With video blogging gaining popularity among today’s Deaf people due to technology that is more accessible to everyday people, I was starting to wonder about motion pictures that may have been created by Deaf people long time ago. Back then, it wasn’t easy nor cheap to create and edit short films with all the expenses of heavy equipment, many rolls of film, and the long development time.
Because of all these barriers, there weren’t many films that were developed by or for the Deaf. How would one be able to view them even if they existed? Thankfully, Gallaudet University had the foresight to store all these precious films until the time came when technology would be available to make them easily viewed by many.
Gallaudet University’s Video Library was developed with the help of North Plains Systems and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. The film archives at Gallaudet University are now being converted to online video clips that can be watched by any registered users.
In essence, all the Deaf people who created all these films long time ago have been reborn as our early Deaf vloggers!
I originally found out about this website at the 2006 NAD conference but today, I finally go around to register my account.
When you login, you see this list of categories of archived video clips by Deaf people:
- Community-Contributed Videos (0)
- Deaf Culture (9)
- Deaf History (17)
- Deaf Mosaic (53)
- Deaf President Now (1)
- Gallaudet Community (11)
- Visual Histories Project (2)
Some of the clips are very old- dating back to the year 1937 or earlier! I’m very happy that Gallaudet is taking the necessary steps to make them more accessible to all of us!
I have a three suggestions for improvements:
- Is a registered account really necessary? I find it a bit annoying to have to sign up for an account to see these clips when I don’t really see any real benefits for an account. Because of these extra steps, the potential exposure/viewership is reduced.
- Flash video should be used instead of WMV (Windows Media) so that the clips can be easily viewed across as many platforms as possible.
- The GUI leaves a lot to be desired and is frustrating to use. Work with an experienced website designer!