Ephemeral Films Project

This week we are tasked with examining an online exhibit that uses videos. This is an effective way to engage visitors and present footage of a specific event that individuals may not have had the opportunity to view elsewhere. I decided to once again look at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online exhibitions (sorry, I love this site and museum!). I chose the “Ephemeral Films Project,” which provides videos of the Nazi takeover in Austria. These films are from amateur filmmakers and provide exclusive depictions of these historic events.

This online exhibit is not as visually engaging as other ones I’ve looked at on the USHMM website, however it does integrate information and videos in an interesting way. Information on the events occurring in the video is displayed alongside as you are watching the film, providing “a multilayered look at this important moment in time.” While they promote this feature, it isn’t the easiest to follow because it is next to the film in list form and gradually changes as the scenes change (which was not what I was expecting when I first read about it on the homepage). This can cause the viewer to lose track of something they wanted to follow up on. The films are also, obviously, in German and without subtitles. I saw something about a transcript on the side where the information is presented, but with the list constantly changing it disappeared.

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However, there are tabs that allow you to search the film, and that is where I found the transcript. There is another tab that gives you the film info, and instructions on how to use the player (which was needed because of the information display on the side). While I think this is a very useful and interesting site, and frankly something I have never seen before, it definitely isn’t user friendly and requires an individual to mess around with its features.

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One thought on “Ephemeral Films Project

  1. I think the way the site had the information changing as the video changed is pretty neat! But as you mentioned, it would be nice if there was some option that you could use to flag information you want to return to later. It would also be nice if the English transcript also scrolled along with the video, or if it was incorporated as subtitles into the film.

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