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Bruce Sharpe

The Levelator



Bruce Sharpe

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The levelling of spoken word audio during post production was often a tedious and time consuming task. When Gigavox Media released The Levelator in september of 2006 it made levelling as simple and easy as dragging and dropping a file. On this edition of Behind the Mic, Gigavox Media's CTO Doug Kaye speaks with Bruce Sharpe, who together with his son Malcom developed The Levelator.

IT Conversations was committed to producing audio according to high standards, which took significant time and dedication during post production. Sharpe, who was one of the first to answer ITC's call for volunteers, explains that the work he did during those first months made him think about automating the task of levelling variations in volume within podcasts.

The result of nine months of development – which required complex mathematical modelling and an abundant supply of audio to test on – was an easy to use utility which dealt with the multiple changes in levels within an audio file. Together, Kaye and Sharpe discuss some of the choices they made during The Levelator's development, and how this exciting new tool fits into the work flows of both amateur podcasters and audio professionals.

Bruce Sharpe has held a series of leadership roles in high tech companies over the last 20 years. After completing a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics he founded a software startup. His professional interests have been as diverse as algorithms for orbital modelling of earth observation satellites, enhanced resolution from subpixel-shifted digital imagery, automatic tuning and looping for music synthesizers, video editing and a range of enterprise software applications for content management. It was those latter applications that led Sharpe to become an early fan of IT Conversations.

When Doug Kaye put out the call for volunteer audio engineers, Sharpe was one of the first to sign up. It quickly became apparent that his software and mathematics skills could be applied to the emerging field of podcasting. Together with his son Malcolm, a home-schooled student, he created a number of software tools to simplify an automate the production of podcasts. The latest of these is now the core of The Levelator.


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