Category Archives: Stories

“Life Without Color” – Film about Color Blindness

This Janaury Robb Jacobson contacted me and told me about a new film he is producing: Life Without Color. He said: “The documentary will try to show color-blind people the technology and resources that we have available to help them distinguish colors, and as a result open their options for the careers they’ve wanted their entire lives.”

unnamedToday a Kickstarter campaign started to raise some money to produce a really nice film about people, who are affected by color vision deficiency. The stories he is telling are about those people who couldn’t follow their dreams to become pilots, fire fighters, police officers and more because of their imperfect color vision.

I also often get contacted by people who are looking for a solution to eliminate this handicap. But there is no help available—at least until today. Looking a little bit behind the scenes of this film project brings us to one of the sponsors Avalance Biotechnologies, which “is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel gene therapies to transform the lives of patients with sight-threatening ophthalmic diseases.”

Just this march this company announced an exclusive licence agreement with the University of Washington to develop gene therapy medicines to treat color blindness. And not only that. The company also gained the Drs. Jay and Maureen Neitz to join their Scientific Advisory Board. They will be technical advisors to the company on the science of vision.

In 2009 a team around Jay Neitz could cure monkeys suffering from red-green color blindness by injecting the missing red pigment genes into their eyes. And now, more than five years later, the dream of curing color blindness seems to become true—at least when we believe what those people are saying and writing about.

So for most of us who are colorblind this still means we have to wait, if this really ever becomes true or not. This upcoming film is for sure a nice insight into the lives of other colorblind people in our society. And if you like the whole project and would like to support Robb, visit his Kickstarter campaign invest some money into our future.



Life Without Color – Kickstarter Trailer from Robb Jacobson on Vimeo.

Hereafter the official press release for their Kickstarter campaign, which started 10th of April, 2015:

Filmmaker to Raise Funds Online to Help the Color-Blind

Robb Jacobson, filmmaker and story producer, turns to alternative funding sources for his first feature film, Life Without Color, a documentary about color-blindness and how it dictates lives.

Austin, TX Apr 9, 2015 — Independent filmmaker Robb Jacobson is turning to the Internet to raise funds for his first feature film project, Life Without Color (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lifewithoutcolor/life-without-color-documentary), a documentary that follows the lives of color-blind people, showing their struggles to achieve their dreams, in an attempt to help them. With funding as the first major obstacle to getting any film off the ground, current economic conditions don’t make the job any easier. Filmmakers have to become more innovative in their fundraising tactics, and the independent filmmaking community has embraced sites like Kickstarter.com.

In line with Kickstarter.com guidelines, artists have a set number of days to raise all the funds, or the project receives nothing. Jacobson’s film has a 35-day fundraising window, from start to finish. If the allotted budget ($30,000 US) isn’t raised before May 14th, all pledges are cancelled and the film will not be funded.

Jacobson’s film Life Without Color, showcases those who are radically affected by color-blindness. A feature-length documentary, Life Without Color uses stories told from people who have lost their jobs or worse due to their condition, as well as re-enactments to bring the viewer into a world only some of us can see. Our world is dependent on uniformly perfect color vision, and when some can’t meet the standard, a great emotional rift is often created. There are some who may be able to help, but not all will have this hand extended to them, leaving them to carve out a spot in life for themselves.

When asked about what people can gain from a film about color-blindness, Jacobson noted, “Not everyone is affected by color-blindness, but EVERYONE can connect to facing great obstacles in life. Opportunities are not distributed fairly, and it can be a great inspiration to see how some people overcome great loss to find the one thing they value most. This film is about color-blindness and the human condition, showing that glory is saved for those who don’t give up.”

The film will be shot on location in the towns of each of the subjects from all over the continent. The re-enactments meant to portray the stories of some of the characters will primarily be filmed in central Texas. After the film is produced, it will be submitted to film festivals all over the country, the goal of which is the hometown favorite, SXSW (Austin). It is through this that Jacobson hopes to spread word of the difficulties and triumphs of a group he has ties to, as well as offer a solution to some who have struggled for a lifetime.

