iPhone App: Walking Cinema

Walking Cinema: Parkman, Murder on Beacon Hill

This looks good. And I can see why it’s best suited for the iPhone too: that portability is needed (plus, someone is less likely to rip an iPhone out of your hand than an iPad … right now).

Hit the link above to see some interesting videos and text.

It’s $4.99 at the App Store [iTunes link]. If you’re going to Boston, this is something you should get. After seeing the website, now I want to go to Boston, just to use this!

Press release (from months ago!) and two screensnaps after the break:

“Walking Cinema” GPS-based film for iPhones in Historic Boston

“Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill”: PBS film becomes experiential history in Boston’s streets

Boston – November 4, 2009 – Part movie, part stroll, and part participatory theater, “Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill,” is a unique opportunity to walk around in the scenery, conflicts, and artifacts of an historical film. Working with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with the original PBS filmmakers, Untravel Media of Boston has developed a unique iPhone application that leads audiences along a mile path in Boston’s oldest neighborhood strewn with encounters, clues, and artifacts from a true story of a Harvard Professor accused of killing and dismembering the wealthy Brahmin, Dr. George Parkman.

The application is free for a limited time and can be downloaded from the App Store and http://www.parkmanmurder.com. The application features short vignettes that play out in eight stops in Beacon Hill. Untravel has partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital, Liberty Hotel, the Harvard Musical Association, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and several local businesses to offer a hands-on experience of the historical crime. Along the path, location-based videos lead you to strange artifacts—morality board games, riddling ink stamps, crime scene pop-up books—allowing audiences to creatively combine the story with their surroundings for an eerie experience of being caught up in the mystery.

Michael Epstein, CEO of Untravel, calls the project a transmedia extension of the original film. “The idea wasn’t to just reuse the film, but to extend the story into a participatory experience. We tried to pick up certain characters and situations where the film left off and tease out more of their backstory. The mobile version focuses on reconstructing the fateful encounter between Dr. Parkman and Professor Webster in the Medical College laboratory. The College’s ruins are the starting point for the journey and the connective tissue to various artifacts found along the walking path.”

The project was developed in partnership with the Center for Independent Documentary and Spy Pond Productions. The developers will be looking to expand the project next year to historic neighborhoods around the country and develop open source software allowing filmmakers everywhere to create geolocated extensions of their movies.

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