The original project

These videos were the brainchild of Peter Gladwell. He is a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in the Pain Management Service at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

Pete recognised that the Deaf community did not have equal access to health information because it was not presented in British Sign Language (BSL). As a result, Deaf patients were not getting the help that they needed. Pete set about finding some money to remedy this situation and then approached EyeGaze to produce a DVD. EyeGaze was a Bristol based social enterprise run as a collective with Deaf and hearing directors. At that time it consisted of myself (Mick Canavan), Neil Finlay, Nathalie Smith and Siobhan O’Donovan.

Pete and some of his colleagues created some script materials and in 2006 we began filming. A DVD entitled ‘Stress and Relaxation’ was released the same year with glowing reviews.

In 2012 EyeGaze ceased operations and over time I completely forgot about the DVD and its contents. However, a friend who works as a counsellor recently asked whether I could resurrect the DVD by putting the content online. Here it is.

Behind the scenes

The video

I shot the video using a Panasonic HVX 200 camera; it produced ‘standard definition’ (SD) (that’s how old it is!) video which I edited in FCP7 . I used DVD Studio Pro to design and build the DVD and all graphics were produced by Neil Finlay.

The video used on this website has been ‘ripped’ from one of the original DVDs as I do not currently have access to the original files. I used an open source video transcoder called Handbrake to do this and then transcoded the video from MPEG2 to an Apple intermediate codec for editing in Final Cut Pro X. There are plenty of open source video editors out there that are probably as good as FPCX but I’ve been using the FCP platform for over 20 years and have no interest in learning a new platform. However, for you budding video editors out there, you could try Shotcut or maybe Openshot which seem to get decent reviews.

I was forced to remove some graphics and video interactions from some of the video clips because the text became unreadable when it was re-purposed from being viewed on a largeTV screen to a small video screen within a web browser. This actually turned out to be quite finicky because the graphics had previously been ‘burnt in’ with the MPEG2 codec for DVD delivery.

You may notice, that on a very few occasions, there is the briefest of ‘stutters’ in the presentation. This was unavoidable because in the original video files the presenter, Siobhan, makes references to the DVD – i.e she finger-spells D-V-D. I made a decision to edit out all references to the original DVD to avoid any confusion and whilst I don’t think it has too much of a negative impact, I hate to see it! In hindsight it may have been a better option to simply leave the DVD references there. I’m really not too sure. If you have an opinion on this, let me know.

Captions have been added to all the videos (very time consuming) so if there are any typos, or mis-translations, once again, please let me know.

Video quality

The video on this website has undergone quite a few changes. It started as ‘Standard Definition’ and was then compressed to MPEG2 for DVD delivery. It was then re-compressed with an Apple intermediate codec for video editing and finally re-compressed with a Vimeo proprietary codec for Internet delivery! At every stage of this process the video lost some quality and it has noticeably degraded. This simply could not be helped. Having said that, given all of the abuse that this video has taken it has actually stood up quite well! In fact, the videos only really become ‘unwatchable’ when enlarged to full screen and I have currently disabled this functionality, so there should be no problem. I will enable full-screen viewing IF and when I find the original SD video.

The website

I rent server space from InMotion and use a content management system (CMS) called WordPress . The server rental is fairly cheap and support is very good. Also, I have never really had any trouble with them at all, the server up-time is excellent.

I decided to use a simple ‘theme’ called TwentySeventeen and build a simple ‘one page’ or ‘parallax style’ website in an attempt to mimic a DVD presentation. As a result, it has very little text but is extremely video heavy! Not usually recommended for websites!

The embedded code on the web page communicates with the Vimeo video server and as a result there is a slight ‘hit’ in terms of performance. The website will be a tad slower to load within your browser. Speed tests on this website using a free resource from Google (this is a great resource for all you web designers out there) rates it as acceptable. However, if this proves to be a problem or an annoyance to anyone out there, please let me know.

All the photographs are my own, they are from Ireland, Austria and England. I reckon you can guess which ones are from where!

Many thanks to Siobhan O’Donovan for presenting the material in such a relaxed and accessible way! It is one of the features that many Deaf people have commented upon, often in glowing terms.

I apologise if I have forgotten to mention anyone but I do not have access to the original materials and my memory has failed me!

I hope that you enjoy this resource and that you find it helpful.
Please feel free to leave a comment or any suggestions that you may have!


Mick Canavan

If you would like to collaborate on any projects or need some assistance feel free to contact me:
My page on LinkedIn: Mick Canavan



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