Talk Description to Me

Episode 35 - Year in Review Zoom Event Part 2

January 30, 2021 Christine Malec and JJ Hunt Season 2 Episode 35
Talk Description to Me
Episode 35 - Year in Review Zoom Event Part 2
Chapters
2:46
Everest TV Movie story
5:12
Christine loves Chris Hadfield
10:01
TV in the COVID era
17:24
Romain Grosjean's Formula 1 car crash
Talk Description to Me
Episode 35 - Year in Review Zoom Event Part 2
Jan 30, 2021 Season 2 Episode 35
Christine Malec and JJ Hunt

On December 17, 2020 Talk Description to Me hosted a live event on Zoom, giving Christine and JJ a chance to talk shop with long-time listeners and new-found friends from across the continent. Community members from around the world emailed questions in advance, and others switched on their mics and asked their questions directly.  In this second of two episodes featuring conversations from that event, curious listeners inquire about Mount Everest, printing fonts, TV in the COVID era, and a harrowing Formula 1 car crash!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TalkDescriptionToMe)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On December 17, 2020 Talk Description to Me hosted a live event on Zoom, giving Christine and JJ a chance to talk shop with long-time listeners and new-found friends from across the continent. Community members from around the world emailed questions in advance, and others switched on their mics and asked their questions directly.  In this second of two episodes featuring conversations from that event, curious listeners inquire about Mount Everest, printing fonts, TV in the COVID era, and a harrowing Formula 1 car crash!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TalkDescriptionToMe)

JJ Hunt:

Talk description to Me with Christine Malec and JJ Hunt.

Christine Malec:

Hi, I'm Christine Malec.

JJ Hunt:

And I'm JJ Hunt. This is talk description to Me where the visuals of current events and the world around us get hashtag in description rich conversations.

Christine Malec:

On December 17, we hosted our live zoom event a year in review, in which listeners were invited to ask questions about the events of 2020. And the world around us. The conversations were wide ranging and fun. This is the second of two episodes featuring some excerpts from the event.

Kim:

One thing I've always wondered about too, is Mount Everest, like, what it looks like when people climb that and what, like, you know, cuz it's so iconic, but you hear about it, and you read books about it, but you just don't know. The same with a lot of things like even the moon landing like you hear the scratchy noise, but you don't know how did they come out of that capsule? Was it like, backwards? Or frontwards? Or like, and what did it seem like when they stepped down? And what were they wearing on their bodies? And I think live description is great. And I've grown up without it. And with family or something. I'm trying to figure it out, like we're sitting in a movie. And I think what's happening? Just a minute, just a minute, you know, trying to figure...

Christine Malec:

Ya.

Kim:

But but I think what you give us that that audio description still doesn't give me, and this would be a case for say the inauguration. They take for granted that we know certain things that we might not know. I think like that's what I've loved about your podcast is. Christine, you asked the question that I would ask because I have no idea what that is. So say, I'm trying to think of an example. But say you were talking about...

Christine Malec:

I remember the one we're talking about fire tornadoes, and he was giving this You're a terrible descriptor. I said, Okay, I'm shaking in my boots. However, let's take a step back. And what is a normal tornado look like?

Kim:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I wouldn't know that. So I think that describers because they only have so much time. And I guess like someone said, they do it at the last minute. They don't but but with this, you can say actually, do you actually know?

JJ Hunt:

Without describing all of Mount Everest, here's just a very short little audio description Mount Everest story. A few years back, there was a made for TV movie here in Canada, I think it was just called Everest. Several, like three part series about these Canadian climbers climbing Mount Everest, and like, you know, Episode One, someone dies Episode Two, someone dies this.

Listener:

It's called Mount Everst - the name sets it up, right?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, it was grueling, and people are losing fingers and getting trapped on ice sheets. It was just grueling. But the cut that I got, I was the one writing the audio description for it, and I got a rough cut of the film. So it was locked, the picture was locked, but the special effects weren't done. So the timing could be done correctly but they were then going to continue to work on the special effects as I was writing the audio description. And so some of the special effects weren't done. Some of the avalanches looked pretty weak to me, but I had to imagine what they were going to look like as it was finished. Three different one hour episodes, we finally get to the final moment where these experienced Canadian climbers missing fingers finally reached the top of Mount Everest, and the camera follows them up the final steps to get to the top of the mountain and in the background is a chairlift! They hadn't edited it out yet!