The Kickstarter campaign will also allow some of its backers to be in the film. The re-enactments will involve a great range of scenes involved, and some will even see significant screen time. There are even levels for backers to send in photos of their eyes to be used in the film. Jacobson wants his campaign to provide a way to get his backers involved, creating a film as diverse with its subjects as it is diverse with its stories.

Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lifewithoutcolor/life-without-color-documentary

About Robb Jacobson:

Robb Jacobson is a journalist from a small town in Indiana. His obsession with story has led him to work for NPR, ABC, and several production companies to help make shows like FOX’s American Idol, DISCOVERY’s Porter Ridge, and TLC’s My 600-lb Life. His passion for telling stories fuels his venture into the TV and Film industry, which he hopes will lead him to turn over some very interesting stones.

Contact:
Cindy Scott
Co-Producer
cindy.a.scott@gmail.com

Life Without Color – Documentary Film
313-587-6921

http://www.LifeWithoutColorFilm.com

Short Film: Color Blindness Explained for Children

Quite a while ago Laura Evans created a nine minute documentary short film on the topic What is it Like to be Color Blind? The film gives everyone some insights on color blindness, including an interview with a colorblind person.

Shortly after that she also produced a children’s version, which I would like to show you hereafter:

What is it like to be colorblind?

If you wish to learn more about this project, you can visit Laura Evans website at No Such Thing as Color diretly.

Ishihara – Short Film – All in Dots

Unfortunately this video is now password protected and only visible for a private audience. Sorry and what a petty!

All I can say: Amazing! Yoav Brill created this short film back in 2010 as his graduation film at Bezalel, the Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.

The story is half-autobiographical. I am a color blind, and so are two of of my brothers, so the film is based both on my and their experiences, with additional dramatization of course. I’ve also held a couple of interviews with color-blind people as a research.

You can find the original post of the film on the video platform vimeo—including the original hebrew version of it. And there is also a short interview with Yoav at: In Animated Film Ishihara, an Exploration of Color Blindness, All in Dots.

I definitely would like to see more of this. Just to make the world know about color blindness and how colorblind people might feel like. And of course to enjoy beautiful animated short films!

Living with Total Color Blindness —Documentary Island of the Colorblind

Oliver Sacks: The Island of the Colorblind

Oliver Sacks is a physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. In 1997 Dr. Sacks wrote a book about tiny Pacific atoll of Pingelap, where the genetic disease of complete color blindness (achromatopsia) is much more common than in the rest of the world.

One year after that BBC made a four-part documentary including the Island of the Colorblind. Hereafter you can watch this video, which is split into six smaller parts.

Watching this documentary you can learn a lot about color vision, how it feels to live with complete color blindness and of course a lot about the people from Pingelap.

Island of the Colorblind — Part 1 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 2 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 3 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 4 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 5 of 6

Island of the Colorblind — Part 6 of 6

If you want to read more from Oliver Sacks, you can visit his personal homepage at www.oliversacks.com.

LED Colorblind

LEDs are great but very troublesome for someone suffering from color blindness! I don’t know why, but the colors used with LEDs are in most cases indistinguishable for me and therefore not usable the way they should be.

Here comes my story which happened just the other day and shows one more time, why colorblind men are suffering under LED lights:

I bought a new wlan router and when I started it up all the lights turned on, one after the other. So far everything ok. But then the connection didn’t work and the story begins.

At this moment I didn’t think about the colors of the lights. They were on and that’s what they supposed to be in my colorblind eyes. So I started looking for the error, tried several settings, restarted the router many times and so on. After about an hour I started to think about the colors of the LEDs: “Are they really green? Or maybe yellow?”

As I couldn’t tell what colors they were I asked my not colorblind son who is 3.5 years old. He started naming the colors from the left side: “Yellow, yellow, red.” — “What?!”

I asked my son again and again. Telling him that he might mix up the colors. In the end he really was mixed up and started to say what I wanted to hear from him, that all the lights show the same light…

Now here comes the funny part of the story: As I couldn’t make it work I called the support line. A nice women tried to help me to fix the problem. When she asked for the colors…. Well, I said for me they look ok, but my son tells me something different. She couldn’t really believe that I couldn’t tell her if one light is red or not. I felt so stupid and I thought she thinks I’m stupid.

