Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Price of Novelty

We love what we do at Descriptive Video Works but, as crazy as it sounds, we would love it more if services like those we provide weren’t needed and we all lived in a world that was free of vision impairment.

As Halloween approaches many of you are no doubt putting the final touches to your Halloween costumes. Some people spend many months conceptualizing their scary look, scouring novelty and thrift stores for unique accessories and even building their costumes from scratch. In your quest to out-do previous years’ Halloween endeavors, perhaps you’ve even considered novelty contact lenses to fully complete your perfect spine-tingling look…

A quick Google search instantly brings up many, many sites offering mail order contact lenses – some of these sites are dedicated just to novelty lenses while others are more widely known companies that deal more in prescription lenses than party favors.

There are a staggering number of novelty lenses available with names inspired by movies (“Palpatine”, “Hellraiser”, “Avatar” and “Orc”) as well as other trends (“Rave Blue”, “Smiley”, “Spiderweb” and “Lycan”). With prices ranging from $45 to $100 they make for a relatively cheap addition and they are rapidly becoming the hottest new item on the market.

But before you jam these lenses into your eyeballs, you might want to read this article from EyeSmart. Many of these novelty contact lenses are not FDA approved, are being sold illegally and can cause permanent eye damage. Even more worrying, a growing number of teens, especially teenaged girls, are treating the lenses as though they were year-round fashion accessories.

As much fun as it is changing your look dramatically, even if it is just for a few hours of good old fashioned Trick ‘r Treat craziness, please play safe. Some scares just aren’t worth it.


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NASA Study Finds New Risk To Astronauts

At Descriptive Video Works we’re always on the look out for interesting stories. With interesting stories come interesting questions. This week’s question is, “Will humans ever make it to Mars?”

There is a long list of obstacles that must be conquered to answer that question. First there is the distance and length of time required to get there. Then there is the considerable hostility of the Martian landscape (an average temperature of around -55 C…!) and the challenges and stresses that landscape puts on both equipment and astronaut.

Oh, and there’s also the issue of the Billions of dollars in investment to make any of this happen. In these times of economic hardship and uncertainty that’s perhaps the greatest challenge.

Now, NASA has discovered a potentially new problem to add to the list.

Sigourney Weaver tries not to scream in "Alien"

In Space nobody can hear you scream” – Based on the results of a recent NASA study, a number of space travelers won’t be able to SEE you scream either…

The study found that up to 30% of the International Space Station crew returned to Earth with impaired vision and in one case, the condition was permanent. The data has been slow to come because astronauts can often be hesitant to disclose any post-flight ailments. Should an astronaut not have a clean bill of health he or she can be disqualified from flying. In 2005 an unnamed astronaut came forward and revealed his affliction which prompted the NASA report.

Significant changes in visual refraction have been documented by members of the International Space Station. NASA Doctors say it is too early to tell what actually causes the condition. The relatively few cases makes diagnosis and treatment difficult, however, doctors believe that the redistribution of cerebral spinal fluid caused by prolonged exposure to a weightlessness environment might be to blame for the condition.

Space Station crews typically spend 6 months in space. A mission to Mars could be as long as three years so the study raises some serious concerns regarding potential vision loss on a longterm mission.

It would certainly be a shame if after going all that way, Martians appeared and nobody could see them!

“Wait a minute… Is that what I think it is?!”

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Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

And the award goes to… Diane Johnson of Descriptive Video Works!

Last week our President and CEO, Diane Johnson was presented with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Special Citation – Social category at a gala event in Vancouver, Canada. The category recognizes achievements that have driven larger-scale social change and improved people’s quality of life.

Here’s what Diane had to say about the evening:

“I was truly honored to be part of such an event. As one of the speakers said, the majority of successful entrepreneurs have these traits:

– Optimistic

– Risk takers

– Passion for what they do

– Willingness to work hard, long hours

– Perseverance to keep trying

– Choose great people to work with

– Knowledge that they don’t know it all but are resourceful enough in finding the right people for their organizations

“Someone I once worked with told me after we’d been in business for about 8 months that this business (Described Video) couldn’t possibly make a profit. She presented me with a graph of the numbers, explaining quite clearly as she quoted numbers that our company could never survive or be profitable. I looked at the piece of paper in front of me with all the numbers and thought, ‘Why does the paper tell me something different from what my heart tells me?’ Thank goodness I went with my heart, not a chart.

I’ve always known in my heart that if you have a passion for what you are doing and are doing it for the right reasons, you have wonderful people working with you, you have vision and you BELIEVE you can do it then you will be successful. We all need a vision and we need to feel what we are doing makes a difference. At Descriptive Video Works, what we do everyday makes a difference to someone that is blind or vision impaired.

I can compare my background in broadcasting with Descriptive Video Works. When I was in Radio at LG73 my boss and mentor told me he wanted me to go into Programming. I said, ‘But I don’t know anything about Music.’ He said, ‘That’s what you have a Music Director for’. When I went into Television, I thought ‘I don’t know anything about Television’ and a co-worker said ‘Did you know anything about Radio when you started there?’ When I heard about Described Video I thought ‘I don’t know anything about this and I certainly don’t know anything about the technical aspects’. We have an amazing Technical Operations Director, Brent Craven, and he makes sure it is all moving along smoothly in the world of technology…

So often, to be a successful entrepreneur, we really just need to have faith and believe. It’s always nice to make a profit but in the long run it’s more important to make a difference.”

Congratulations Diane from all of the team at Descriptive Video Works.

Watch the video of Diane receiving her award HERE

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Sanctuary Season 4

Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and team are back for a fourth season of the hit Sci-Fi series Sanctuary and once again, Descriptive Video Works will be along for the ride making the show accessible to the vision impaired.

Created by Damian Kindler, Sanctuary began its life as an innovative eight-part webseries in early 2007. Following the success of the webseries, the show was picked up by SyFy and expanded into a more traditional 1-hr 13 episode TV series.

The show follows the exploits of a 160 year-old scientist, Dr. Helen Magnus and her bizarre team who run the Sanctuary, a cryptic organization that seeks out extraordinary creatures and people (known as Abnormals) who they attempt to help and understand. Some of these Abnormals are more dangerous than others and Season 4 picks up from the climactic events of the previous Season as Helen pursues the evil Adam Worth (Ian Tracy) into the past to protect disaster in the future.

Sanctuary has been nominated for multiple awards by including Best Science Fiction TV Series (Constellation Awards), Outstanding Special Visual Effects (Emmys) and Best Performance and Best Direction (Geminis). The show is produced by Stage 3 Media based in Vancouver, B.C.

Season 4 premieres on SyFy on Friday October 7th at 10/9c.

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