Christine Malec:

Ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

My kids love that story, they asked me to tell that one all the time.

Ann:

I think the big deal about Everest, getting to the top, I'm only saying this because my optometrist did it, she made the trek and she just said the view, which hopefully you get there on a clear day, right?

JJ Hunt:

Ya.

Ann:

But she apparently did and the view was spectacular and

Kim:

Like if you go into space they say that like if you look gave you this all inspired feeling of how small you are and the you know, creation of the world and all that is the impre sion that I got. at the earth from space you get this whole different perspective,

Carl:

This is Carl - I would love it if you guys did an episode on space

Christine Malec:

Oh yeah!

Kim:

Oh yeah.

Carl:

The international space station, the spaceX rocket. You

Ann:

Oh yeah. know they're talking about women walking on the moon very soon, any of that stuff. I would just love anything space related.

Christine Malec:

So I'm going to tell you guys right now what my prime professional ambition, my cherished professional ambition is to interview Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut. So my scheme is to get him on as it was great. I know his book was great, right? So I want to get him on as like a guest host where, you know, JJ does the visuals. And then Mr. Hadfield says, okay, that's the module where the and you know, and so if anyone knows Chris Hadfield Just get me past his Wranglers, please, because that's...

Ann:

Yeah, cuz he did a great job describing the space station and you know, what it was like to, to what it is like to live there.

Christine Malec:

He actually, when he was the commander, I was following him with great delight. And his picture captions were fantastic. And yeah, they were, they were and then if I if he tweeted once, and he said, it's come to my attention that I have some visually impaired followers. And so I'm going to start sending multi sensory things. And he started doing audio recordings. He's a great guy. He's a great guy. I'm dying to interview him. I love space. Thank you, Carl for saying that.

Ann:

So do I. Astronamy, like you Christine, it's my passion. Oh my god.

Christine Malec:

Yay. See JJ, everyone wants the astronomy!

Brian:

Fonts. Ya. Fonts say so much. But when was the last time anybody ever described a font?

JJ Hunt:

I've worked on a few tactile pieces. There were some

Listener:

Oh, that'd be cool!

JJ Hunt:

I created a tactile tour, a couple, for the Andy Warhol gallery. And one of them is the Brillo Box. So Andy Warhol loved to recreate commercial packaging, and he did so with Brillo boxes, one of his more famous sculptures. And so this tactile version was wonderful because it was really clean and clear. And so as I'm guiding people with it with a tactile description, "use your left hand sweep your thumb, you'll find this", and you got to feel that there are three or four different kinds of fonts. And the same with the Campbell Soup Can.

Brian:

Yup.

JJ Hunt:

The curving lead i stroke on the on the C for ampbell's, and then the E in C mpbell's looks like the number hree, which is an interesting font choice. And so it actually as a wonderful use of tactile, ot only because it was a fun th ng to touch and to guide peopl around, but getting a sense of those different kinds of fonts. talicized font versus a font tha had a drop shadow. You know, these are different things that ou were able to feel and unde stand in a different way bec use you had that tactile experience. It was really grea .

Kim:

The Pyramids, and the Sphinx and all that. Just things that people toss out in conversation. And then I realized, I tossed it out, and I don't know what it is.

Listener:

Ya we all do.

Christine Malec:

We all do that.

JJ Hunt:

A lot of sighted people doing that too, that's for sure!

Kim:

But I can't even see it to know what it is like, I don't know what it is. I don't know what shape it is. I don't know what like size. It is like some of the things I just love your podcast, because it's like that, like you get to know these things so much.

Christine Malec:

Part of the reason that I love the podcast, the way it works is that so when we talk about, we did a one on on the ice sheets, the melting ice sheets, and you can get a literal description, but I kind of want to know, what's the emotional impact of looking at it. And that's why I love the fact that I can ask JJ a question. So the Northern Lights like that episode was a bit unusual, because I didn't want to just know what they look like. I want to know what what's it like to look at them. And that's the thing that I think it's harder to communicate. And so I that's why I love working with JJ is he's a natural born storyteller. And he's able to you I'm not talking about like you like you're not here, JJ, you have an ability to put put someone in the in the spot and communicate what it's actually like to experience that not just what it looks like. And that's one of the strengths of the podcast.

