Yesterday, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed their intent to add a new teleprompter feature to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Sometime in the future you'll be able to both film yourself on an iPad while reading your very own script like the pros. This is Apple's second patent relating to future iReporter tools for iOS devices. Is it a trend? Well, last March, KBTV anchor-reporter Mike McNeill was the first person to shoot a news segment using the iPad 2 and Apple may want to tap into this new trend relating to Street Reporting. While this type of reporting won't be mainstream anytime soon, it surely has its place in impromptu situations or for informal video casts. This is Patently Apple reporting live for J-A-C-K news.
Apple's Patent Background
To date, many media editing applications exist for creating media presentations by compositing several pieces of media content such as video, audio, animation, still image, etc. Such applications give users the ability to edit, combine, transition, overlay, and piece together different media content in a variety of manners to create a resulting composite presentation. Examples of media editing applications include Final Cut Pro and iMovie.
Some media editing applications provide editing tools for adding voice-over content to a presentation. Such voice-over content provides audiences with insight (e.g., narration, translation, off screen commentary) for other video and/or audio content in the presentation. Typically, a voice-over clip is produced by recording the voice of a narrator or actor reading aloud a prepared script through a microphone. The narrator may read the script from a printed document or a monitor that displays the script. Once the voice-over clip is produced, a content editor may import the voice-over clip and perform various other editing operations to incorporate the clip into the presentation.
To facilitate voice-over clip creation, a media editing application may include an audio recording feature. With such a media editing application, the narrator typically launches a separate text editing application to display a text document containing a script. The narrator then reads the script into a microphone while recording his or her voice using the media editing application.
There are a number shortcomings with the approaches mentioned above. For instance, in creating a voice-over clip, a narrator performs take after take (i.e., read a same script multiple times) in order to match the timing of a voice-over with other video clip and/or audio clip in a composite presentation. Also, launching a separate text editing application (e.g., Text Edit, Pages) to display a script causes the operating system's user interface to be cluttered with various user interface windows (e.g., the media editing application, a document reader, an audio recorder, etc.) making it difficult to read the script. Furthermore, reading a script from a printed document or a separate text editing application fails to correlate the scripted words with a composite content that is being produced.
Apple's New and Novel Teleprompter Tools
For a media-editing application that creates composite presentations, some embodiments of Apple's invention provide a novel teleprompter tool for displaying voice-over text when recording a voice-over clip for a composite presentation.
The media editing application is to include (1) a text area for receiving a script to record the voice-over clip and (2) an output display area for displaying the script when recording the voice-over clip. In some embodiments, the output display area is a preview display area that displays both the script and a preview of the composite presentation during the recording session. This allows a narrator to watch the preview and read the script at the same time in order to match the timing of the voice-over with the displayed preview.
In some embodiments, the media editing application receives a script for a voice-over in a number of different ways. For instance, the application's user could type the script and/or copy and paste it directly into the text area. Alternatively or conjunctively, text contained in one or more files (e.g., text file, word document) can be imported into the text area. To facilitate import operations, some embodiments provide a set of import tools to select one or more files that contains text. Once selected, the media editing application then extracts text contained in each selected file and populate the text area with the extracted text.
The media editing application in some embodiments display a script for a voice-over clip by scrolling the script in the output display area over a set time duration. For instance, the script may be scrolled in the display area such that the first line of the script appears in the display area just as the duration begins and the last line of the script disappears just as the duration ends. In some embodiments, the media editing application provides several different user adjustable items (e.g., a slider control) to specify the scrolling speed of output text.
Based on input text for a voice-over clip, some embodiments automatically calculate an estimated duration for reading the input text. In some embodiments, the estimation is based on a time that an average speaker takes to read aloud a given number of words (e.g., one or more words) multiplied by the number words in the text area. Different embodiments of the invention compute this estimation differently. For instance, the media editing application may count the number of letters, syllables (e.g., combination of consonants and vowels), words, and/or any combination of these variables; and calculate the estimated time duration.
In some embodiments, the media editing application includes a composite display area for displaying media clips that are part of a composite presentation. To display one or more real-time timing references (e.g., in such a composite display area), some embodiments calculate the estimated duration in the background. For instance, when the composite display area includes a timeline and one or more tracks that span the timeline for holding one or more media clips, an in point timing reference and out point timing reference that represent start and end points of the voice-over clip may be displayed along the timeline. This allow a user of the media editing application to visualize the timing of the voice-over clip with respect to other clips in the composite presentation prior to recording the voice-over clip.
A New Speech Rate Controller
In some embodiments, the teleprompter tool includes a variety of different user interface controls to match the timing of a voice-over clip with one or more other clips (e.g., video clip, audio clip) prior to recording the voice-over clip. One such control is a speech rate controller that controls the rate at which output text is presented in a display area. In some embodiments, the speech rate defines the scrolling speed of output text as mentioned above. By setting the speech rate (e.g., anywhere along a defined range), a user can customize the scrolling speed of the output text to match the natural speech rate of a narrator reading the voice-over script.
