The IPBCC (for short) is the first piece in Assiniboine Park Zoo’s huge Journey to Churchill project. The IPBCC has three components: a research facility for scientists working on Arctic issues, including polar bears; a transition facility for orphaned and abandoned cubs from the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, and a public exhibit and education space – and that’s where we come in.
We started developing the project in early April, and over the next 10 months worked closely with the exhibit designers, The Portico Group in Seattle, and the Assiniboine Park Zoo interpretive exhibit team, to develop and produce a total of 30 different interactive videos across 13 different stations (in both English and French). The videos feature a variety of stories and information about climate change, polar bears, and polar bear research and conservation.
There are six touch-screen interactive stations featuring profiles of various organizations and individuals involved in polar bear conservation, called “People for Polar Bears.” Each station features one or two documentary style videos about the individual or organization and what they do.
There are also four touch-screen interactive stations, called “You Asked It,” each featuring four different questions about polar bears and climate change asked by students aged 6-18. In all we gather over 150 questions, which was paired down to 16 in the end, each one chosen for their uniqueness and relevance to the other material in the exhibit. We then tasked the staff at the IPBCC and Assiniboine Park Zoo to respond to the student’s questions.
Since the IPBCC is quite new, we also wanted to make sure people understood what it’s all about and why it’s needed. So, we produced two videos about the IPBCC, its partners, the polar bear transition program, and why polar bear conservation is so important.
One of the biggest challenges was producing an animated video called “What’s the Big Deal with Climate Change?” Using classic cell-style animation, mixed with live footage, it’s a frenetic look at climate change, global warming and its impact on us and polar bear populations in the Hudson Bay. Working with award-winning animator Anita Lebeau, we created a ‘Bill Nye’ style character, called Dr. Carl Carbon, who takes us through the history of the earth, carbon, climate change, and what it means for us in only 4 minutes. It was a huge challenge to write, but to date it’s one of our favourite pieces we’ve ever produced.
But we didn’t stop at just producing the video content – we also worked closely with the exhibit designers and hardware supplier to spec the appropriate hardware. We also designed and programmed the interfaces on the units to integrate seamlessly with the information graphics and other elements in the space.
We’re really proud of this project, since it stands as one of the most diverse and challenging projects we’ve ever undertaken, but I think it really shows off what the Centric team is capable of creating.
We had a lot of help from a lot of great people along the way, so big thanks to everyone who was involved in this project – the interview subjects, students, teachers, production crew, The Portico Group, 3DS in Vancouver, Advance Electronics, and of course, all the great folks at the Assiniboine Park Zoo!
Here’s a little video we put together to showcase the work we did. It’s only a small slice of everything, so if you haven’t been already, get out there and check out the IPBCC.