Karachi Circular Railroad


A still from the Karachi Circular Railroad prototype

Launch the demo »

Note: Not all links in prototype are live.
Team: Ivan Sigal, Elizabeth Kilroy, Gary Chan, Steve Maing.

About the Project: This nonlinear interactive documentary immerses viewers with the sights and sounds of Karachi, tracing the path of the defunct Karachi Circular Railroad to explore the city’s neighborhoods and topographies.

Technology: This prototype can only be viewed in Chrome.

  • BigVideo JS: This jquery plugin from John Polacek makes it possible to add fit-to-fill background video to websites. It can switch a still image for the video on devices that don’t have auto play for ambient video. This Hackathon concept is based on ambient video and still photography so this plugin is a must.
  • Video.js: Big Video uses Video,js from Zencoder, an open source HTML 5 Video Player. The Video.js API allows you to control the video through JavaScript or trigger event listeners, whether the video is playing through HTML5, flash, or another playback technology.
  • JavaScript: There are several times we uses custom javascript to time the length of videos and have them load another video when one completes.  We also used custom JavaScript for hidden button areas to bring you back to our main drone page. This was done for speed when we were presenting and would not be used in future versions. We also used JavaScript to make image rollovers.
  • Google Fonts: We imported the font Source Sans Pro from Google fonts.
  • HTML5: This is the skeleton core of any web page so all pages use HTML5. We used HTML5 audio controls to play mp3 sound files.
  • Photoshop: We used PS for building the circular navigation elements on the mini site. We also used it for resizing, converting and compressing very large Camera Raw files. All the images used on the site were re-sized via Photoshop.
  • Final Cut Pro: Final Cut was used to edit the video and stills with ambient audio that are triggered during the program navigation.
  • jQuery.min.js: a compressed version of jQuery.js. This is one of Big Video dependencies and is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML
  • jQuery-ui.min.js – jQuery UI is a curated set of user interface interactions, effects, widgets, and themes built on top of the jQuery JavaScript Library and is also a Big Video dependency.
  • Modernizr.js: A JavaScript library that detects HTML5 and CSS3 features and allows developers to test for some of the new technologies and then provide fallbacks for browsers that do not support them
  • Normalize.css: A small CSS file that provides better cross-browser consistency in the default styling of HTML elements
  • Miro and MPEG Streamclip: We used these tools to convert camera video to HTML5 web friendly video. This converts very large files and compresses them and allows you to save them as various web friendly files types which work on different browsers.

Photo: Gary-Yau Chan

Gary Chan (Technologist) is a front-end developer, designer and entrepreneur who has attended more than forty hackathons. He is interested in utilizing technical skills in assisting not-for-profit endeavors.

» garyyauchan.com
» Gary-Yau Chan on LinkedIn


Photo: Sam Kilroy

Elizabeth Kilroy (Designer) is a award-winning web designer and adjunct professor. Along with classes in Multimedia & Transmedia, Intro to New Media, Web Design and Visual Thinking, she teaches in the Magnum/NYU Human Rights Summer Program. She is an ITP graduate.

» callandesign.com
» @callande
» whatworksdoc.org
» 7 New York Stories


Photo: Stephen Maing

Steve Maing (Media Maker) is a New York based filmmaker. He is a fellow of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and a grant recipient of the MacArthur Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Independent Television Service. He recently directed two New York Times short documentaries and has produced and directed an on-going series of short films about policing and the criminal justice system, The Hunted & The Hated and The Target. His recent film High Tech, Low Life won Best Documentary awards at the Independent Film Festival of Boston and the Little Rock Film Festival, and Best Cinematography at the Woods Hole Film Festival. Most recently, Stephen was awarded a 2013 Grierson Award, one of the U.K.’s highest documentary honors in the category Best Newcomer Documentary. Stephen works on documentary and narrative films as a director, editor and cinematographer and teaches summer classes in documentary cinematography at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.

» High Tech, Low Life Official Site
» stephenmaing.com
» @HighTechFilm
» @mainmaing


Photo: Ivan Sigal

Ivan Sigal (Media Maker) is the executive director of Global Voices, a non-profit online global citizen media initiative. He is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He is the author of White Road (Steidl, 2012), a two-volume book of photography and writing about Central Asia.

» Global Voices
» ivansigal.net
» White Road
» @ivonotes

Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.