Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to see and hear the world’s greatest legends after they’ve gone? Thierry Ardisson sought out the expertise of Mac Guff and Ircam Amplify to make this dream a television reality.

Mac Guff and Ircam Amplify, leaders in visual and audio technology, created FaceRetriever and Voice Cloning, respectively, to make Thierry Ardisson’s “Hôtel du Temps”, co-produced by Ardimages and 3ème Oeil Productions, possible. These French-made technological advances used in “Hôtel du Temps” allow viewers to rediscover some of the most iconic personalities from the past, including Princess Diana, comedian Coluche, and singer Dalida.

Voice Cloning uses the technological process of vocal reconstruction to make it possible to automatically reproduce all the emotions and dynamic articulations of an existing voice, moving vocal reconstruction far beyond cobbling together snippets of old recordings. This cutting-edge product from Ircam Amplify requires only a few dozen minutes of analysis to determine a speaker’s unique vocal characteristics. By using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Voice Cloning is able to not only discover all the unique characteristics of a person’s voice, but also learn to reproduce them.

The second phase of Voice Cloning as used in “Hôtel du Temps”, happens when an actor reads the words of the late celebrity without needing to mimic the original speaker’s voice tone, cadence or speech patterns. Voice Cloning then “dresses” this base with the unique qualities and characteristics of the original speaker’s voice. The Voice Cloning technology means actors do not have to attempt to recreate the special charm of the person they are attempting to recreate, allowing them to instead focus on the emotions within the words, while the Voice Cloning technology applies all the details required to make a perfect recreation of a lost voice.

Vocal reconstruction, a Versatile Tool for All Types of Cultural Projects

The voice cloning used in “Hôtel du Temps” is a major technological advancement with diverse applications. Voice Cloning from Ircam Amplify is based on the technologies and expertise of IRCAM, a long-time leader in the field of sound and vocal research.

Voice Cloning literally gives voice to the lost words, written or voiced in pieces, of departed celebrities, historical figures, and more for use in all types of documentaries and cultural works.

For “Hôtel du Temps”, Voice Cloning offers an interview that is as fluid as it is realistic, based on the vocal identity of the now-departed celebrity. Voice processing makes it possible to reconstruct the language elements specific to the interview, respecting the speech pattern of each interviewee.

A veritable bridge between the state-of-the-art audio research performed by IRCAM researchers and the industrial world on a global level, Ircam Amplify facilitates the sound revolution of everyday life in the 21st century. In the era of artificial intelligence, deep learning, and voice assistants, IRCAM is a pioneer in speech synthesis, and we are very proud to participate in this great project.

Nathalie Birocheau, CEO of Ircam Amplify

Check out the amazing Voice Cloning technology on the next episode of “Hôtel du Temps”, Monday May 2 at 9:10 p.m. [CET] on France 3 and rediscover the face and voice of the famed singer Dalida!

Voice Cloning from Ircam Amplify is based on the technologies and expertise of IRCAM.


Ircam Amplify

  • Nicolas Pingnelain, Head of Sales
  • Frederic Amadu, CTO
  • Elias Karam, Project Manager


  • Sylvain Cadars, Sound Engineer

Researcher at Mixed Research Unit for Music and Sound Sciences and Technologies (the CNRS, Sorbonne University, the Ministry of Culture and IRCAM):

  • Axel Roebel, Head of the Sound Analysis and Synthesis team
  • Nicolas Obin, Professor-Researcher

With the support of the French National Research Agency in the framework of TheVoice and ARS projects

Press contact: Oxygen Agency – Marie-Hélène Veillon – marie-helene.v@oxygen-rp.com – +33 06 07 28 69 43