"I've always loved learning about history, and WWII has so many stories to share. This DVD captures those stories and delivers them in an immersive, well-designed experience. The maps alone make the time well spent." —juror Kevin Flatt
"This is a great example of a sprawling documentary brought to interactive media. The amount of content is Ken Burns-like in breadth, yet it's presented so intuitively that I'm left remembering the stories, not the navigation. How often does that happen, really?" —juror Jeffrey Veen
Overview: A set of seven kiosks at the United States Holocaust Museum, "Witness to History" allows visitors to follow the allies from Normandy to the end of combat in Europe. With lush historical stills and footage from Signal Corp photographers, the kiosks tell their story through the words of soldiers and other witnesses to the events.
• 3-D animated maps
• Over 1/2 hour of historical video footage
• 9 people, 4 months
Comments by Jeremy Clark:
"One of the challenges with this project was to communicate the movement of the Allied troops through Europe while giving the viewer a general sense of where and when the featured photographs were taken.
"We accomplished this with interstitial 3-D movements of a flat, stylized map of Europe created from the perspective of the soldiers. The visual treatments reflect the historicity of the period—from the map details to the typography and newsreel motion graphics—and the animated map helps communicate the progress made by the troops. With a native resolution of the kiosk monitors at 1,280 x 768, it was a challenge to get these full-screen animations to play smoothly.
"While watching visitors interact with the kiosk, it was interesting to see how most of the older users would sit back and watch the entire 30 minutes, like a television documentary, while younger users tended to interrupt the animations and dive right into the interactive photo gallery.
"After launching the project at the USHMM, the response was extremely positive and the client wanted to create a DVD version that people could take home and watch. While the linear, narrative nature of the content lent itself well to this format, we had to reformat some sections of it for a much smaller resolution, re-calibrate the colors and create DVD menus that would work on a variety of commercial DVD players."