We’re thrilled to have Steffani Cameron, caption timer here at Line 21, take over our newsletter and blog for the second time this year. In May, she shared part one of a two-part series. Here’s part two! Welcome, Steffani!
I’ve worn hearing aids all my life so it’s apt that I’ve spent much of the last 14 years working as a captioner at Line 21. Today, I’m passionate about doing it well. When Line 21 asked me to tell you about how hearing-impaired folks like me perceive captioning, I was thrilled. In the conclusion of my two-part blog post, I’ll be sharing with you a few of my thoughts on phrasing and positioning.
Good captioning also understands phrasing and how that matters. With a maximum of 32 characters a line, captioning is kind of the hipster’s answer to Twitter. You think 140 characters is too little space to say anything of substance? Try 64 characters for the industry standard 2-line caption.
When those short captions are flying past, how the lines are split and where they leave off really impacts how easy it is to balance watching the show with reading the dialogue. We viewers appreciate when captions aren’t split in the middle of a phrase. When every two-line caption makes sense in and of itself, it means we don’t miss a beat, instead of our subconscious failing to marry together two halves of a phrase when one’s not on-screen anymore.
With an average of 500-700 captions per 22 minutes, the less work we have to do, the easier we can enjoy your show.
Positioned captions can help a lot when it’s a drama, but if done poorly, they make things even harder to follow. When the caption is on top of the person speaking, it makes logical and visual sense. When it’s in a completely different place and this happens repeatedly, it’s another reason to turn the captioning off, or worse, switch to a show with good captioning.
For those of us with acute hearing loss, poor captioning is a great reason not to watch a show. If I can only follow 50% or less of what I’m watching because I can’t hear dialogue or it’s unclear to me, or it’s poorly synced, I’ll turn to something else, even if I’m watching network shows streamed on the web.
For us, captioning isn’t something you’re doing to meet a broadcast requirement. For us, you’re making it possible to truly enjoy what you’re creating, and we notice when you care enough to have great captioning by people who understand how we need to read it.
As we saunter into the warm and relaxed days of summer, we look forward to another round of impressive local film festivals. What’s better than heading into a cool, dark theatre after a day at the beach or hiking in the mountains? Grab some popcorn – you’ll want to check out this great line-up.
July 18-25 New Asia Film Festival Centred on contemporary and progressive themes related to Asian cultures, the festival is committed to showcasing cutting-edge films and media art works from around the world.
August 14-24 Vancouver Queer Film Festival Now in its 26th year, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival will feature over 70 films from 20 countries in 2014. The offerings range from Hollywood to Bollywood, from drama to documentary, and from indie cinema to big-budget.
September Vancouver Singapore Film Festival Through the creative work of Singaporean filmmakers and their films, VSFF aims to introduce Vancouver to Singapore’s multicultural communities while providing insight into Singapore’s heritage, modernization and multiculturalism.
September “Picture This…” Film Festival One great big evening of award-winning short films from around the world that have been produced, written and/or directed by persons with disabilities.
Project Profile: Documentaries
Who doesn’t love a great documentary? Canada is up at the top of the list with producing some of the very best in the world.
In Canada filmmakers are lucky enough to have the NFB, DOC BC, DOXA, Telefilm Canada and a host of other organizations that support film making initiatives. They’ve given filmmakers the chance to write, produce, direct, and show their diverse stories that have been recognized around the world.
A good documentary can provoke you to take action, show you something you’ve never seen before, or make you change your mind about something you thought you knew everything about.
It was 1967 when Alan King’s Warrendale opened the world’s eyes to the story of 12 emotionally disturbed children at the Warrendale institute of Toronto when it played and won awards at Cannes Film Festival. Canada also shone when it received the very first Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1942 for the film Churchill’s Island, which used archival news footage to show us Germany’s air war against Great Britain.
At Line 21 we feel like we’ve had the opportunity to see the world through these incredible films. We’ve tracked polar bears for 3 years, climbed Mt. Everest, witnessed a young girl’s struggle with cystic fibrosis, learned about the life of Andy Warhol, and unraveled the financial crisis of 2008—all through the lens of amazing documentary filmmakers.They’ve shown us more with pictures than we could learn in a lifetime of packing our suitcase. This month, we give a special thanks to them for making our jobs so darn exciting.
7 Stand-Out Documentaries Line 21 Has Worked On
Chi, for the NFB, an amazing story of friendship and final journeys. Bone, Wind, Fire, also for the NFB, a beautiful film about art and artists. 65 Red Roses, an unforgettable film about health, survival, and legacy. Emergency Room for Knowledge Network, an intimate and unflinching look inside the emergency ward at VGH. Coast Modern, a portrait of West Coast modernist architects and their lasting mark. Many Rivers Home, about aging, assisted living, and the end of life in a South Asian community. Oil Sands Karaoke explores coping with life in the tar sands through karaoke.
