Sunday, 7 September 2014

Working Overtime

I know I’ve already Tweeted, and Facebook-ed, and Social Media-ed the video that our team at the Archives put together for a digital exhibition at the Legislative Assembly building - not to mention that my boss beat me to the [blog]punch a few days ago - but I’m really proud of the video and feel the need to shout from the rooftops again. Okay, maybe not shout from the rooftops, since it’s a lot of effort to scale a building and I dodged the radioactive spider, but at least a little explanation of our efforts and achievements are due. 

So the story starts off in late June. The boss had just returned from his vacation in Europe, and we in the Preservation Management Unit and Digital Records Program were steadily working away on a variety of projects. I was waging war against our new OCRing (optical character recognition) software and forcing it to cooperate with our newly digitized microfilmed newspapers (another big project that’s scheduled for launch in November), but when our team was given the opportunity to create a four-year exhibit to commemorate the Great War the boss said yes (we followed suit) - and then started cooking up some wild ideas. 

We’ll find diaries of Sasketonians who lived during the war years, he said.

We’ll scan a whole bunch of never before exhibited materials, he said. 

We’ll research artists, and photos, and make a giant banner (or two), he said.

We’ll get a giant high-definition television, he said.

We’ll make a display of archival material that we can change every year, he said. 

No. We’ll make a MOVIE, he said.

All in four-and-a-half-weeks, he said…

And so we did. Research was conducted: the diaries of soldier-bros were found (seriously, they are brothers), regimental escapades were laughed over, interviews with the 46th Battalion were discovered (otherwise known as the Suicide Battalion), and reams of photos & diaries & scrapbooks were scanned. A voiceover script was written, people were cajoled into reenacting diaries and speeches, a storyboard was constructed, and video segments were parsed together. 

And at the end of it all we wound up with an unsurprisingly fantastic video and accompanying brochure (hello, we’re awesome, and we don’t do things half-assed) that went live on August 4th at the Legislative Assembly Building during the re-commemoration ceremony. Our exhibit will be up for the next four years, with the current instalment lasting until next Spring when it is replaced by a second exhibit of materials which focus on the war during 1915. 

If you’re in Regina you should definitely check it out live (the experience is practically cinematic considering the size of the television that was donated by Radio Centre), and if not you can always check it out on our YouTube channel which I’ve embedded below!

***update: we couldn't upload the HD version of the video until our account was verified, but it's live now so you can revel in the full visual/auditorial brilliance! (It really makes a difference with the newspaper pages, since you can read the smaller type-sets)


  1. A brilliant post Jaimie, thanks for the shout-out. You and the rest of the team did some amazing work in those four weeks. It was crazy-frenetic at times but we pulled through and had a few laughs as bonus. Bravo!!

    Now we need to start thinking about the next installment... ;)

    1. Well someone has to do the PR work for the Archives (and for our amazing unit)!

      I already have some ideas about the next piece, so I'm actually rather excited to get working on it! (Or at least to share ideas, since I switched units)