Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New "Kanaka" splash page and more ...

I can tell we're getting close to releasing Version 1.0 of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app, because so many of the abstract ideas we have had about this project are becoming concrete. The image above is one of those small details, a splash page that lets users/learners know they are moving into this particular "Kanaka" module. The user won't actually do anything with this screen, but it will serve as a visual transition into the interactive Kanaka story.

And a couple of important prototype screen shots to share, too, courtesy of technical consultant Joe Oppegaard. The first one shows the main module selection screen at this point. So, the user would open the app, get to this screen, and then choose the module in which to experience (then the splash screen above would launch, followed by other content). Since we are starting with "Kanaka," that is the one bar shown here. But in the near future, we will have various other bars from which to choose, all leading to different content, like a different game cartridge/disk leads to a different game.

Every node of content we create also will have some sort of user feedback loop included. Here is an example of one of the prompts that will pop up, and users will be asked to fill in the data box. That data then will be routed to a particular storage file and, in one of the later phases of the project, we will publish the user responses on a Web site, hopefully live, so users at home can monitor and interact with users on site. That publishing phase is down the road in the development plans, but we are thinking about it, as we create this phase of the project.

Feedback is always welcome! We are trying to develop this project as much in the open as possible. So feel free to post comments here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Early imagery of the FVM project

Whipped this mini-poster together quickly as a way to help people begin to visualize what the Fort Vancouver Mobile project is: an innovative and new way to share historical interpretation through mobile devices. This historically based digital media -- video, audio, text, animation -- is being integrated specifically into physical locations (pinpointed by GPS) to create mixed-realities, with users/learners sometimes alternating, sometimes blending digital and physical worlds through their mobile phones.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Video production for version 1.0 is finished; thanks, Troy!

After a marathon editing session on Saturday, Sept. 11, videographer Troy Wayrynen and I finally have finished putting together the five video clips that will be included in version 1.0 of Module 1. We decided to try first saving those in mp4 format, at a size of 320X240, in an effort to make small usable files (less that 2 MB) that could be streamed easily. Once we get the kinks of the mobile delivery system of the app out of the way, then I suspect we'll want to increase the resolution to take advantage of the fabulous HD-quality videos we produced. We also are considering posting the high-quality versions of the videos on the web, for users to be able to watch at home. We suspect that will appeal to those who have seen the smaller versions on site and then want to see the high-quality renditions, or for those people who can't make it to the fort, for geographical or some other accessibility issue.

Videographer Troy Wayrynen

Troy really deserves a lot of credit for his effort on this project, which truly was on a shoestring budget (we used a shoestring one time as a way to give William Kaulehelehe, played by Frank Van Waardenburg, a tie for his costume). At every shoot, Troy worked harder than anyone, often just reacting on the fly, coming up with solutions for the various issues that arose, from lighting to blocking to narrative holes. And the quality of his work on this project was exceptional in every way, extremely creative and ambitious. The final videos you see in Module 1 are almost entirely the result of Troy's vision and talents, and there simply is no way this project could have been made without his unbelievably high work ethic and generosity and continual push to make better images and final videos.
Just one quick example: We started the final round (of at least five different rounds) of video editing at 6 a.m. Saturday, and by about midnight, I could hardly keep my eyes open. We still were trying to finish the last clip. I had no ideas left. The video clearly needed something more, and Troy just kept innovating and experimenting with different Final Cut techniques, until he finally devised a complex concept of layering two clips that also included animating a historical document underneath it all. I was blown away not only by his vision and imagination but also that he just never gave up and never conceded, that the clip was going to be the best one we could make. When you see these videos at the fort, I think you will know what I mean. It is going to be very exciting to share them with you soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The cutter and Kaulehelehe

Fort Vancouver's Chief Ranger Greg Shine and I were talking about the Fort Vancouver Mobile project a week and a half ago, and Greg asked how else he could help.
I said we were trying to create a scene in which the protagonist of module 1, William Kaulehelehe, arrived at the site in the mid-1840s, and if Greg could get the Lady Washington to pull up to the beach, and unload Kaulehelehe, that would be fabulous.
Without missing a beat, Greg suggested we might instead have Kaulehelehe arrive on a cutter, and the fort staff and volunteers just so happen to have a cutter, built under the supervision of Douglas Brooks, and a training program for volunteers eager to get some use of the vessel.

So visual editor Troy Wayrynen and I suddenly were on the north bank of the Columbia River on Thursday night, Sept. 9, between 6 and 8 p.m., with ranger Douglas Halsey and cutter coordinator Jeff Cool -- plus the crew: Craig Webster, Dan Ochoa, Mike Twist, Cassie Anderson, Garron Guest and Ben Coder -- all in period costumes, escorting our Kaulehelehe (the fabulous Frank Van Waardenburg) to shore.

William Kaulehelehe (played by Frank Van Waardenburg) on the cutter on the Columbia River.
The cutter could not reach the beach, so Doug Halsey hopped out of the boat, in water about up to his knees, and Frank climbed on, piggy-back style, and was carried to shore. Doug told me that was the customary way of getting gentlemen to the beach in those days, and he even bowed and gave Kaulehelehe a tip of his hat. It was quite a scene, and I am so very thankful to all of those who took part in making it happen, from Greg Shine to the cutter crew, Troy, Frank, and especially Doug, for helping to put the effort together, and then volunteering to be the crew member who carried William to shore. It was one of the most memorable moments I have had with this project so far, and it just illustrates the kind of generosity and selflessness of everyone who has worked on Fort Vancouver Mobile effort to date. What an amazing group of people we have around here!