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Our third Apps Adventure profiles Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH, a Berlin-based multimedia studio that supported polar explorer Børge Ousland in a record-setting expedition to document climate change in the Arctic. Assisting Traffic was post-production house Magna Mana.
As a multimedia studio, nothing gets us more excited than a project that demands film and interactivity to take an audience inside a story. When the story is about a world record Arctic voyage, and a close-up look at global warming, our passion goes totally off the scale.
In 2009, Traffic began working with Norwegian polar explorer Børge Ousland to support an expedition planned for Summer 2010. His goal was to be the first to sail through both Passages of the North Pole in a single voyage, and the first to circumnavigate the Arctic in a single season. A feat explorers have tried and failed to do for 500 years.
Now global warming has melted the polar ice caps to such an extent that an expedition is possible. Børge’s intent wasn’t just to set a record, but provide a visual example of climate change that could reach out and motivate people. To accomplish this, our shared vision was to use film and multimedia to bring the world on the voyage as it was happening. A multimedia event that would use adventure as a draw to education and action.
On June 23rd, Børge and veteran sailor Thorleif Thorleifsson set out from Oslo on a small 31-foot trimaran. On board were several film and still cameras, a laptop, and an Inmarsat satellite uplink. Power came solely from a generator connected to a wind vane.
For nearly four months, the team battled raging storms, maze-like ice fields, lethal shallows and sub-zero temps. Because their small boat had no ice breaking gear, any collision or scrape could have been fatal. Long stops also weren’t possible, because they had to stick to a tight schedule to make it through before winter trapped them in the Passages.
Throughout the journey, Børge was able to communicate and correspond online via regular blog posts, YouTube films, Flickr galleries, and e-mail. The boat was also outfitted with a special tracker, so everyone could follow the voyage in real time via Google Maps.
Behind the scenes, Traffic used Google Apps as our project hub — creating a 24/7 connection between us, the expedition and media partners and sponsors around the world. We worked on pre-production planning in real-time with Docs, updated and shared schedules via Calendar, and the whole team could get a snapshot of the latest content and news via our Google Site. Gmail was the email backbone of the project. Using Google Apps saved an incredible amount of time, and because everything was in the cloud, everyone had access on the ﬂy. Even from the Arctic.
For me, the greatest feeling was being right there with a camera crew — on an Oslo fjord — when the expedition began its final leg home in October. After watching the journey online for months, I was so touched to share the last mile with them in person. Being part of their team is an inspiration to us, and in the months ahead, we’ll continue to explore how multimedia can bring their story of climate awareness to new audiences.