Documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, released this week, not a new documentary but an iPad app, also called Ken Burns. The application is a collection of short streaming videos, spanning the history of the U.S., from 1776 to 2000.
The app consists of playlists of documentaries covering six themes: Art, Hard Times, Innovation, Politics, Race, and War. Each of these categories includes subjects ranging from The Gettysburg Address, the emergence of jazz, the Japanese internment and other related war events, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the history of baseball. Most of the app’s content is based on excerpts from Burns’ films, such as The Civil War, Jazz, Brooklyn Bridge, Baseball, Prohibition, Mark Twain, and The Central Park Five.
The Innovation playlist of videos is available for free, while the five other playlist categories are sold as in-app purchases for $9.99. The full version of playlists include exclusive interviews with Burns, and more than three hours of video.
Each video excerpt also includes a link to the original film that can be downloaded from PBS, iTunes, or Netflix.
The iPad app complements the official online site, Ken Burns America, which includes a vast collection of films, film clips, interviews, documents, classroom lesson plans and resources, and behind the scene production footage for Burns’s documentaries. The site allows users who create a PBS online account to save individual pieces of content and notes to a “personal scrapbook” for later review.
The Ken Burns app is only compatible with the iPad running iOS 7 or later, and is optimized for Retina Display.