Friday, 28 June 2019

How to film sign language

How to Film Sign Language from Ed Video Media Arts Centre on Vimeo.

Sign coverage and presentation will always offer up a visual distraction and compete for our attention.  The reality is apart from a minority of deaf people, subtitling and captions are more than adequate.  When 'demands' for access go in, they almost entirely state it is as a 'preference' and not as a need anyway.  

The old days of everyone assuming the deaf are illiterate and cannot read  (Or even prefer not to!), are long gone, and ATR deplores deaf areas that are still saying this and fudging the issues with competing grammar claims.  Our levels of literacy can be the envy of many disability and hearing areas.  We need to stop dumbing ourselves down in some misguided drive to support sign and culture.  'We can sign too..' is a bonus, not a be-all, and end-all for most.

The issue is about where to place/size the sign more than anything, and anywhere on screen where it is a real distraction to what is being covered needs to be addressed, ideally,  a system of being able to remove sign from the screeen is the best option for the majority of hearing people, we have that option via text, (The UK is the 888 button), it is why subtitling is so successful and acceptable, and in most part removed the need for sign access,statistically demand is virtually nil in the UK for it if we peruse media viewing figures for areas already signed. We need a '888' for sign too.  

We don't see a need to place an Interpreter on the same level or stage as the person speaking either.  It may be great to plug sign language but annoying in most part as this presents a conflict of viewing.  Surely the technology already exists for an '888' sign option? From across the pond, we at ATR tend to view the USA approach as both overkill and theatrical mostly, the upward scrolling of text is a distraction too. We suspect this is the strong USA deaf lobby being able to use their ADA a lot more effectively than the UK deaf can use their FOUR versions of it.

A lot of news output is a mess of scrolling and text placing entirely unnecessary and distracting.  Less, is more.  Adding sign on screen to those can make viewing content impossible to follow. Addressing the presentation needs some work too, it is about translation not making 'celebs' out of the more extrovert Interpreters, who are another huge distraction we don't need.  Deaf ignoring the hearing need is fraught with issues, they need to compromise and text is acceptable to all.

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