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American Sign Language: Video Recording

In a message dated 5/22/2005 10:46:51 AM Pacific Daylight Time, a teacher asks:
Question:  Where do you buy that blue fabric for the filming background?
Response: Wal-Mart.  In the "sheets" section. About $5 or so.  (grin)  I remember looking all over for professional filming backgrounds.  I went to craft stores and stores that sold cloth for people who sew their own clothing. It was all outrageously expensive, hard to get, and difficult to manage.  Then I came up with the idea of using a sheet and thumbtacks.  You can just tack the sheet to your wall, putting tacks every foot or so around the perimeter.  The fold wrinkles disappear as you gently stretch the fabric with each tack you put in.

In a message dated 5/31/2005 11:57:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time, a teacher writes:
Thank you for the money saving creative solution for finding a blue material for filming. Exactly what color does the label say? Navy blue, cobalt blue, aqua-blue? 
Hmmm, got me there.  I just picked out a "light blue" and didn't look at or at least do not recall the name of the color on the label.
For best results you will likely want to use a color that is not too light and not too dark.
The absolute best color for filming (IMHO) is a light grey. 
Dark colors cause me to look bleached out.  Light colors don't give much contrast with my hands.
Lately I've been using a "red" background.

In a message dated 1/22/2006 12:47:24 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, an ASL teacher writes:
Hello Dr. Vicars,
I am placing in the mail an order today for 2 items  (Sign me up book and the how to make a decent living teaching ASL).... but I am writing to you at present for advice and or suggestions on something else if I may?
I am curious to know what kind of resources exist or what and who I would need to communicate with to produce and create a series of DVDs featuring ASL songs (various genres) as well as theatrical productions done in ASL.
Any ideas??
I appreciate your time and patience.
Raymont L. Anderson,
D.D. Candidate, MFA, BA, AS, AS, ASLTA-Provisional Certification
I'm down to less than 100 emails in my box, heh.  Okay, here we go...
In case you are still looking for advice regarding producing DVDs:
Perhaps the easiest and best approach would be to hire a professional to help you create the first few DVDs.
In the phone book (or on the net) you can find experts and studios listed somewhere under or near the heading of "video."  There are quite a few cinematographers (videographers) out there who do weddings and graduations who would be capable of helping you create an ASL DVD on a reasonable budget.  After they create the master for you, you could burn your own copies or hire a DVD duplication outfit to make copies for you and print cool labels for them.
You "could" try to make your own DVD's and do all the work yourself.  That is what I do.  Admittedly the video quality is "home made." I'm getting better all the time...but still, I have a ways to go before I'll be satisfied.  Much of the issue is equipment.  Actually the whole issue is equipment.  I'm just using a consumer level camcorder and have no special lighting equipment.  So I end up doing the recording in my sunroom at the back of the house, (at certain times during the day the sun is an incredibly good source of light for video work).
I recently bought a Pinnacle Studio 10 to do my editing and capture work.  After installing the card and loading the software I was very disappointed and took it back to the store.  Instead I purchased Vegas Video (Sony) and a capture card by TurtleBeach.  I haven't tried out the Vegas Video software yet, but the user groups all claim it is very solid and gets the job done.
The new capture card is "okay" but honestly I think I preferred my old card from a company called "Matrox."  Soon I will order one of Matrox's "prosumer" level cards (half way between professional level and consumer level) that cost about 10 times what the typical home-user cards on the computer store shelves cost.  (Shhhh, don't tell my wife.) It is a chunk of money, but I was so impressed with the low end version of their card that I feel comfortable going for one of Matrox's nicer cards.
Chances are you are hooked up or have some connections at a college somewhere.  Often colleges have awesome resources available to faculty and students who want to do video work. It is certainly worth asking around at your college.  Many colleges now have distance education centers that do broadcasting and web conferencing.  These centers have nice wall backgrounds or green / blue screens specially designed for video.  You might simply ask to use such a studio during unscheduled time.
One last suggestion would be to order a set of DVDs from the net that are similar to what you are interested in creating.  Then look and see what company did the video work for that set of DVDs.  Then contact that company and ask their prices or if they might be interested in working with you on a video project.
Good luck.
Dr. Bill


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