Thanks to John Maxwell (Kelly’s hubby) for providing this month’s DIY kitchen experiment!
Did you know you can make your own cream cheese? It’s natural, cheaper than buying it at the grocery store, and as easy as falling off a log.
Start with yogurt. A 650g tub should do and will leave you with about 250g of cream cheese.
Grab a cheesecloth. Don’t have a cheesecloth? A plain white pillowcase works in a pinch. You’ll also need a big pot. Empty the yogurt into the pillowcase (er, cheesecloth), squeeze it all down to one end, twist the case so that it’s nice and tight against the yogurt inside. It’s already dripping whey; this is where the pot comes in handy: wrap the cloth around the handle of a big wooden spoon and suspend the whole thing over the pot.
Leave it overnight. In the morning, you’ll find 200g or so of whey in the pot. (I usually throw out the whey, but it can come in handy. Do a Google search for what you might wish to do with it.) Open up the pillowcase, sprinkle a scant teaspoon of salt over the cheese, and fold it in with a knife. Then re-pack the pillowcase, squeeze it again, and let it hang for another few hours.
That’s it. Cream cheese! Scoop it out into a bowl or tub, and enjoy. At this point it gets interesting if you add things to it, too: basil leaves, other herbs, peppercorns. Just add and mix. Your bagels will never be the same.
We’re thrilled to have Steffani Cameron, caption timer here at Line 21, take over our newsletter and blog this month and then again in July. Welcome Steffani!
If you don’t need captioning, you probably don’t “see it” in the same way as someone who relies on it for full enjoyment of the show.
I’ve worn hearing aids all my life so it’s apt that I’ve spent much of the last 14 years working as a captioner at Line 21. Today, I’m passionate about doing it well. When Line 21 asked me to tell you about how hearing-impaired folks like me perceive captioning, I was thrilled. In a two-part blog post, I’ll be sharing with you a few of my thoughts on word accuracy, timing accuracy, phrasing, and positioning. Today, we’re focusing on word and timing accuracy.
It helps to understand that hearing loss is different for all affected by it. Since the loss occurs in fluctuating levels throughout different frequencies, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution… until you get to captioning.
In theory. Even captioning, which is supposed to level the viewing playing ground, varies widely from company to company in timing, style, and accuracy.
Every captioning house sets different reading rates, with some as low as 200 words a minute. As a viewer who can’t hear well and can’t fill in the gaps, this is a problem.
Why is a lower reading rate troubling? Consider dialogue in a fast-paced murder mystery like Sherlock, or an information-heavy documentary. Every word is critical! I can rewind and replay captions if a bit goes by too quickly, but I can’t fill in words I can’t hear, so word accuracy is huge for us. We’d rather read fast and struggle to keep up than to have truncated dialogue and risk missing a major part of the plot.
To this end, another critical factor is timing accuracy. Any comedy fan knows there’s no room for error with timing and punchlines. Same with plot points. Timing matters. Good captions take that into consideration, splitting the lines in exactly the right way, at the right time, so we get the “funny” when and where it should be — and “where it should be” is a fraction of second from when it’s said.
When the captions are anything more than one second out-of-sync, it’s amazing how much it can spoil a show. Two or three seconds? The whole experience is blown.
These are important aspects to consider as both a captioner and as a production company in need of captioning services: it’s imperative to know your audience – the hearing impaired – not just fulfill some accessibility requirement. It will be the difference between alienating a potential fan base or including us in your captive viewing audience.
I’ll be back soon to delve into the importance of phrasing and positioning. Till then, thanks for reading!
The red carpet! Champagne! Fancy dress! The Awards go all out. And with so much to celebrate, this year they’ve added a third night to the festivities. The Leos will be held May 30, 31, and June 1, with an unprecedented 102 awards up for grabs in a field of 1,052 entries.
Also new this year is the People’s Choice Award. It’s up to you to vote for the shows and films you think deserve this inaugural prize. So vote for your favourites right here.
We are thrilled to be an associate sponsor of the Leo Awards and are looking forward to celebrating this great industry, applauding the winners and nominees, rubbing elbows with the stars, and catching up with our clients. We’ll see you there!
Thanks again to Steffani for being our guest on the blog this month – check out the recipe she shares below.
You won’t believe the secret ingredient in these cookies! Photo by Steffani Cameron
I love cookies, but cookies don’t love me. Sugar, gluten, you name it – classic cookie ingredients have always disagreed with me.
That is, until I tried chocolate chip cookies made with chickpeas. Surprisingly, they were good! But the recipes I’ve tried have been wildly different, and many add far too much peanut butter and sugar, negating the reason behind switching to chickpeas, I thought.
