Public Broadcasting in Public Places

    Public Broadcasting in Public Places brought prime-time national PBS programming to audiences beyond public television in 2007. Funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this groundbreaking digital initiative presented a new concept for interactive kiosks designed to provide entertaining and engaging storytelling.

    Working closely with Series producers Lyn Goldfarb, Paul Espinosa and Emiko Omori, interactive producer Jed Riffe and interactive designer/programmer Emrah Oral (Jed Riffe Films + Electronic Media) created four custom-designed interactive kiosks using Apple iMac touch-screen computers. Each kiosk featured specially edited clips with content from the California and the American Dream Series. We also created an interactive California Trivia Game, a contest where users could win DVDs from the Series, and programmed an on screen keyboard where email addresses could be entered beginning a two-way dialogue.

    The kiosks were installed in locations across California including: the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, CA; the California Museum of History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento, CA; the Price Charities Civic Complex in San Diego, CA; Goggle’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, CA; the 2008 International Ecological Farming Conference in Pacific Grove, CA; the Grace Hudson Museum in Mendocino, CA; Santa Cruz County Fair and the Center for Sustainable Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz.

    In October, 2007, the kiosks won a Golden Plaque for best interactive “Visitor Center’s Presentation” in the Chicago International Film Festival’s INTERCOM Competition. The award followed the national premiere of Public Broadcasting in Public Places at the Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media Opening Plenary at the Council of Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations in San Francisco.

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    Project History

    In 2006, Lyn Goldfarb, Paul Espinosa and Jed Riffe, Series Producers of the California and the American Dream television Series approached the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with an innovative idea to an bring high quality public television content to public places outside the traditional PBS audience setting. We called it Public Broadcasting in Public Places.

    In January of 2007, we received funding from CPB and contracted with Jed Riffe Films + Electronic Media to produce the interactive program. Multimedia designer and programmer Emrah Oral and interactive producer Jed Riffe created the design which used an Intuitive Realtime Playback Branching structure featuring nineteen 1-3 minute clips, programmed in Flash, from each of the four documentaries which comprised the California and the American Dream Series.

    Emrah Oral designed and programmed both the visual graphic interface in Flash and a virtual on-screen keyboard. Oral and Riffe worked closely with Georg Colberg a woodcraftsman artist in West Berkeley who fabricated the body of the kiosk. Troll Touch, a Valencia, California based company was selected to install their TouchSTAR3 touchscreen technology in the iMac Intel 2 Core Duo computers that were to be used in the kiosks. An onscreen keyboard module was added to the user survey and feedback database module, and provisions for wireless broadband access were built into the system for remote content updates and database retrieval. The unique design allowed for a custom audio setup, which consisted of Altec Lansing amps and speakers.

    The doors at the back of the kiosk allowed access to the administrator controls and ports, including USB and IEEE1394 for admin access, audio and fan controls, surge protector and AC transformers. Meanwhile in the programmers’ shrine section of Jed Riffe Films + Electronic Media, the first beta-testing sessions began. Once the multimedia Flash modules and user interface were working flawlessly, a California “Trivia” game was designed and programmed. Users could also type in their email address for future updates, to win a prize, and receive information about The Series and the PBIPP program. The incentive allowed the producers to collect users email address to engage users in a two-way conversation as part of The Series Civic Engagement Campaign. In this case, the participant could win a free DVD of one of the four episodes of the California and the American Dream Series.

    After countless hours of rigorous overall beta-testing, the Kiosks were ready. Here we were, ready to install the first kiosks. In less than three and a half months, the project was completed. It was an exciting time for the entire team the day we took our first kiosk to the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, California. Interactive producer Jed Riffe and Series Producers Paul Espinosa and Lyn Goldfarb successfully negotiated the placement of the four kiosks at different locations for a one year period. These included: 12 months, 4 kiosks, 10 locations. It was a challenge and it was fun.     click here to close


Best Interactive Visitor’s Center Presentation
Chicago International Film Festival’s 2007 INTERCOM Competition

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