We unleashed some exciting new features on the Theodore Roosevelt National Park website recently, over in the Photos & Multimedia section. Now that I've manipulated everything imaginable on the site, I'm really quick at creating new pages, links, highlights, and navigation. Maybe some of these cool features will help distract from the photo galleries that inexplicably don't work right.
I'm not a budgeteer, but most of these multimedia projects were from a grant to increase interpretation for the Elkhorn Ranch Site. You will see a common theme in that the Elkhorn Ranch is the centerpiece. However, the principles apply to the whole park's story.
The media was a collaborative effort between park staff volunteers, historian Clay Jenkinson, and a lot of work put in by David Swenson of Makoche Recording Company in Bismarck, ND. He won't get credit on the NPS site, but David is the wizard behind the videography, recording, and editing of the videos. We went in to record tracks for one of the new multimedia files (see below) back in November, but I didn't blog it for some reason. David, as the producer, was the guy telling me to "use your hands while you talk," "not be so rigid," and "imagine the scene as you're describing it," trying to squeeze the best out of each of us who went into that lonely little booth. I was a little bit embarrassed because I had to go second on the day we were at the recording studio and Dan really blew everyone out of the water when he rolled in there and absolutely dominated the studio with his Bill Sewall performance. David was responsible for putting the videos and audio together with some input from the park, and he did an awesome job.
The first file to be completed was a promotional video for the park: http://www.nps.gov/thro/photosmultimedia/trnp-highlights-video.htm
The next two were written and narrated by our volunteer Jen Whitcomb, whose wedding I blogged about last month. One is "Elkhorn Ranch: Birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt's Conservation Ethic," and the other transposes historic imagery on present images of the Elkhorn Ranch, "Elkhorn Ranch: Then and Now."
Last to be completed was a 17-minute audio track intended to set the scene while people drive to the Elkhorn Ranch. Of course, you don't have to wait until then to check it out. This is the one I helped with, as the voice of Theodore Roosevelt. I'm embarrassed to listen to myself; I think I have the cadence of Christopher Walken. Elkhorn Ranch Audio Guide.
So that's that for multimedia audio and video. I also got bored today and created a layer for Google Earth that transposes the traditional park map onto the actual 3D terrain of Google Earth. It's pretty sweet. We posted it in Virtual Tours. Check it out and drop the park a line if you like it, which will help me keep from becoming marginalized as I navigate this park's website from the bottom rung to a top-tier NPS website. If you have the 3D Buildings layer turned on for Google Earth, look for my models of the Maltese Cross Cabin, the Marquis de Mores Chimney, and buildings of Peaceful Valley Ranch all in or adjacent to the South Unit.
Weather turned ugly yesterday as the wind blew out of the north at 30 mph all day and night. It grounded a bunch of birds, noticeably juncos and robins, who were everywhere today. We had less than an inch of snow, but the snow dumped and drifted elsewhere, and most of North Dakota was shut down all day.