Hour One Debuts Synthetic Video News With Virtual Human News Anchors

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Virtual human startup Hour One has introduced a new tool to create synthetic news reports with AI anchors from a text script.

The News feature generates three-dimensional videos with the setting and virtual news anchor chosen from a catalog or created by the user from their recordings. You can see an example of a Voicebot story redone as a newscast above. The ‘camera’ pans and zooms around the virtual studio, cutting to a close-up of the image from the article on the digital display and back as the AI presenter’s mouth moves to match the sound of the woman’s voice reciting the text of the article.

Hour One News

The news videos can simulate a real newscast, including different camera angles, chyrons, spliced-in video footage, and other content. As with Hour One’s other virtual humans, AI is used to analyze and successfully mimic a video recording of someone moving and speaking. 

The software version can then be instructed to give a new speech with words and phrases not previously recorded, in this case, for a newscast. The text-to-speech (TTS) engine gets the AI avatar to speak the new content, and the visual rendering dynamically adjusts the video image to make the spoken words seem naturally delivered by the video image. The AI can even reproduce the original speaker’s voice in a different language. That’s how Hour One built a virtual clone of YouTube star Taryn Southern for her videos and the multilingual AI receptionists it first became well-known for. You can see another example of the tool in action below, with multiple background images, camera panning, and zooming effects.

The video editing aspect of the new tool is part of a general trend toward synthetic video manipulation and editing as the technology improves. AI-powered video editing technology developer Peech recently raised $8.3 million to build up that aspect of the synthetic media market for videos with real people. Hour One’s News feature largely extends and streamlines Hour One’s usual digital clone production for synthesized videos and interactive avatars to a narrower purpose, albeit one seeing growing demand.

“News and media companies worldwide understand the value of creating more video content, but filming live news anchors in a studio environment requires a lot of time and investment,” Hour One Head of Strategy Natalie Monbiot said. “For news stations and media publishers, access to virtual anchors and studios removes these obstacles and unlocks endless new possibilities, including localization of news content and 24-hour newscasting.”