Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Comes To Descriptive Video Works

We’re getting into the festive spirit here at Descriptive Video Works with two very special Christmas assignments which we will be providing audio description for.

CBC‘s Holiday Festival On Ice is an annual special that promises a spectacular show for all the family as world class figure skaters perform against a holiday-themed backdrop. The star-studded cast includes skating greats Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Jeffrey Buttle, Joannie Rochette and Kimmie Meissner. Special guest and international opera sensation, Measha Brueggergosman, will be performing hits from her new album “I’ve Got A Crush On You”. Viewers will remember Measha for her incredible performance of the Olympic Hymn at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.


CBC Holiday Festival On Ice airs across Canada at 8pm on December 12th and again on December 26th at 9pm.

Our second festive assignment continues our work in making classic movies like Zulu and The Gold Rush accessible to sight impaired viewers. This week we completed work on providing descriptive video for one of the most endearing Christmas movies ever made, White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney (whose ever so slightly famous nephew named George you may have heard of!).


White Christmas follows two Word War II army friends (Crosby and Kaye) who make it big as entertainers and who fall in love with sisters and fellow entertainers Betty and Judy (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen). Featuring classic Irvin Berlin songs “White Christmas” and “Sisters”, White Christmas has the distinction of being the very first movie to be filmed using the VistaVision process. Hugely popular with audiences, the film was the highest grossing movie in 1954.

Head Writer at Descriptive Video Works, Miranda Mackelworth says, “Describing White Christmas knowing we were making this well-loved classic accessible to an entirely new audience who could now not only enjoy description of the scenes but also have the sets, colorful costumes and performances brought to life alongside the timeless music, was an absolute pleasure”.

White Christmas will be airing over the holidays on Channel Zero in Canada.


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Descriptive Video Works Brings a Silent Classic To Life


This month marks another historic first for Descriptive Video Works as we were tasked with providing audio description for the classic Charlie Chaplin film The Gold Rush. The challenge? Describing a film that had zero dialogue and sound effects, the only audio being the music track!

Released in 1925, The Gold Rush tells the tale of Chaplin’s most iconic character, The Tramp, as he travels to the Yukon in search of gold. The victim of bad weather, The Tramp ends up stranded in a small log cabin with a burly prospector named Big Jim and escaped convict Black Larsen. Eventually, The Tramp finds himself in a gold rush town and gets a job taking care of another prospector’s cabin where he falls for a lonely saloon girl whom he mistakenly thinks is also in love with him.

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Written, produced, directed and starring Chaplin, The Gold Rush was hugely successful around the world and is the fifth highest grossing silent movie of all time. At the time of its release and in interviews over the years, Chaplin said that of all his films, The Gold Rush was the one he most wanted to be remembered for.

We are proud of the work we do on every project that comes to us at Descriptive Video Works. We strive for excellence no matter what show we are working on, but when a much-loved classic such as The Gold Rush comes in the door we all feel the pressure to raise the bar even further.

Charlie Chaplin in the Shoe-Eating Scene from .

The task of writing the audio description script for The Gold Rush became the responsibility of Describer, Shaindle Minuk who said, “It’s not too different from describing any other type of movie… Just a lot more of it! You have to describe literally everything that happens, with no dialogue or even sound effects to help out”. Other than the sheer volume of described video needing to be written Shaindle said that in terms of The Gold Rush “The biggest challenge going in was the fact that Charlie Chaplin is a film legend and getting across his humor and charm in written description was pretty intimidating for me. He had such great body language and was the forerunner for so many visual gags that have become commonplace in film, that describing it was really fun but also kind of difficult. Chaplin’s appeal is entirely visual and I was delighted to be able to allow the sight impaired viewer to enjoy his charm and appeal in my description.”

Here’s a short sample of Shaindle’s work on The Gold Rush:

Though it’s a lot more work than the usual movie, it brings us great pride to be able to make classics like The Gold Rush accessible to the blind and vision impaired.

An accomplished artist and writer, Shaindle and her husband, Dave, write and produce their own original comics which can be found here.

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