Pyramind Creates Audio for Vi: The Bio Sensing Headphones / AI Personal Trainer Pair

Voice Over Process

Over the past year, Pyramind has worked with LifeBeam to create the voice of their new virtual personal trainer Vi. We record and edit all of Vi’s dialogue including in-app speech and voiceover. One of the most challenging but exciting aspects of this project was getting the edited lines to fit together well with each other so that they sound natural when played together in the app. A big goal  for Vi was to make her sound as human as possible. This requires leaving the perfect amount of space on each line so that it can be played smoothly into whatever Vi has to say next. According to the reviews, we were very successful: 

There are several fitness apps with voice-coaching that aren’t tied to a specific pair of headphones, but those trainers sound like robots. Vi actually sounds like a person you’d want to talk to—and you can.
— MacWorld

One of Pyramind’s creative team members, Dmitry Akchin, records Vi’s dialogue using Pro Tools, a Neumann U87, and an Avalon 737 Pre. He is often joined in the studio by voiceover director Clifford Chen via Skype. Pyramind’s Skype setup allows Cliff to see, hear, and talk to Vi’s voice actress and guide her to the perfect sound. After Vi’s lines are recorded they are edited using Pro Tools combined with programmed gaming mice to speed up the process without sacrificing any precision. Dialogue editor Austin Baxter played a critical role in setting up the Logitech mouse workflow and also developed an impressive script to speed up the file renaming process.

User Interface Sound Design

Working closely with both team's Creative Directors, Greg Gordon from Pyramind & Cliff Chen with Lifebeam, Jeremy Garren sculpted and synthesized just the right set of sounds that act as markers for all the UI and user progress and achievements. 

Cliff Chen set the overarching tone with his design edict: "an “edgeless” / abstract sound that sounds futuristic, mysterious, exotic, and powerful, without becoming sci-fi or cliché. There’s nothing about the sounds that can be distinctively recognizable to anchor you in something familiar (say, an orchestral instrument or gaming SFX or computer OS). It also needs to vaguely evoke urban bass music, which gives it a hint of street.  “Future Street” – the right direction for our overall brand and sound DNA. Let’s build more around this direction."

Using these creative guidelines the objectives were set to build a truly unique brand experience entirely through sound, making it critically important to establish a totally differentiated sound vocabulary. This was based off a strong "Future street/Urban" feel with compelling sculpted sounds – that echo VI's brand shape with filter sweeps and varying synthesis techniques.

The following categories set the tone:

• Street feel – a blend of hollow harmonics evoke tunnels, tubes. Bass music.

• Future feel – a couple translucent notes touch future without becoming EDM or sci-fi

• Immersive space – layered and rich textures pull you into the experience

Context for these UI sounds include:
Beacon & achievement markers using 3D processing, Bluetooth cues (ready to pair, connected, disconnected, pairing failed),  battery low, power on, power off, earbud in, earbud out

Workout activities also each have their own set of audio sound design elements including: warmup started, warmup finished, personal record approaching, personal record achieved, workout progress, current stats, step rate coaching and statistical summary.

Overall, this project has been an absolute pleasure to work on. LifeBeam’s staff are all very positive and extremely passionate about their product and making it the best that it can be. Pyramind looks forward to continuing work on Vi to add to her ever evolving feature set. 

Contact Pyramind Studios for VO and Sound Design Services