The following is a transcript of this video – Listen to a Narrative Within the Grand Canyon Panorama Project. Click on the embedded play button to start it. The video is high definition, and I recommend that you click on the expand button in the lower right-hand corner to play the video full screen.
The Grand Canyon Panorama Project lets you explore the canyon on your own, or, if you choose, takes you on guided narrative tours of the wonders, geology, plants, animals, and history of the canyon. Each location, map or panorama within the project, will, in time with your support, have its own narrative. You can do a virtual hike down a narrated trail, stopping at each panorama point along the way to see the sights. As if this writing, only a limited number of locations within the project have narrations, but more are being created all the time. Follow the project on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when new narratives become available.
Right now we are viewing the panorama for the trailhead on the South Kaibab Trail, which, like all the panoramas on the South Kaibab Trail, has a narrative you can play. Down in the middle of the bottom of the page, there is a large play button. Click it, as I have just done, and the narrative starts to play. You can hear me talking in the narrative in the background, but I’ve turned down the narrative volume so you can hear me while I walk you through it. Notice that all the controls you normally have to explore a panorama on your own, the “what” buttons on the lower left-hand corner of the page, the “how” buttons in the lower right-hand corner, the “list” buttons in the upper left-hand corner, as well as the various exit and social media buttons in the upper right-hand corner, have all disappeared. The narrative is now in control, and you can just sit back and enjoy it.
Now that the narrative is playing, there is a progress bar showing us just how far along in the narrative we are, down in the middle of the bottom of the page, just to the right of where the play button was. I’ve clicked the progress bar just to the left of its right edge, and the narrative has jumped to just before its end. And as it ends we see that all the exploration, exit, and social media controls have returned to the page, and you are back in full control, ready to again explore the panorama your own.
But, just like any audio or video on the internet, you can stop or pause a narrative at any time. I’ve restarted the trailhead narrative by again clicking on the play button, and you can see that the play button has been replaced by a stop button, a pause button, and the progress bar we looked at a little while ago. I’ve clicked on the stop button, and, just the same as reaching the end of the narrative, the narrative has stopped and yielded back control. Notice, though ,that the panorama has kept the orientation it had at the moment I pressed the stop button. When you are watching and listening to a narrative, and the narrative has focused in on some area that you would like to explore on your own, you can just click the stop button and immediately do so.
Similarly, you may wish to explore some area of interest that the narrative displays for you, but after you explore it a bit you’d like to resume the narrative where you left off. I’ve started the panorama again, clicked on the progress bar to advance it a bit, and have now clicked on the pause button, which has now been replaced by a resume button. Note the text to the right of the resume button that says “Resume playing this location”. Shortly we will see how that text can change. But for now I’ve just clicked on the resume button, and the narrative has picked up where we left off. Actually, though, the narrative backed up by just a little bit and then resumed. Each narrative is actually a series of small, very brief chapters, and when you resume a narrative you restart at the beginning of the chapter you were within when you paused, but only rarely will you back up more than a few seconds.
Now I’ve clicked the pause button again, and we’ll now see how that text to the right of the resume button can change. I’m going to start exploring a bit here at the trailhead, but I’m going to move on down the South Kaibab Trail to its next location, the Kaibab Limestone switchbacks, and I’ve clicked on the orange panorama dot marking its location to do so. And now that we’re here at the new panorama location, and looking down at the resume button, we see the text to its right has changed, to “Return to and resume playing” and the name of the location we came from, the trailhead of the South Kaibab Trail. The project assumes that when you pause a narrative and then explore on your own for a bit, that when you resume a narrative you want to pick up just where you left off, even if the narrative you paused is now back in a different location. So now when I click the resume button, as I have just done, we have gone back to and resumed the narrative of the location where I paused . But what if you want to forget about the narrative you paused and instead play the narrative for a location you moved to? Simple – you just press the stop button to end the narrative for the location you came from, then press the play button, and the narrative for your new, current location will begin.
One way that project narratives are different, and more interesting, than regular internet audios and videos is that they contain hyperlinks. We are now going to jump around a bit within the narrative for the South Kaibab trailhead to see and play with them. Here’s a freeze frame of a portion of the narrative where I talk about the rock formations visible from the trailhead on the far side of Pipe Creek Canyon,. The narration has outlined and labelled the formations, and the labels naming the rock formations are hyperlinks. Rolling the narration and clicking on a formation name as I have just done, clicking on Supai, we jump to a page describing the Supai Formation in the outer portion of the project website, which you can read at your leisure, and then, as I have just done, press the browser back button to return to the project location we came from. And here, back at the South Kaibab Trailhead, we see the resume button, which I have just clicked, taking us back into the narration where we left off.
Now we’ll look at some other hyperlinks just a bit further on in the trailhead narration. In this freeze frame, the narration shows us the locations and names of two panorama locations visible off in the distance, Havasupai Point and Point Sublime. Each panorama location is marked by an orange dot, and a label with underlined text for the name. Both the orange dots and the labels are hyperlinks. I’m rolling the narration and clicking on one of the links, the orange dot for Point Sublime, and that ‘s where we’ve gone. This time, however, since we have jumped to another location within the project, we can click on the resume button here at Point Sublime, as I have just done, and immediately return to and resume the narration of the South Kaibab Trailhead, again picking up right where we left off. All panorama location orange dots and underlined text you see within narratives are hyperlinks.
Now we are looking at a freeze frame from near the end of the trailhead narrative. The large orange arrow is also a hyperlink, here inviting you to move on directly to the next location down the South Kaibab trail from here, the Kaibab Limestone switchbacks. The orange arrow invites you to move on to another location in a virtual hike, usually either forward or back on the trail you are located on, but sometimes to turn onto other trails intersecting at your location, or to make a side trip. I’ve clicked on the orange arrow, and we have moved on down the trail to the Kaibab Limestone switchbacks. But note that instead of pausing the narrative, like other narrative hyperlinks, clicking the orange arrow stopped the narrative that we came from. When you click an orange arrow near the end of the narrative, the project assumes you are ready to move on and continue your virtual hike at the next location suggested by the arrow.
Finally, we”ll look an excerpt of a narrative from another South Kaibab Trail location, the O’Neill Butte Saddle. Many narratives include history of the Grand Canyon, and in this narrative I talk a bit about the life, and death, of its colorful namesake, William P. “Bucky” O’Neill. I hope you enjoy watching these little mini-documentaries as much as I enjoy creating them for you.