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Interactive Annual 13:

Red Bull Fusion

Launch Live Site Launch Cached Site

“I’m scared to go back to the site in fear that I’ll never get any work done.” —Jeff Benjamin

“To begin with, the idea of being able to scratch video from the various Red Bull sites was pretty cool. I was also pretty impressed with the variety they managed to present.” —Jason Zada


Overview: Using this unique mixing site, users can create one-of-a-kind videos by “scratching” their mouse over the screen—like a DJ with vinyl. Pressing numbered keys adds graphics and competitive users can build their skills and challenge each other to mix-offs.

  • Images pulled from 50 external sites
  • 3 original music tracks
  • User-assisted, beta-driven development

Creator’s Comments: Red Bull Fusion was designed based on a rapid prototype methodology. Our first three prototypes were based on scratching behavior, akin to a DJ scratching on vinyl, but without a music track. Adding the music went a long way to improving the experience—in the end, though, it wasn’t enough.

“Every Friday, we’d observe users playing the latest version, of the latest prototype, of an online interaction we hoped would engage them in the same way as playing a musical instrument or a video game.

“We wanted to see them lean into the screen, move their bodies back and forth with the music, hear them shout and jump up and down. We wanted to see self-expression become almost competitive; we wanted them to look at their friends and say, ‘Lets see you do that!’ We were disappointed when the reaction was, ‘I don’t get it. What am I doing and how is this cool?’

“We realized that scratching alone wasn’t enough. The big breakthrough came when we used the scratching behavior in combination with video. At that point, users really got into it, and the transition between flowing video along with dynamically generated image bursts triggered by scratching was a lot of fun. It allows the experience to always be in motion.

“But even then, everyone’s mix basically looked the same because it didn’t require any skill to be good. The missing element was ‘firing,’ which allows users to drop new graphic elements and sounds into their mix. The behavior adds a new element of complexity to a user mix and is most effective when it’s done to the beat. We knew we had something when one of our young users looked back at us with a big smile on his face and said, ‘This is legit!’” —Christopher Follett

Credits:
Christopher Follett, executive creative director
Eric Campdoras/Shane Elliott/Ezekiel Flores, Flash programmers
Gordon McNee, design director
Parker Paul, video director
Purepost, sound engineer
Craig Prehn, contributing video artist
Avenue A | Razorfish, project design and development
Red Bull, client