Got a face for radio? Try Fix8 and Voices.com

Fix8 makes you someone else; Voices.com is a marketplace for your speaking voice.

One of the presenters at yesterday's Launch Silicon Valley event yesterday was Fix8, which makes technology that puts animated avatars on top of Webcam videos.

We've seen this before -- Webcam vendors like Logitech, Creative, and Microsoft have similar software that lets you overlay characters on top of your video stream. The stream can then be read by products like Skype and Eyejot (review). Fix8, though, works with any Webcam, and the company is trying to develop a more serious business around this technology. While the software is free and lets you do fun things (see video clip below), the company is also trying to build a marketplace for avatar overlays. You can, for example, create an avatar of your own face, and then send it out to other people. (I tried this, and it was incredibly creepy.)

Fix8 will also encourage marketing through avatars. The Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum marketing team could distribute pirate hat overlays, for example, complete with a branding message. These would likely be free, but Fix8 will also let you buy overlays the way you can buy ringtones.

I played with the Logitech animation system last year and frankly found it just as good as Fix8 is today. But Fix8 should soon be available for mobile phones, which is something that Logitech doesn't offer with its brand-specific software. The company is also working on avatar-based video shows. For example, a "dating game" using avatars would be more interesting than placing contestants behind a wall, old-school style. Since Fix8 does a good job of reading expressions and mapping those on to characters, players in the game could communicate nonverbally while remaining hidden. Fix8 has a control panel (not yet available in the U.S.) that a show director could use to manage multiple cams, and the overlays and avatars for all of them.

See also: Gizmoz (review).

Too cute? Go pro.

If you'd rather skip the whole video thing and focus instead of making the best use of your voice alone, check out Voices.com, the marketplace for voice actors. On this site you can freely upload your own voice clip and hope that a commercial or film producer picks you for voice-over work. Paid members of the service can participate in auditions for projects that producers set up, and can get featured on the site's Talent Directory.

Apparently, good full-time voice actors make a decent living -- up to $90,000 a year, according to one research firm. But before you dive in to this market, do scan the site to see what you're up against. There are a lot of sweet-sounding people on the service already.

 

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