Being huge film buffs at FX, we’re always buzzing at the latest trailer releases and even curate regular ‘Sketch a week’ posts on our twitter account @wearefxdigital to celebrate any new releases. Along with this, we’re also quick to visit the associated websites for these films, and more than often we love what we see! From simple and effective displays of majesty, to the more artistic and interactive webGL experiences, here are our favourite film websites.
- Jurassic World (jurassicworld.com)
Jurassic World took a few critics by surprise, following a staggering $208,806,270 pull on its opening weekend (http://pro.boxoffice.com/). But although some film critics were not anticipating this, the Jurassic World team were working hard to increase their audience before the reel had even started spinning.
jurassicworld.com provides a hugely different user experience from a typical film sites promo and ticket sales approach. Upon landing on the site, rather than being met with any sort of sales pitch to see the film, users are shown a stylistic control panel of park stats (such as park tempature and capacity) along with a themed menu to navigate a fictional park. The idea of the approach is to give the audience that ‘Disney World’ vibe and excitement of purchasing tickets to visit the park.
The attention to detail is emphatic. Menus fold away in an origami style animation, similar to an interaction people have come to expect in gaming environments and a park map is provided to fully immerse the user into the Jurassic World experience. Amongst the content is a ‘Park Cam’ showing various scenes of people currently attending the park. This content is made up of hours of unseen footage shot during the filming of Jurassic World and not used in the final cut. And it changes regularly, depending on your visit to the site the characters in the scenes could be enjoying a pleasant walk around the park or scattering all over the environment in fear for their lives!
Of course all of this serves a purpose. And you could argue that the jurassicworld.com site helped to build exciting around the impending launch of the site. As well as the usual click through from the site to purchase tickets, a Jurassic World website subreddit was even founded to give users a medium to share their easter egg findings on the site, and to broadcast as and when the cams were updated.
It’s perhaps testament to the site that it is still going strong even 2 months after the May 29th US release of the film.
- Tomorrowland (takemetotomorrowland.com)
Although it’s considered a bit of a flop by some critics, having only taken $33,028,165 on it’s opening weekend (http://pro.boxoffice.com/), Tomorrowland can still hold it’s head high with the impressive digital offering on the ‘ Take Me To Tomorrowland’ website. The site is a great showcase of what’s possible with WebGL, and delivers stunning visuals with a story telling narrative throughout.
Upon landing on the website, and following a relatively brief load, users are placed in a corn field environment with a subtle breeze running through it’s pastures. Narration accompanied by a stylistic diamond shaped text box with a description, encourages the user to click and drag to turn around on the spot to reveal what is behind them. Upon turning, the stunning scenery of Tomorrowland comes into view in the distance, and whilst this in itself is very aesthetic, we cannot help but interact with the mouse drag a little more, such is the effectiveness of the very slight ‘wobble’ animation during the movement, which gives a real sense to us that we are in fact controlling a human, complete with a head on some shoulders.
Upon clicking on the marker that hovers over the distant view of Tomorrowland, users are taken to the ‘Bridgeway Plaza’. The Plaza acts as a grand entrance, and from here users can explore the various areas of Tomorrowland.
Each area tells the Tomorrowland story that little bit more, and the animations that reveal the content are simple yet beautiful. The transform and expand on the paragraph text for the information boxes, and the scale on the diamond pop ups are great, but my personal favourite is the rotating hexagonal fill that highlights how much of an information pane has been read.
The combination of the subtle animations, alongside the impressive WebGL experience, make the Tomorrowland environment a joy to navigate. So in spite of the box office performance, I have no doubt Tomorrowland will occupy a few imaginations for some time to come!
No crazy film web site list would be complete without the incredible Gravity website, and in particular the ‘Spacewalk’ section of the site.
After loading, the user finds themselves in orbit of Earth, and it’s not long before a large collection of space rubbish finds it’s way round to interrupt our otherwise pleasant observation of the planet we call home.
Following the space rubbish interruption, complete with breathlessness, the user is introduced to the controls and can navigate around the space environment using their mouse.
Users are encouraged to ‘thrust’ towards various objects in the environment, including the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Telescope. For those less patient spacewalkers, the HUD includes buttons that allow the user to click to zoom to the object in question.
The Gravity experience is no doubt the most immersive of those mentioned in this list, and I for one was encouraged to watch the film after enjoying the website… it also helped that Google Play gave me the Gravity film for free.
- Big Hero 6
Disney launched an interactive WebGL experience to accompany the release of the Big Hero 6 film. Unfortunately, much to the dismay of the films following, the site has since been removed.
The site included some incredible page transitions, complete with sound FX for hover and click events.
Such a happening begs the question… where do great sites go when they die? Perhaps a website hall of fame wouldn’t go amiss?
- Interstellar (www.interstellarmovie.net)
The site built to accompany the Interstellar movie is inspirational. The precision that has gone into the transitions throughout the site, is quite exceptional.
A familiar load effect made up of a collection of stars expanding and then collapsing, smoothly covers any slight load time between pages on the site, and is the first thing a user sees when landing on the homepage. After loading, users can relax and enjoy a vertical scrolling carousel, that cleverly pulls images out of focus, and swipes them downwards to be replaced by a second image that is then pulled into focus.
Beyond this, clicking ‘Videos’ initiates a creative swipe transition into the video page, from here users can click to view one of the 4 videos available, with each button having a subtle vertical bar hover effect. The ‘click and drag’ gallery and the minimalistic downloads section are also fun to use despite being traditionally static in most websites.
The mini games are also good fun, and I’ve lost a good 10 minutes of my life trying to launch a space rocket, admittedly being in an uncontrollable spin for most of my flight.
The latest and greatest in websites for film releases are pushing technologies, in particular WebGL, to their potential. They’re a great excuse to go bigger and better, and as film budgets grow this trend is sure to continue.
For now, we’re delighted to be a part of what is a growing, exciting and fun industry… digital for the film and entertainment industry.
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