I experimented to reduce fat and eliminate sugar. I’m super-proud of this result and you’ll be shocked at how much they taste like the real deal.
These taste yummy, sweet, and gloriously cookie-like, so you might forget just how healthy (and packed with fibre) they are. They’re a perfect on-the-go snack.
Ingredients ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup natural honey
2 x 19 oz cans of chickpeas (rinsed and drained well)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.25 cup natural peanut butter, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
Add the applesauce, the chickpeas, half the peanut butter, and all the honey to the food processor. Blend it until everything’s getting happy. Add the rest of the peanut butter and blend until it’s as smooth as you can get it — like buttah, baby.
This is important. With the chickpeas pureed, do not add the chocolate chips! The beans will be too hot from pureeing, and it will melt the chocolate. Instead, cover the chickpea mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour or even till the next day, no big deal.
When it’s cool, add the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and mix well. Now add the chocolate chips. Mix well again.
Form into tablespoon-sized balls, roll, and press down. Bake on parchment-lined sheets at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on size. (Don’t overcook them; look for a bit of colour and take them out. Remember, they’d be safe to eat raw, as there’s no egg!)
I love hot-out-of-the-oven normal cookies, but the perfect temperature for these fellas is about 10 minutes after they come out. They’ll stay chewy afterwards too. Don’t forget your glass of milk! Remember, fibre.
Want to funk them up? Add Skor chips, walnuts, and other tasty items when you would the chocolate chips. Add between ½ to 1 cup of your add-in for one batch.
Since I’m single, I freeze my dough in ½ cup containers for when I’m having a rough day working from home and want them fresh. In 20 minutes or so, it’s soft enough to scoop out and make a mini batch of cookies. It works out to 5 cookies per ½ cup, so keep that in mind when freezing in other sized containers.
I’ve got a cookbook coming out! Sign up here if you’d like to be notified when it’s released.
Line 21 has been in business for 20 years now. And, while we’ve had a great deal of fun along the way, we’ve also learned a thing or two about surviving as small business owners.
Below are three very practical lessons we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way).
1. Learn how to have work left over at the end of the day.
It’s tempting to fall into the notion that “you must clear your desk by the end of every day.” Surely it’s a good thing to start each day fresh?
Not always. If you think you always have to finish everything by the end of the day, not only are you setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, but you’re setting up yourself to work ever longer hours. It’s good to know you have work to do tomorrow. In fact, we recommend you have daily, weekly, and even monthly schedules for yourself and learn to stick to them. It’s all about endurance for us.
2. Use others’ expertise.
You got into business because you were passionate about something, be it building birdhouses or resolving tricky accounting problems. But running a successful business requires more than just passion for a specific pursuit. It requires expertise in a wide variety of areas, some of which you will not possess.
That’s okay. It’s not realistic that you’d be a master of every single skill required for running a business. That’s why there are OTHER businesses to help you fill in those gaps. Make use of them! Free yourself from the tasks at which you don’t excel so that you have time to focus on those at which you do. Your business will thank you.
3. Make it easy for people to contact you.
This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how difficult some people make it to contact them—by phone, email, text, semaphore—there’s just no easy way to find a way to get in touch.
When I have a hard time finding contact information, I wonder—do they really want to hear from me? Is that the message you want to send to your clients?
Put your contact information everywhere and allow for as many forms of contact as possible: in your email signature, on your Facebook page, on LinkedIn, on your Twitter background, your website. Make it easy to find! If you make people work to find you, they just may not make the effort.
This Month’s Mondegreen
We enjoy a good Mondegreen as much as anyone! But you can relax in the confidence that, at Line 21, we work very hard to ensure we never create Mondegreens out of your dialogue.
Partner Profile: DOXA Documentary Film Festival
DOXA is coming! From May 2 through 11 four downtown Vancouver theatres will be overtaken by some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, and always engaging documentary movies.
From its humble beginnings in 1998, DOXA has grown to a 10-day event featuring 90+ films with an international reach. This Vancouver-based, non-profit, charitable society is an entirely home-grown effort, with a staff of very dedicated employees, supported by a host of volunteers. Over the years, the ambitious festival has grown to become truly mighty, with an impressive Board of Directors, films from internationally recognized talent, an amazing annual line up of innovative films from around the globe, and huge community support.
Line 21 has been a proud DOXA partner for years. Not only do we sponsor screenings, but we’ve hosted receptions, and donated to silent auctions. Patricia Dziekan, who many of you will know from her work as administrator at Line 21, was even a volunteer on the DOXA Fundraising committee for a couple of years.
