Bleep Remover Censors Those **** Bleeps

One of the more interesting cultural phenomena is the ‘bleep’ that replaces certain words in broadcasts, something primarily observed in the US. Although ostensibly applied to prevent susceptible minds from being exposed to the unspeakable horrors of naughty words, the applied 1 kHz censoring tone is decidedly loud and obnoxious enough that its entertainment level falls somewhere between ‘truck backing up’ and ‘loud claxon in busy traffic’. There is thus a definite argument to be made to censor the censoring beep to preserve one’s sanity, which is the goal of [Oona Räisänen]’s Bleep-be-gone project on GitHub.

Using a Perl-based wrapper, the versatile ffmpeg framework is used to filter a provided video that was afflicted with bleepitus, before outputting a pristine version where the infernal noise is replaced with blissful silence. This use of silence for censoring naughty words is incidentally becoming more commonplace over an ear-piercing beep, but a tool like Bleep-be-gone can be used to hasten the demise of its terror. Considering that the point of the 1 kHz back-up alarm beep is to draw a person’s attention to a piece of heavy equipment moving about, there is clearly no good reason why the replacement of a naughty word should warrant a similar drawing of attention.

19 thoughts on “Bleep Remover Censors Those **** Bleeps

  1. How long before somebody makes a version that uses AI to unbleep (debleep?) the soundtrack?

    Or maybe they’d do a simpler version that just inserts a random swear word.

    Properly trained neural network to plug in a non-swear word?

    Pribably won’t be long before AI will be able to do any of those options in the actors voice.

    1. Reading these comments is why I go on HAD. How can we reverse human input by using AI to find out what swear word a person said so I can hear all of my jerry springer in its rightmost form.

      1. Where did you see a movie with bleeps? That is not done AFAIK.
        TV programmes yes, but movies?

        On a personal note: if I watch a drama and there is any kind of bleep in it I immediately stop watching, and if a local file I delete the file. Such things are not acceptable.

    1. There’s an episode of the X-files where a character actually says bleep when he’s swearing like “you won’t bleeping believe what this bleep just did”.

      I’ve been wanting to make a device that mutes doorbell sounds on the tv, because the dog goes bleeping nuts when certain commercials play. I bet it could be made into the HDMI cable.

      1. Bowdlerisation just doesn’t really work, the Bowdlerised term takes on the meaning of the original “offensive” term, see the American use of “ass”. The other day I was watching a video that used a 1kHz bleep in place of a word (but not to cover a swear) and I just heard a swear. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people have used bleeps to cover up the fact they aren’t creative enough with swearing to achieve their intended meaning too.

        1. Eh, it’s funny if done well enough. Integrate it into the lore (“oh that’s just future slang swearing” or “well of course sentient robots use machine parts as expletives”), or give an in-universe example for the cover-up (“Alfheim Online’s profanity filter doesn’t bleep you, it alters what you intend to say into something Rated E for Everyone”).

          Although my personal favorite is the route [RTGame] uses to censor the swears in his stream edit videos: using *the name of the service itself* as an “uncensorable swear word”. The tonal shift of a very angry Irishman cutting to a perfectly flat cadencely said “YouTube.” is surprisingly hilarious in a way that the actual covered-up expletives wouldn’t be.

  2. I’m against swearing in media (You should be smart enough to think of a better choice of words!) but the classic beep is annoying as attempting trepanning with ping-pong balls.

  3. I was hoping this was an algorithm to guess the most probable banned word, and put it back in, pronounced with the same accent, tone of voice and other speech qualities so as to appropriately match with the rest of the words spoken either side of it. Although when it comes to meaningfully opposing censorship (which is always a sin) I’d think defeating governmental attempts to have social media do their dirty work for them, and defeating ISP level blocking of whole websites, would be higher priorities. I’m a lot angrier about whole articles and viewpoints being silenced than the replacement of some relatively unimportant, though usually mildly amusing, four letter words with nasty noises.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.