Ken Burns and Lynn Novick spent over six years researching, planning, recording and editing their documentary film “THE WAR.” This was not a litany of armies, maps and strategies, but a heart-felt and compelling story of how “the war affected people in every house, on every street in every town in America.” As long time fans of Ken Burns’ work, Interactive Knowledge was honored to work with PBS and producing station WETA to build the companion website.
Every Ken Burns production is a showcase event for PBS — one that requires nearly a year of planning between the marketing, education, broadcast, and online divisions of PBS and WETA to coordinate the delivery of the film, website, soundtrack CD, book publication, press releases and teacher guides. IK attended regular “War” meetings at WETA and weekly phone conferences with the PBS production team.
THE WAR website was created as an educational resource to support the film and provide access to content edited out of the final cut. IK created a database of nearly 900 photographs, documents, letters, newspapers, newsreels and radio recordings that were gathered during the research process. Also available on the site were many of the personal interview video clips from the “witnesses.” Learn how we built THE WAR database »
The filmmakers felt that the site should be a clean, elegant design with limited use of color. IK worked closely with director/producer Lynn Novick to get the content themes, site organization and visual design that best represented the stark, serious tone of the film.
While building THE WAR website, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) contracted IK to design and build StoryShare as the first online tool for PBS stations to post text and video stories from the public. Since its launch in 2007, StoryShare has been used in several other PBS sites including CARRIER, We Shall Remain and National Parks.