Some Thoughts on Sign Videos

By BitcoDavid

Stephen Torrence made Sign Language versions of popular rock videos, and he’s not alone. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last, but he’s the first to shut down his channel, and halt all future production. He has also taken down his revenue channel.

Torrence is Hearing, but has an interest in ASL, as well as acting and dance. He combined those talents – and with others, both Deaf and Hearing – helped to launch a burgeoning new artform. Sign Language Music Video. He states that an outcry from the Deaf Community, citing the damage these videos do to Deaf culture, as his reason for stopping the work.

I strongly disagree with Torrence on this, and with those members of the Deaf community who pushed him into that decision. Here’s why. Many of us who are struggling to learn Sign, can use these videos as a tool to aid in our mastery. We already know the songs, so there’s no distraction with subtitles or listening to an audio interpreter. That allows us to concentrate solely on the Signing, and to follow the translation directly.

Furthermore, many Deaf can hear music – at least to some degree – and this allows them to benefit from the songs, creating a further inclusion into mainstream culture.

What’s more, these translations tend to be more Signed Exact English, rather than strict ASL. That’s because songs aren’t written in ASL grammar, and because music lyrics tend to be metaphorical. Katy Perry wrote a song called, “Firework,” about bullying. The gist of the song is that victims of bullying need to look inside themselves for their own self-esteem, and shouldn’t let others dictate their self worth. But the lyrics never actually say any of that. The song is metaphorical, with the title line – you’re a firework – representing the inner beauty and power of the bullied individual. Watching ASL interpretations of this song, helps us to learn ASL idioms and advanced communication methods that we might not get from other ASL learning sources.

ASL is a language, and as such is no longer owned by the Deaf community. French people don’t get angry when others learn French. And French authors certainly don’t get angry when their books are translated into English, or any other language.

English: ASL sign I-LOVE-YOU (wikt:en:ILY@Side...

ASL sign I-LOVE-YOU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nations conquer other nations. People intermarry and conduct trade. Language – all language – is living, communal, subject to constant growth and change, and never owned by its originators.

I’m a music lover, a video professional and an ASL enthusiast. As such, I couldn’t be happier about the emergence and popularity of this exiting new artform. Long live ASL music videos. And Mr. Torrence – please reconsider.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Cop Block Video on Kelly Thomas Case

By BitcoDavid

This is the most in depth telling of this tragic story, I have ever seen. As always, I put forth the invitation to anyone in Law Enforcement, who can present a cogent rebuttal to this film.

Don’t forget to send a birthday card to Felix. Suppose you had served 33 years of a life sentence, for a crime you didn’t commit. Imagine on top of that, that you had been discriminated against and isolated because you were Deaf. While in prison you had been raped, beaten and abused. When you went to the infirmary for help, the advice you were given was that you should kill yourself. Imagine all that, and then ask yourself – wouldn’t you like to see birthday cards from your supporters? The address to send cards can be found here.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

The Pay Off

By BitcoDavid

All the Online study, all the DVDs and all the meetups have culminated in this. DeafInPrison.com’s first ever ASL video jokes. Please enjoy these immensely funny jokes, presented in full video splendor.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Open Letter to Florida Clemency Board

By Joanne Greenberg

Dear Clemency Board,

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss. From Mother Jones Magazine.

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.
From Mother Jones Magazine.

I have been interested in the Felix Garcia case, for the last few years, and I have seen all of the material from that case, including the 2 hours of video interview on DeafInPrison.com. I know that he has exhausted his legal opportunities, but because there is a strong probability that Felix is not guilty of the crime for which he is charged, I am afraid that when he comes up for parole, he will not state that he is remorseful. And this will deny him parole.

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.  Image credit Pat Bliss

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.
Image credit Pat Bliss

However, nothing stands in the way of Felix’s being freed as an act of clemency. He’s already served a monumental sentence, but he has been able to create a life for himself, that will be useful and positive – on the outside. He will be able to do good things for himself and for the community in general; and especially for the Deaf community, which needs what Felix has to offer.