A New Duration Control
To facilitate timing operations, some embodiments provide a duration control that allows a user to specify a duration for a voice-over clip. For instance, when only a particular time duration (e.g., 10 seconds) is available for the voice-over clip, the user can use this control to granularly adjust the voice-over clip's duration to match the particular time duration. In some embodiments, an adjustment to the duration automatically modifies the speech rate. For instance, when less time is available for a voice-over clip, the media editing application might automatically increase the speech rate to accelerate the presentation of output text in the display area. Conversely, when more time is available, the speech rate may be decreased to give a narrator more time to read a script.
By allowing a user to perform several different timing operations prior to recording the voice-over clip, the media editing application in some embodiments prevents multiple takes being performed on one script in order to match the timing of a voice-over clip with another clip in a composite presentation. Modifying the speech rate, scroll rate, and duration are just three examples of different timing operations that can be performed prior to recording the voice-over clip. Alternatively, or conjunctively, some embodiments provide several other controls to perform different timing operations. For instance, the media editing application in some embodiments provides several user selectable items for matching a starting point or an ending point of a voice-over clip with another clip (e.g., video clip, audio clip) in a composite presentation.
The teleprompter tool in some embodiments is a part of a voice-over tool for recording voice-over. In some embodiments, the voice-over tool includes its own display area that acts as a teleprompter during the recording session. Instead of the voice-over tool's display area, or in conjunction with it, some embodiments allow the application's user to specify a destination output display area (e.g., a preview display area in which the voice-over text is displayed on top of the video). In some embodiments, the specified display area is not a display area of the media editing application but a remote display of a client device. This allows a composite presentation to be created at a separate physical location from where the voice-over audio data is actually recorded or transmitted (e.g., across a network) to be recorded.
Apple's Media Editing Application with Teleprompter Tool
For a media-editing application that creates composite presentations, some embodiments of the invention provide a novel teleprompter tool for displaying voice-over text when recording a voice-over clip for a composite presentation. The media editing application (Final Cut Pro or iMovie) includes (1) a text area for receiving a script to record the voice-over clip and (2) an output display area for displaying the script when recording the voice-over clip.
The Five Key Stages of the New Teleprompter Tool
For some embodiments of the invention, FIG. 1 illustrates a graphical user interface 100 of a media editing application with such a teleprompter tool 185. This figure illustrates the GUI at five different stages 105, 110, 115, 120, and 125. In particular, these stages show how the teleprompter tool could be used to create a voice-over content for a composite presentation.
In the first stage, the user has specified a starting location for a voice-over clip by moving the playhead 140 (e.g., through a cursor click and drag operation) to its current position. The second stage 110 shows the GUI after the user's selection of the teleprompter tool menu item 150 through the cursor 114. The third stage 115 shows the GUI after the user inputs text into the text area 155. The fourth stage 120 shows an adjustment of the speech rate controller 190 to match the timing of the voice-over clip with the music clip.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates an example media editing application that implements the teleprompter tool with scrolling text and so forth. As the patent earlier notes, the media application is likely to be derived from iMovie and Final Cut Pro.
Apple's patent FIG. 16 illustrates scrolling output text in a preview display area 1605; patent FIG. 18 conceptually illustrates the media server 1725 interacting with the client device 1705 to record voice-over content for a composite presentation.
Apple's patent FIG. 21 shown below is considered a conceptual software architecture of an application. In some embodiments, the application 2100 is a media editing application for creating a media presentation using one or more media clips. (e.g., audio clip, video clip, text overlay, picture, and/or other media). The design illustrates a teleprompter tool and related features.
Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Enrique Rodriguez and Fernando Garcia.
An Interesting Invention from Sprint for the iPhone
Patently Apple has discovered a new Sprint patent application relating to Apple's iPhone and iPod touch. Sprint's patent FIG. 3B shown below, clearly illustrates an iPhone in a device cradle. The invention concerns a device cradle which includes a mechanical and electrical connection between the cradle and the wireless device which could share power resources. "For instance, power resources from the cradle may be shared or transferred to the wireless device 312. This may be useful in an instance when the battery life of the cradle 310 is high and the wireless device requires more power resources in order to operate. Here, the two devices can be connected so that the wireless device has enough power resources to properly function."
It was reported earlier this week that Sprint Nextel posted a wider quarterly due to the higher costs of selling Apple's iPhone. Perhaps Sprint is hoping to sell a ton of these new power cradles to new Sprint-iPhone subscribers in the future to help them turn a profit. Time will tell. For now, it's an interesting idea of having a mobile powered cradle to keep you powered up until you could get back home or your hotel suite to recharge your device.
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