Big Project Hackery Update!

Josh Gordonson and I downloaded nearly all of the TED talks.  I’d heard about “pitch-preserving time compression algorithms”, and wanted to play around with them.  So we processed all the TED talks, and now they play at DOUBLE SPEED, but still retain normal pitch!

It’s like getting to click a button and make any speaker speak twice as quickly, while still sounding normal.   Awesome!

We both thought this was pretty fantastic!  There are a lot of TED talks out there, and now it’s possible to watch them in half the time.  What’s more, is that once you watch some doublespeed TED talks, it’s really hard to go back to watching them at normal speed.  Your brain craves the information!  So this is pretty awesome, right?

UNFORTUNATELY, we just learned that we can never release them.

TED thinks that it’s awesome to release their talks under a Creative Commons license, but they regretfully chose a “non-derivative works” option, meaning you can’t actually do anything creative with the talks.  So we chose to ask for permission, and were denied.

I think this is incredibly stupid, and I’m really disappointed that we don’t get to share the project.  I told a couple people about what we were doing, and, if you were one of them, I’m sorry that I can’t show you what we did.  (We still have the data privately, which is fair use)



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5 responses to “Big Project Hackery Update!

  1. Zach

    What did you use to play them back at 2x speed w/ pitch correction? I’ve watched some things at about 1.3x speed wo/ pitch correction, but that seemed to be the upper limit.

    That sounds pretty cool though. TED talks are so awesome, but audio/video takes sooo much time to watch/listen.

    • boranj

      We used an mplayer command, wrapped in perl to iterate over all of them (same for downloading all of them).

      We found 1.8x speed to be the human perception upper limit; maybe TED speakers speak particularly slowly or clearly to afford such acceleration. Pitch correction does a lot to help. I understand that the latest VLC does this very well.

      Look for the code posted here soon!

      One cool FACKT, all the TED talks are hosted on the MIT network, so downloading them all went rippingly fast (at least 10MB/s)


  2. It does seem like posting the code will be better than just posting the videos. After all, then we can use it to watch other videos, too!

  3. Christina

    Hm, wonder if you could post a webapp that takes a link to a video and applies the algorithm to it?