Monthly Archives: January 2012

Take A Ride In The “Cash Cab”!

We’re extremely familiar with the bright, multi-colored flashing ceiling lights of the infamous Cash Cab since Descriptive Video Works has provided audio description for many, many episodes of the hit Discovery Channel Canada TV series.

The show is based on a format devised by Adam Wood in the U.K. and has since been franchised all over the world with versions of the show being produced in 31 different countries. The Canadian version, however, is the first one to be shot in High Definition. The show uses 8 different cameras placed in and around the Toyota Sienna cab used for the series.

Hosted by comedian Adam Growe, Cash Cab is a unique mobile game show where contestants think they are climbing into an ordinary cab only to be greeted by multi-colored lights and blasting sound effects. Adam then challenges them to play the game and win cash by answering numerous trivia questions on the way to their destination. Contestants are given three “lives” and if they get three questions wrong, the cab pulls over and their journey is over… Regardless of how far away they are from their destination!

Along the way there are “Red Light Challenges” worth extra cash and contestants can use a “Mobile Shout-Out” to call a friend or a “Street Shout-Out” where Adam pulls over the cab and contestants can ask passersby for help on their question. If the contestants make it to their destination with lives to spare, Adam offers them a double or nothing chance to answer a “Video Bonus” question.

The Canadian iteration of Cash Cab is produced by Castlewood Productions and first aired way back in September of 2008. Host, Adam Growe, spent the first four seasons of the show driving the busy downtown streets of Toronto looking for contestants but for the  fifth season, he is in Vancouver, B.C. Given the number of bridges that connect the downtown core to the surrounding city, the show has added a new twist – the “Bridge Bonus” but you’ll have to watch the show or track down the Cash Cab in person to find out what that entails!

So far none of us at Descriptive Video Works have had the luck in tracking down the Cash Cab in our home city so we’ll just have to be content describing the show and making it accessible to our vision impaired audience.

The brand new season of Cash Cab just began airing on Discovery Channel Canada on Saturdays at 7pm ET/4pm PT.

You can join the Cash Cab on Facebook here and catch up on all the Discovery Channel Canada goings-on by following them on Twitter

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

The American Optometric Association reports that Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and this month is Glaucoma Awareness Month. It is estimated that 2.2 million Americans have Glaucoma but only half of these are aware they are suffering from it.

The Sneak Thief of sight

Half of all patients suffering from Glaucoma are unaware the disease is even present due to central vision being unaffected until the latter stages of the disease. Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve is permanently damaged and is often associated with increased pressure of the aqueous humor (the fluid in the eye). The disease can be divided into two main categories, “open angle” and “closed angle”. Open angle tends to progress at a much slower rate making timely diagnosis and treatment much harder. Closed Angle on the other hand, can appear suddenly and painfully with vision loss progressing rapidly. However, the sudden presenting of discomfort often means patients quickly seek medical attention before the disease has progressed significantly.

There are many causes of Glaucoma (some of which are still under debate) but these include Diet, Ethnicity, Genetics and other factors such as prolonged use of steroids and conditions that severely restrict blood flow to the eye such as diabetic retinopathy.

There is currently no cure for Glaucoma but early diagnosis, medications and in some cases, surgery, can aid in slowing the progression of the disease. In an ideal world, described video services for the vision impaired such as those we provide at Descriptive Video Works would be not be needed. Sadly this is not the case and it underlines the importance of education and regular eye exams especially for those over the age of 45.

For more information on Glaucoma, its causes, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment visit this in-depth page.

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Welcome to 2012!

The year that was 2011 was a major year for Descriptive Video Works.

It was a year of expansion and growth, of celebration and transformation. We added new members to our talented team and opened up offices in the United States. Our President and CEO, Diane Johnson, had to make some extra room on her mantel for several awards and we took our first steps into the fast-moving and ever changing landscape of social media with a brand new website and the establishing of a presence on Facebook, Twitter and here on WordPress.

As with all first steps into new and exciting territory, there are always a few stumbles along the way but with those stumbles come valuable lessons learned and opportunities to grow. This is exactly why Descriptive Video Works continues to be at the forefront of accessible media and descriptive video services because “good enough” is simply never good enough.

We are very proud of the work we do but won’t be resting on our laurels in 2012! With the new FCC regulations and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act coming into effect in July, millions of vision impaired viewers will be treated to many more hours of described content. We see it as our responsibility to continue to push for the highest standards of description possible so that despite the increase in content it is still a case of quality rather than quantity. Afterall, as Diane so eloquently said in her Ernst And Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award acceptance speech, “It’s more important to make a difference than to make a profit“.

We hope you’ll continue to visit us here and follow our exploits on Twitter and Facebook etc. We have no doubt that 2012 is going to be a fantastic year! Please let us take this opportunity to thank you for your support and to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy new year.

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