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Byte sized interview with Charlie Swinbourne

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 20 Jul 07, 10:53 PM

Charlie Swinbourne, 25, is a deaf director/scriptwriter and researcher on See Hear, the BBC2 series for hearing impaired people. He is hard of hearing, can lip-read and is a British Sign Language user.

Q: What are you favourite websites?

I'm a huge fan of Facebook, the social networking website. The deaf community went mad for Bebo for quite a while, but loads of my deaf pals seem to be joining the Facebook craze. It's just so easy to use, send messages, upload photos, etc.

I totally love YouTube. From a deaf perspective you can see signed clips from all over the world, which is giving deaf people an outlet and distribution stream they have never had before. My next short film (with a signing, deaf cast) will be released on YouTube as I reckon that will give the whole deaf community, a chance to watch it.

Q: What are is your least favourite website?

Ironically, YouTube! It really needs to look at providing some subtitled content. It's frustrating when you see something you'd love to watch but you just can't quite hear it! Also, if I'm watching a clip in sign language, the picture must be clear and not too grainy. It helps you see those all-important finger movements, and to lip read the signer which means you can understand exactly what they're saying.

Q: What was the last thing you bought online?

I regularly buy DVDs, books and CDs from Sometimes I use Amazon and Ebay as well as they make it a lot easier to get the stuff you want. They also have useful information on whether films have subtitles on them or not which helps me make my choice. As far as DVDs go, if they don't have subtitles, I don't buy!

Q: If the web was taken away from me today I would.

Move on with my life! I like to think I can take it or leave it as far as the web goes, although I'd miss email most of all. As good as Facebook and YouTube are, there's nothing as good as living life through face-to-face conversations and actually interacting with people... Although in saying this, I might be in the minority!

Q: What's the most adventurous thing you've done on the web recently?

I recently filmed my cousins playing football in the garden on my mobile phone, edited the footage together, added a soundtrack and then uploaded the clip to YouTube - all within two hours. My auntie in Australia saw it later that night, which shows just how convenient and enjoyable the web can be sometimes! I've also made a couple of videos for a musician friend of mine.

A few years back I sold (for £20!) the chance to 'make a film of your choice' on eBay while I was a starving student at university. The guy who won wanted me to make a film about Nottingham. So I filmed around the city, cut it together and dubbed it. The £20 kept me fed for a week.

Q: What's your favourite blog?

I quite like Bad Science, which looks at dodgy scientific studies and works out where they've gone wrong. Grumpy Old Deafies is also great, with regular stories and opinion looking at events in the deaf world. Keeps me in the know and always entertains.

I think blogging has offered the deaf community another way of making their feelings and lives heard, but they also take up a lotta time and energy, it just depends whether you've got other stuff in your life or not!

Q: Have you ever heard of VeeSee?

I do know about VeeSee, it is a video on demand website for hearing impaired users. I checked it out when it first started, I think the idea behind it is very positive for the deaf community, although I'm not a subscriber myself.

Q: Do you have a favourite gadget?

I love my video iPod, I've got a Bob Dylan video on there and a weekly YouTube video blog which is really entertaining, I never know what I'm going to get! I have these great loop headphones which transmit sounds straight into my hearing aids and make music far easier to hear and enjoy than using standard headphones.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:18 PM on 02 Aug 2007,
  • Granddad wrote:

It is interesting to learn new things about my grandson's interests and thoughts.
At 77 years of age I find it hard to keep up with the technology but it is good to read about it and to know about your use of it.
Looking forward to your next writing.
Take care.

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