JJ Hunt:

Yeah. And it was great to be given permission to do that. Because as describers we are often expressly told not to, right? This isn't about us, it's not about our experiences. It's about providing a neutral - and that's obviously still important in the way we're doing this. But there are times when I do appreciate when you say "no, no, no, no, let's go past that. How does that feel? What was the what was the experience like?" Because I think there's something to be gained by having that element added to the descriptive-rich content, for sure.

Christine Malec:

We're gonna shift gears a bit. Neil emailed in a question, which is really interesting. It's about the look of TV shows now in in the pandemic, and are we seeing a shift into people living the way we are living so wearing masks being on zoom all the time. And it's it's funny because I hear a lot of sighted people say this all the time, which is the look at, they'll be watching a show or a movie from from the before time, and they'll see people and they'll have this panic reaction like, Oh my god, all those people are in one place or Holy crap, those people aren't wearing masks. If you can't hold that person, you don't know them. And so it's it's become internalized very quickly for us to observe the protocols. But Neil was curious about what we are seeing in TV shows that might not be described or might not be obvious to a non sighted viewer around the kind of pandemic lifestyle we're having. So JJ is something that is being reflected in popular TV right now?

JJ Hunt:

As I walk around, and when I have questions, or when we have a conversation coming up, when we're about to record, I'm walking around town, and I'm thinking about these things. I'm thinking about how I'm going to answer these questions and how I'm going to dive into this. And as I was walking around thinking about this specific question, I noticed a bus ad for the TV show The Connors. This was the Roseanne show, Roseanne's old show. And the image, the ad for the upcoming season, has a picture of the Connors family, and they're all together. It's like a family photo. And they're all wearing COVID masks.

Christine Malec:

Oooh!

JJ Hunt:

it has gotten to the point, we've been in this long enough now, that there's new media, there's new TV, there are new movies that are being written and produced in this lockdown era. In some cases, they're not using the lockdown as a plot point. It's not necessarily being addressed in the story. But the people who are making these productions are still having to work and live in a lockdown world in a lockdown situation. So they're having to adapt to the way these things are being produced. And you can hear it, and you can see it in in the way some of these shows are coming across. So, for example, there's a new Netflix show called Social Distance. This is made in and is about the pandemic. But there are soap operas that have kept filming. And they're not necessarily addressing the pandemic. Specifically, I've got a friend who watches Coronation Street. I don't know if anyone else out here is anyone else on the call with us as a core as a quarry fan. What I've heard about this about about Cory, is that on Coronation Street, everyone is standing far apart all the time. It doesn't matter if the people if the actors are supposed to be portraying husband and wife, or family members. They're not in real life. So they're not bubbled. And they therefore have to stand far apart when they're in a scene together. So if my friend was laughing at this notion of like a husband and wife in the living room having breakfast, but one's having their tea on one side of the room and the other ones happen. They're toast on the other side of the room. And so there are there are, there's no touching, there's no physical contact, it means a lot of the romantic plots and some of the American sitcoms are pardon me as some of the American soap operas are have to be toned down a little bit. Yeah, [in the chat ] Janice is saying the actors are wearing masks and their offices are set up with barriers on All Rise on CBS. This is this is a thing that is happening there. There are people actors who are having to film separately. So some shows what they've done is they've actually decided to instead of bringing their actors into set, they are whenever possible, having actors film themselves in their homes. So they're actually adjusting the scripts so that more of the character interaction is taking place on phones or in zoom calls, or in other ways that they can film them separately. And what they do is the producers send the actors a mini filmmaking kit that includes cameras, mics, lights, and a green screen backdrop. So they can put this green screen backdrop up in their room in their, you know, in their living room or bedroom, wherever they've got space. And they can act in front of it. And then in post production, they can move those those characters to different settings using the green screen effects. So you can see this if you're someone who's watching these shows, you can you can see this because first of all, you can tell that this is green screen unless it's really good green screen. You can probably do Tell by the visuals of that it's the background and the actors look distant. They don't look like they're filmed in the same light. So there are ways to visually see the green screen effect. You'll again, notice that there are characters having conversations on phones, right? There are very few shots with multiple people in close contact and some of these shows, but you can hear this as well, right? You can hear that the sound is a little bit off. Because if you're if actor, one is filming in their bedroom, and it's a rather small bedroom, and actor number two is filming in their living room, and it's a great big living room. You can hear the differences just even in post production, they can't quite match those sounds up perfectly. So in drama situations, that's how they're handling it. cooking shows is another interesting thing of cooking shows have done really well in this kind of pandemic lockdown situation because with cooking shows these days, what's popular are small and nimble cooking shows. A lot of these chefs were already filming at home for web content. So they're already set up. And of course they're a lot of these chefs have their at home kitchens are are beautiful. These are showpiece kitchens, right, beautifully designed with islands and gorgeous countertops and ranges. So they're already set up for this. And of course, with small digital cameras and mics, you can set up multiple cameras. In your at home kitchen, you can hang an overhead camera, you can have handheld, you can do all kinds of different things. And in some cases, the chef's who are filming these, either digital content or if they're filming, you know, broadcast shows, they're getting their family members to participate. So I know Alton Brown, he does a quarantine kitchen. I think it's his wife, Elizabeth who films and he's got an overhead camera setup. He does some handheld work. I've seen some stuff that Gordon Ramsay's done where he films with his family. He's not quite as nasty to his family members, although he's not as polite as would be expected in my kitchen, I have to say,