After the unfortunately fruitless telephone call I remembered my little tool Seekey. And this time I thought: “Wow! My son is right, I’m wrong, and I’m really so stupid.” Through the Seekey I could see that there really was a difference between the lights. I still couldn’t tell the colors, but at least knew that there is something going wrong.

Isn’t this incredible. Just some little LED lights can make your time sometimes so frustrating. I still can’t tell if the lights are red or yellow. And if you say they are green, I would believe it. — And again my request: If you are working with LEDs make sure that your colorblind friends can also see the colors!

Dear readers,
Tell me and be honest: can you see a difference in color between this picture and the first one? – I definitely can not.

By the way, the story with the broken router was done after a few more calls and a whole afternoon of searching for the bug.

PS: I asked my son one more time to confirm, that the colors are really different. He said: “Yellow, yellow, red” and smiled at me… And hey, my wife just said she would call it green-green-red. Now if even the not colorblind aren’t sure how can I ever be sure? :-)

“Dad, Can’t You See Those Colors?”

I am red-green colorblind and my son is not.

Last week we were with the whole family on ski holidays. It was snowing almost the whole week long. Not really good weather, but anyway we had a good time with all the snow.

One day together with my 3 yo. son we took some plastic plates which are meant to sit on and slide down the hills, like some sort of sledges. One of them in a bright yellow and the other one in a bright green. Both very bright colors.

When we stood on the hill my son said: “I take the green one, you can have the yellow sledge.”

I said: “Which is the green one?”

He looked at me — puzzled. (What does he mean? Why does he ask me that? One is green and one is yellow, that’s for sure. Is my father to stupid to see that?)

My son said: “Can’t you see the colors?”

I said: “No, I’m sorry.”

And I suppose, he forgot about it again just in that very moment. A next situation like this will arrive soon, I’m sure.

Picking Fruits as a Colorblind Man

We have got an appletree in our garden and today I finally found some time (and motivation) to pick all the ripe apples. Besides handling them with care and sorting them out, the toughest part for me definitely was the picking itself.

My red-green color blindness turned out to be quite a handicap while trying to find all the apples on the tree. The apples are mostly yellow with some of them turning red. I also wanted to pick the rotten ones which show any color between yellow-red and brown.

Appletree

Appletree – taken by ms.Tea

As the tree has many green leaves and brown branches it was really hard work to spot all yellow, red and brown apples. Not because they were hidden inside the tree but because I couldn’t really spot them by their color.

The picture here pretty much shows you how it looked like. You might say now, that there isn’t a huge difference between the apple and the leaves even for somebody with normal color vision. But for my colorblind eyes, there is no color difference at all. I can only spot the apple by its shape.

Conclusion: I definitely wont become a fruitpicker—at least not in this colorblind life.

6 Colors are Too Many for a Colorblind Guy

I always try to be smart when I use different colors to point out something. But it happens again and again that I still mix up the colors—even if I put together a good strategy.

This time it happened when coloring a simple graphics illustrating a project lifecycle model. It consists of six modules and therefore I was looking for six different colors for coloring them. And this was where the whole problem started.

How can I choose six different colors from a set of about twenty crayons, which I won’t mix up? The simple answer is: I can’t.

I really tried to find colors which are easily distinguishable even for my eyes. But with my color blindness this is almost impossible. I’ve chosen the following colors:

  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Violet
  • Orange
  • Green

I arranged them in the above order to be sure not to mix them up. The color pairs blue/violet, yellow/orange and red/green looked very close to each other for my colorblind eyes.

But of course it didn’t work. Suddenly I didn’t had the correct order anymore and it started to get problematic. So I didn’t color red and green right away, because they are the most problem colors for a red-green colorblind guy like me. I colored them only after my presentation, when there was more time to have a closer look at the crayons.

So everything was perfect now? Unfortunately not. I couldn’t believe it but someone else (with not color vision problem like me) did point out to me, that I colored two modules in blue…

How could I just mix up violet and blue? I used the wrong color again. Unbelievable but I just can’t distinguish six colors.

