BoW Title: TowerView
Institution: Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Designer: Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Category: Rich Media (audio/film/interactive)

TowerView Videos:

TowerView Overview:

TowerView Tiltshift:

TowerView Timelapse:

TowerView Construction Video:

TowerView Balboa Park Video:

After 80 years, one of San Diego’s most beautiful and enduring landmarks has reopened to the public. The California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park includes stunning 360° panoramic views of Balboa Park, the mountains to the east, the Coronado Bridge and the San Diego skyline to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the gorgeous California coastline to the north. A Tower tour guide provides visitors with insights into the unique history, architecture and cultural significance of the iconic building. The tour also comes with a steep 125 foot climb, which includes a tightly-wound, nearly-vertical spiral staircase, and is limited to 12 climbers per hour. Due to space requirements and physical limitations, there are many people who would love to experience the breathtaking views from the California Tower, but are unable to do so.

The Balboa Park Online Collaborative created TowerView, , a sweeping interactive experience that allows everyone, regardless of ability or limitations, to explore the California Tower without ever leaving the ground. At the base of the Tower, visitors are immersed in majestic live 4k video panoramas displayed in ultra high definition across a 78 inch curved LCD screen. Tapping a simple touch interface on a mounted iPad allows you to select live views to the north, south, east and west. Additional selections offer a sunrise-to-sunset timelapse from atop the Tower, and a tilt-shift video with playful Park vignettes seen from above.

The fascinating history and context of the California Tower adds richness and depth to the tour; those stories are showcased in the TowerView experience as well. BPOC produced seven topical videos, featuring expert voices and rich archival footage: the planning and construction of the Tower for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, San Diego’s bid for the 1915 Exposition, the Tower’s Spanish Colonial architecture, the construction of the California Building, the value of this historical landmark to the City of San Diego, and the electric carillon, which plays the music that can be heard every 15 minutes throughout Balboa Park. A 46-inch touch screen allows visitors to select and view each video as they wish.

Additional Information:
The Balboa Park Online Collaborative leveraged a range of in-house expertise, off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software on this project. BPOC IT staff networked four 4k weatherproof cameras with a fiber connection down the Tower and into a Mac Pro in the gallery space. VLC displays each stream and video in its own virtual desktop, while node.js, HTML5, and Applescript allow the iPad to switch views. The video touch screen is a custom HTML5 application. All photography, video capture, editing and post-production was coordinated and completed  by BPOC. Screens, mounts and UI meet ADA accessibility standards.

TowerView was created by the Balboa Park Online Collaborative in conjunction with the Museum of Man in San Diego. CityTV and Jason Quinn, hardware and networking; Wes Hsu and Andrew Root, developers; Andrew Mandinach, video capture; Brinker Ferguson, video producer and project manager; Chad Weinard, project lead and creative director.