’t say those words.
  5. Please, please don’t make me say it to you.
  6. In a flash, she recalled every hurt and pain received under the umbrella of love.
  7. Searing tears still smoking in her tender heart.
  8. Can I believe you?
  9. Can I trust you?
  10. It still stings so deep
  11. You reopened all my old wounds.
  12. Do you understand the real me?
  13. The fire smoulders now.
  14. Bits of ash flutter off in the breeze.
  15. The pungent smell of burnt memories spin slowly in the billowing smoke.
  16. Tomorrow is gone but yesterdays feelings live on.
  17. Will they ever sleep?
  18. They toss and turn.
  19. Dancing insomniacs.
  20. Moulding dreams haunted by fears without meaning.
  21. Don’t call me Dear.

Several extra images were discovered and added for a total of 27 images. Some were later deleted and substituted.

What is Stock Video?

Stock Videos are videos that are about 60 sec made for commercial purposes. These videos are sold on photo stock websites for commercial purposes. Usually they are used on TV, Internet advertising, or for interface design. We hunt for the freebies or promotional giveaways.

Sources of free video clips:

  1. https://videos.pexels.com/
  2. https://pixabay.com/en/videos/
  3. http://www.videvo.net/
  4. http://www.coverr.co/
  5. http://www.lifeofvids.com/
  6. http://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage
  7. http://vidlery.com/
  8. https://mixkit.co/