And what do I learn for the next time: Ask somebody else to do it for you.

Colorblind Person Taking a Visual Acuity Test

Visual Acuity Test

Visual Acuity Test

I need a new pair of glasses and therefor I went to visit the optometrist to test my eyesight. Just before I shook hands with the optometrist I told my wife, that they are always using those tests with a red and a green half, differing in acuity and my color blindness doesn’t let me name them 100% accurate.

Usually the optometrist asks, if the acuity of red or the green half is better and I answer with left or right just because I’m not sure if I pick the right color name. This time it was even better. After a few tests…

Optometrist: You’ll see a red and a green part.
Me: I’m colorblind.
Optometrist: Oh, doesn’t matter. Just tell me which side is better for your eyes.
Me: I can’t really see the red one.
Optometrist: Doesn’t matter. Just tell me.
Me: Green on the right.
Optometrist: Ok. — And now?
Me: The red has no contrast for me. I can’t really see it.
Optometrist: We will see. Which is better for you?
Me: Green again.
Optometrist: And now?
Me: Green. I can’t see the red. And green doesn’t look sharp at all.
Optometrist: Hmm. — What about this?
Me: Green. But very bad.
Optometrist: Ok. We will switch to another test.

She changed the test to another one which was no problem for me. But after a short while she switched back again to the red and green halves.

Optometrist: Can you see this?
Me: Not really.
Optometrist: Which is better?
Me: Green again. But I can’t see the red.
Optometrist: Ok. — And this?
Me: Green, but very blurry. There is no contrast on the red side.
Optometrist: Well, doesn’t really matter. We go on from here.

Finally. – Finally she understood that I can’t see any contrast on the red side because of my color blindness. It was just impossible for me to compare those two parts.

Only after the test I really realized, how crazy this must have sound to the optometrist. Maybe she encountered the first time someone like me with a strong red-blindness. How strange to hear that someone can’t see although he can see.

But I ask myself, why do they still have those tests in use. Shouldn’t they have learned in the last years? I suppose those tests easily could be switched to another color which is much better visible for us red-blind guys. — Dear optometrists, change your test setup taking also color blindness into account.

Colorblind Men Suffer under LED Lights

I’ve got a laptop and I’m writing this story down on it right now. It has three little LED lights shining steadily and one blinking on an USB device. But which color are they?

A lot of LED lights are used to show you different states of just anything. Either its on or off, connected or not, loaded or empty, working or on hold, not loading or loading, and more. Right now I can think of several devices in my household which have LED lights on them to show me just anything and everything: stereo, router, electrical toothbrush, electrical razor, sawing machine, digital camera and of course my laptop.

Red and Green LED

Red and Green LED by Sebastian Yepes

All of those LEDs want to tell me something, but I can’t see it. Due to my color blindness I just don’t see the difference between those green, red, orange and yellow shades. I can distinguish the blue ones from all the colors above, but this combination is unfortunately not often used.

Have a look at this very nice picture taken by Sebastian Yepes F. He says that this picture is made by a red and a green LED light. I can’t see them.

I mean, I can see the colored circles, but aren’t they in some shades of orange, or maybe yellow, or—oh I don’t know.

LED Rainbow

LED Rainbow by Andrew Hoyer

Or this nice rainbow taken by Andrew Hoyer. Shall I listen the colors I can see: red (or brown?), red (or orange or what?), green (or yellow or still orange), then brighter blue, blue, darker blue.

I definitely like the first three. Unfortunately this are the ones most often used inside electrical devices—which are not designed for the colorblind.

So dear manufacturers of things including LED lights which should tell me something: Please either use blue combined with yellow, which should be differentiable by everyone, or use blinking and non blinking LED lights. Colorblind persons have huge problems with all those little lights in green, yellow, orange and red. And as there are up to 10% of all men colorblind, this is definitely something to think about.

By the way, I never know it the batteries are loaded on my laptop or not just by looking at the battery LED. I either just plug it long enough or ask my not colorblind wife :-)