It’s been an easy, happy match for a couple of very important reasons. First, we applaud and support DOXA’s commitment to bringing first-rate documentaries to a wider audience. And second, we just love the movies! Where else can you be challenged by a look at the destructive forces at work in Eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park (“Virunga”) one night and entertained the next by the ever-delightful George Takei—better known as Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu—in the film “To Be Takei”?
This year, Line 21 is the proud screening partner for “Derby Crazy Love” on Friday, May 9, 9pm at the Rio. It’s a raucous take on the world of women’s roller derby and the tough babes who inhabit it.
Win Tickets to “Derby Crazy Love!”
We’d love for you to join us at “Derby Crazy Love!” To enter to win tickets, tweet “Derby Crazy Love” to @line21cc or comment “Derby Crazy Love” on our Facebook page. We’ll randomly choose a winner and notify you the week of April 28th. Good luck!
Once you’ve tried raw zucchini noodles, you may never go back!
If you haven’t yet tried raw noodles, you must! They’re easy, fast, convenient, and delicious and they work wonderfully with any sauce. We use a gadget generally known as a spirooli or a spiralizer, like this one or, for a wider, flatter noodle, this one.
One medium zucchini spiralizes (we just made that word up!) into 2 servings of noodles. Just cut the ends off an unpeeled zucchini, run it through the gadget, and divide the noodles into 2 bowls. This will take you all of about 15 seconds.
For richer, heavier sauces, like our favourite carbonara sauce below, these noodles are a great way to lighten the meal. We’ve adapted the carbonara from a very old (and excellent!) cookbook, Wonderful Ways to Prepare Italian Food by Jo Ann Shirley, 1978.
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/2 lb bacon, cut into chuncks
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1/3 c cream
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until it becomes transparent. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Melt the butter in the same pan as the bacon fat. Remove from heat. Add the egg yolks to pan and stir, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and parmesan. Add the onion and bacon back to the pan and mix thoroughly.
Serve over your new favourite noodles! This is enough sauce for 4 servings.
In January we set you up with your local film festival viewing schedule, of which there is no shortage in BC. This month, we bring you the next round of festivals on the screen, from April to June. Our work has us up close and personal with movie making, so it goes without saying we’re big fans of films of all kinds. You can count on seeing us at many of these great events in the coming months.
April 4-11 R2R Film Festival
Dedicated to showing the best in culturally diverse, authentic programming for youth. In addition to the April film festival, Reel to Real offers year-round programs for youth.
April 24-27 Projecting Change Film Festival
Where environmentalists, film lovers, community leaders, local businesses and decision makers gather to watch films, discuss key issues and get inspired.
May 2-11 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
View the best of the new documentaries. DOXA is a curated and juried festival comprised of public screenings, panel discussions, public forums and educational programs.
May 21-22 Canada International Film Festival
This year’s Canada International Film Festival will showcase a wide variety of offerings, from North American and international feature films to thought-provoking shorts, documentaries, music videos, animations, experimental films, student films, a screenplay competition, and more.
June Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival
Taiwanese filmmakers are starting to gain international attention with their high-quality films. Normally difficult to access in Vancouver, the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival gives locals the opportunity to appreciate these works.
It’s March, which means we’re firmly in shoulder season between winter and spring. The warm afternoon sun entices us to step outside before the chill of the evening sets in. One way we love to take advantage of those afternoon windows of sunshine is by treating ourselves to a little decadent something at one of our favourite local sweet spots.
Consistently voted some of the best croissants in the city, Beaucoup’s classic French pastry is indeed a buttery, shattering delicacy. Coffee by Parallel 49 is also good.
This Month’s Mondegreen
Client Profile: NSI
Line 21 is a proud sponsor of National Screen Institute in Winnipeg. We started in 2010 by offering our captioning services to the NSI Drama Prize winners. This year we were asked to take part in the Aboriginal Documentary Program and we jumped at the chance to be involved in its inaugural year. Over the past 4 years we’ve had the chance to work on some great short films and with some great emerging talent that we’ve seen graduate on to bigger and better things. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the same from the filmmakers in this new program!
12 large dry corn tortillas
1/2 c water
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
3 chilies or jalapenos
5 T oil
1 c grated cheese: Mexican queso blanco is traditional or you can experiment with what you have on hand – goat cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.
shredded chicken or other leftovers (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and chilies and boil until soft. Drain and mix in blender with the garlic and water.
Heat 1 T oil and fry the tomato mixture. Simmer for five minutes, adding salt to taste.
Cut the tortillas into strips. Heat remaining oil in a clean frying pan, and fry tortilla strips until crispy.
Drain the oil and crack the eggs into the pan with the tortilla strips. Stir so they don’t stick. Add salt to taste and chicken or leftovers if using to warm them.
Place in a serving bowl, then pour the tomato sauce over entire dish. Sprinkle with onions and cheese and enjoy a delicious Mexican breakfast!