Christine Malec:

Ha!

JJ Hunt:

A lot of this content gets distributed online, but alsomakes its way to broadcast too. So that's, that's the kind of stuff that that I'm seeing and hearing in in terms of television and the lockdown pandemics situation.

Christine Malec:

Again, to shift gears, and in a minute, you're going to love the pun that I just made there. Matthew in Australia - JJ is giggling because he knows what's coming! Matthew in Australia, I okay, I admit it, he sent this and I went "Ae you freaking kidding me? What is this? What is this? What fresh hell is this?!" He asked if we could describe a race car crash. And I'm just I'm just gonna sit back and let JJ take this on. Because I know other people are interested. Whereas I was just scratching my head. So you really want to know about that? But people do. And I totally get it. So I'm just gonna sit back and JJ do your worst.

JJ Hunt:

This was a big crash. This was a few weeks ago, the Bahrain Grand Prix, this is a Formula One car race. And it was in the first lap. And this crash was it was extraordinary. And before we go too far down into it, you know, spoiler alert, the guy was fine. The driver was okay. I feel it's important to let you know that before I describe, because it gets pretty intense. But knowing it's okay I think is one of the reasons why this became, it was almost a meme, it was certainly viral video. Clips of this went all over the place. And the F1 folks, they actually tried to rein it in, they tried to get some of the video content back and they blocked a lot of stuff online. Anyway, it's pretty intense. Let's start by describing a Formula One car because the car is actually, it hardly resembles the kinds of cars that we have driving down the street, and it does, it does have an impact on on the crash itself. So you've got four tires, that's really where the similarities between f1 cars and street cars, begins and ends. The front two tires on an f1 car are a little bit smaller than the tires in the rear. And these are fully exposed tires, so they're not in wheel wells that are under the car like you would find in most street cars. These are sticking out the sides of the vehicle. So there's nothing on top of these wheels. They're fully exposed. The nose of the car is very narrow. I'm talking shoulder width, like literally the shoulder width of the driver, that's the hood of the car and it comes down between those two front wheels and dips in front of the tires. And there there's a flat panel that's really only inches off of the ground. And it's a flat panel that has some kind of small fins on it. Each one is different in because they're trying to achieve different aerodynamic qualities that are well above my paygrade. But it's a very, very, very thin hood that goes down and and and where it comes back it that's where the driver sits. So the driver is sitting, you know, directly back from this nose, this hood in the middle of the vehicle, in a in an exposed, open roll cage essentially. So open air, there's just a bar overhead. As this driver Romain Grosjean was really pleased with you was happy that there was this bar over his head and the driver's cockpit. This open cockpit is flanked on either side, by what I believe are like air intakes. These are directly behind the front tires. And this is where the air rushes in and feeds the motor which is behind the driver. And this is a great big engine, right? It's actually quite a bit higher than the drivers exposed head, it's really quite high. And then at the back at the rear there again, there's two exposed tires a little bit bigger than the front tires. And they're connected, the rear tires are connected by a fin that kind of looks a little bit like a tall bench. So straight sides, and then a cross piece. And again, this is about the aerodynamics. Right. So that's the basic Formula One car. Now Romain Grogan. What happened in his race is he was he was trying to cut across the track right through the middle of a pack. Again, this is right at the beginning of the race, the first lap of the race. So most of the cars are still fairly close together. And for some reason, grows and decides to cut through the pack from left to right. And a lot of the cars are all of the cars have cameras mounted in various parts of the car. So you can get different angles. And a lot of those angles have been presented to the public, not not all, but some of them have been presented to the public. And you can see from one car you can see Grosjean's vehicle coming across, and his rear right tire rolls over the front left tire of the car behind him. And when he does this, his car gets immediately is out of control. And he continues cutting across out of the off of the track, across the shoulder, all the way to the right. And some of the video I've seen is from Grosjean's point of view, so it's on this driver's