Julia Child’s 100th Birthday & Engineering

Today would have been Julia Child’s one-hundredth birthday.  (She lived from August 15, 1912 to August 13, 2004.)  She is the author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the host of the PBS TV show, The French Chef and several other TV shows about cooking. In honor of her birthday, PBS released a You Tube video titled “Julia Child Remixed.”

I’m old enough to recognize that Child’s singing voice on this video sounds much like Julia Child did on those 1970’s era TV shows she hosted.  How did they make Julia Child sing for this this sweet (pun intended!) video?  My guess is that they used a product like Antares Auto-Tune to alter the original sound track of some video clips from her TV shows.  Consider the variety of the technologies needed (other than cooking!) to televise and record those original TV shows, to convert them to a digital format, to artfully edit them into the remix, to make her talking voice into a singing voice, to add a synthesized backup band, and to wing this over the web to your eyes and ears.  If that intrigues you, then you might be interested in engineering!  All of these technical tasks fall squarely into the arena of electrical and computer engineering.

My doctoral research was in signal processing.  Thus it was a delight for me to discover this “remix” tribute, not only because I once enjoyed her TV shows when they were originally broadcast, and not only because I love food (Bring on the roasted potatoes!), but also because I enjoy the type of engineering work that made this retrospective “remix” possible, even if Auto-Tune is not my particular project.  I just thought I’d bring that to your attention!

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Image: from the linked You Tube Clip



About Douglas De Boer

Please see my Dordt College homepage for more information about me. http://homepages.dordt.edu/~ddeboer/ Also be sure to see my "Curriculum Vita" for my personal testimony http://homepages.dordt.edu/~ddeboer/ddb/sum_cv.htm
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