If we have any faith in rehabilitation, we certainly see rehabilitation in Felix’s case.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

Event: HEARD launches #DeafInPrison Campaign

#DeafInPrison Campaign

HEARD created the #DeafInPrison Campaign to raise awareness about abuse of, and discrimination against, deaf prisoners across the nation. The Campaign, which officially launches on June 27th, aims to start a national conversation about these concerns, and to compel corrective and preventive action.

We are asking that you watch the film “Deaf In Prison,” then share your reactions, your stories, or any information you have, on social media, using the Hashtag, “#DeafInPrison.” The link for “Deaf In Prison” (the video) will be available for 48 hours beginning at 12:00am (EST) on Friday, June 27. Viewings will be hosted in numerous locations across the nation & we encourage organizations and individuals to host viewings if possible.

Many thanks to our dear friends at Facundo Element for their support with this Campaign and for their continued support of HEARD initiatives. Please visit our Campaign Event Page for more information and to find a viewing near you.

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hea...

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hearing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: HEARD’s campaign hashtag is #DeafInPrison, whereas our Web site’s name and principle identifier is DeafInPrison.com. We are affiliated with this campaign, in that we are allies of, and co-supporters of, HEARD.  We are separate entities, but some of our authors and contributors are HEARD members.

We have screened this film, and published a review. I would strongly suggest you join this campaign, watch the film – it is excellent – and follow through with the Hashtag posting.

If possible, we will be embedding the clip here, on DeafInPrison.com, as a convenience to our readers, and to help HEARD in the cause. If however, we can’t embed it for copyright reasons, I will republish this post or another post, reminding people, later on in June.

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“Felix Garcia” Music Video

By BitcoDavid

VLC wmv

VLC wmv (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been working my – two baseballs in a sock – skinny, White butt off, on this video. As promised to you, back in January, we took Heather Hardy’s song and created this video.

I even had to drive all the way to East Overshoe, Maine - one of those, ya can’t get theyah from heah places, for some of the footage.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of my efforts, and those of Ms. Hardy, without whom, none of this would have been possible. And moreover, I hope this helps reignite your passions in the case of Felix Garcia, an innocent Deaf man, who’s wrongfully served 32 years, thus far, of a life sentence.

Some tech details:

6 video tracks, 4 overlay tracks, 11 stereo audio tracks. Edited on Serif MoviePlus X-6, and Audacity. Mixed in 1080p / 196KB / 16bit / 44.1Khz, mastered in 720p and presented here for Internet delivery at 512p / 64Kb, .wmv file format.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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#KeepASLInSchools Video Finally Done!

By BitcoDavid

It was like the 7 labors of Hercules!

All kidding aside, it was a great project and I am proud and happy to have been a part of it. So, without further ado…

As I am working more and more with Sign now, I’m learning some of the significant differences between ASL and English. In video, the most significant difference is speed. I have learned that even Native Signers cannot communicate at the same speed as oral speakers. Most videos have a video track and an audio track. In some cases you will also have a narration track and perhaps a musical soundtrack. In the case of this particular video, we had a video track, a narration track, a musical soundtrack and a captioned overlay track.

Chipmunk

Chipmunk (Photo credit: ogwen)

now you can generally speed-up or slow-down the video tracks, but the audio tracks have to maintain the speed they were recorded in, or they will change pitch. Radically, in fact. Preteen girls sound like grizzled old men, and grizzled old men sound like Alvin’s Chipmunks. (In fact, that’s the secret behind those chipmunk voices.) Oh, and don’t think you can rely on things like Pitch Shifters or Autotune to fix these problems, either. They won’t work.

English: David R Ferguson Audio Engineer

David R Ferguson Audio Engineer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, the point is, when putting together a video, you start with the audio tracks and build around them, not the other way round. Great, but the audio tracks in this case are naturally 1 and 1/2 to 2 times the speed of the signed video tracks. Soooo, it was a lot of fun at the ol’ BitcoDavid audiovisual research lab.

Anyway, it’s all done and I sincerely hope you like it – and perhaps learn a little something from it.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Monica Hood of DeafInsight and all those who contributed to the project.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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