car, you got his head, his mounted camera, and you can see him cutting across you can see him bumping, right there's a jerk to the to the camera. And then he continues off of the track off of the shoulder and he is heading straight for a steel barrier. This is a waist high steel barrier, the kind that you find at the on the edge of a highway, and he's heading more or less straight for it. And then the f1 people cut that camera, they haven't let the public see the crash from his point of view and that but you can find it from others. And what happens is he goes right into the steel barrier. At very high speed. It's been estimated at something like 137 miles per hour. There's an immediate explosion, a big ball of flames. And it's difficult to see what's going on because the flames are so intense. But what you can tell, there's been slow motion footage released and some schematic breakdowns that people have created to kind of break down this crash. So you can see what has happened is that the nose crashes into the barrier and starts burying itself in this now tangled steel barrier, and the back half of the car snaps off. It actually skids along the length of the barrier on the track side without ever breaking through. And the nose of the vehicle with the driver in it, with Grosjean in it, gets buried further and further into this tangled of steel barrier until he's actually on the far side. And that's where the ball of flames is. He's in the middle of this ball of flames. He's completely engulfed for something like 27 seconds. There's no sign of him. You can't see him. He's in this ball of flames. Medical cars are coming up. A few small fire vehicles arrived, not big fire trucks but you know, medic vehicles. And they get out and the fire is still raging and then suddenly, the driver, Grosjean, jumps out of the fireball! And he scrambles over this crumpled steel barrier which is actually now closer to chest height because it's been, you know, it's been twisted and bent up. And he actually manages to hop over this barrier with, frankly, more grace and athleticism that I could muster on a good day. And before he even lands, two crew members with fire extinguisher start spraying him down. They whisk him off to one of the medic's cars. He's not on fire. He's under his own power. He runs there by himself. They help him, like holding onto him, but he's really running by himself. He sits down in this medic's car, he takes off his helmet and he looks more or less fine because he's wearing that fire retardant suit. The only real injuries he had were to his hands. His hands were quite badly burnt and he had a significant ligament torn on one thumb but otherwise, in the middle of a ball of flames, a car crash at 137 miles per hour, and he literally walks out under his own power. It was incredible.

Christine Malec:

Is he wearing a full on helmet and face covering? And so okay fire retardant, that's something I didn't know. He's wearing a flame retardant sort of suit but does that cover his, I guess not his hands but his face and head as well?

JJ Hunt:

The suits that these drivers wear are head to toe, right down to the wrists. So the gloves are a different material, that's why they don't work as well. But they need to have some more dexterity, obviously they need to be able to grip things with their fingers and whatnot. But otherwise it's like a very tight snowsuit, really that's what it looks like. A big on piece with a zipper up the fron that's right up to the neck. nd the helmet is the kind... ike a motorcycle helmet is here you would see this most ommonly. And it has a full fac shield, almost like an ast onaut's helmet. It goes all the way around to the back of the neck so the whole head is enca ed with the shield down. Righ to the wrists, right to the nkles, boots and whatnot. So eally looks like he's wearing very svelt snow suit. Th t's really what it looks like. I think his was all black.

Christine Malec:

Wow. That's that's extraordinary, wild, blood curdling. We love making this podcast. If you love hearing it, perhaps you'll consider supporting its creation and development by becoming a patron. We've set up a Patreon page to help cover the costs of putting this show together. You can contribute as a listener or as a sponsor to help ensure that accessible and entertaining journalism continues to reach our community. Visit patreon.com slash talk description to me that's pa t ar e o n.com slash talk description to me have feedback or suggestions of what you'd like to hear about here's how to get in touch with us. Our email address is top description to [email protected] Our Facebook page is called talk description to me. Our website is talk description to me.com and you can follow us on Twitter at talk description.

Everest TV Movie story
Christine loves Chris Hadfield
TV in the COVID era
Romain Grosjean's Formula 1 car crash