American Experience

Karyn Lu, Tom Banaszewski, Zuley Clarke, Brooke Thompson, Alcides Velasquez

The American Experience Virtual Channel prototype assumes a broadband, video-on-demand environment that merges the rich content of television with the interactivity and archiving capabilities of the world wide web.

The Georgia Tech eTV Prototyping group, in collaboration with the American Film Institute’s eTV Workshop and PBS’s award-winning American Experience series, has created a prototype of an American Experience Virtual Channel, demonstrating how the art of film documentary can be enhanced and deepened through the affordances of digital media.

The American Experience Virtual Channel prototype assumes a broadband, video-on-demand environment that merges the rich content of television with the interactivity and archiving capabilities of the world wide web. The Virtual Channel allows viewers to choose from many season’s programs, and to view new programs with contextualized links to relevant sections of previous documentaries. The result is a deeper understanding of the historical subjects.

The focus of the prototype is Fidel Castro (January 2005). The viewer can watch the film with the option of accessing relevant related clips from other films within the American Experience collection. The intersecting films would also be available to viewers on demand within the virtual channel. The prototype features related clips from The Kennedys, RFK, Reagan, and TR: The Story of Teddy Roosevelt.