Now before you exclaim, “What?! Yet another Titanic story?!” this particular story is very different than those seen previously involving an iceberg and the sinking of what is arguably the most famous ship in the world.
Titanic: Blood & Steel tells a story most will not know very much about – namely the events surrounding the construction of the ship. Though there are a number of fictional characters included for the sake of great television drama, the show is still a history buffs dream. It features such historical figures as JP Morgan (played by Sex and the City hunk, Chris Noth), Joseph Bruce Ismay (Gray O’Brien), the former Chairman of White Star Lines, survivor of the the Titanic sinking and once named “the most cowardly man alive” and William James Pirrie (Derek Jacobi), a Canadian who became one of the most highly regarded shipbuilders of the time.
We take great pride in the work we do providing audio descriptions for television and movies and a show such as Titanic: Blood & Steel provides us with a terrific platform to showcase the quality of our work. We are among the top companies that deliver descriptive video services and our level of excellence comes from over a decade of experience in the industry, a close working relationship with our vision impaired audience and our attention to detail in the descriptive writing, narration recording and final audio mix.
In the case of Titanic: Blood & Steel there are a number of descriptive challenges. Firstly, the show has a large cast of characters, all of whom must be correctly identified in order to assist our vision impaired viewers in following the story. Secondly, there are many period details that are an intrinsic element of the world of the story from settings (various shipyards, poverty-stricken streets as well as grand, elegant mansions), costumes and props. In order to describe these details our writers go to great lengths to ensure accuracy. For example, in one scene from the show two characters take a walk in a park passing by an ornate structure and from a Google image search our writers were able to identify it specifically as the Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens.
Finally, a central element of the show is the construction of the Titanic herself. In order to describe these details we try to avoid generic terms and instead use the correct nautical terms. An audio description that describes specific elements (such as the keel, the bulkhead, the starboard-side hull, etc.) complements the efforts made by the show’s filmmakers and, more importantly, adds to the richness of the experience for our vision impaired audience.
This is what the actual construction site looked like.
And this is how the Titanic: Blood & Steel crew were able to recreate it with amazing set design and special effects from Windmill Lane VFX. Lots of details to be described!
With a wonderful cast led by Kevin Zegers, the aforementioned Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell, Ophelia Lovibond as well as Italian stars Alessandra Mastronardi and Massimo Ghini, Titanic: Blood & Steel offers something for everyone. Set in Belfast in 1909 there was a lot happening at this point in history: The beginnings of workers fighting for their rights and the establishment of Trade Unions, the rise of of The Women’s Suffrage movement, the beginnings of the Irish Republican Army. All of this in addition to Class struggles and religious intolerance between the predominantly poor, Catholic, work force and their wealthy, Protestant masters. For the romantics among you the show even has several cross-class love stories, something we all come to expect from such epically sumptuous, big-budget period TV series.
All of us at Descriptive Video Works are grateful to the filmmakers and to CBC for providing us with such wonderful material to make accessible to the vision impaired.
Catch the big premiere on CBC at 9pm on Wednesday, September 19th.