The Build Webpicks

The Build

Instrument’s interactive film documentary follows three custom motorcycle builders.

The Build,” by Portland, Oregon-based Instrument, is an interactive film documentary about three local characters in the custom motorcycle-building industry. The film, the first-ever project for Instrument Labs, was the perfect chance for the team to explore new ways to distribute content, as well as pair emerging technology with traditional storytelling. The result is a browser-based multimedia experience using only HTML5 and JavaScript.

“The visual style is inspired by modern custom motorcycle culture,” said Vince LaVecchia, partner and director of operations at Instrument. “Under the hood, the site is very high-tech and sophisticated, yet we wanted the experience to feel handcrafted, human and a little bit off-the-cuff. This was achieved through the hand-drawn sketches and typographic elements. In the end, we created over forty custom illustrations ranging from ‘The Build’ logo itself to the animated icons in the ‘Casey’s shop extras’.”

Users can enter the site from the perspective of each of the three characters of the film. Depending on who the user chooses, the film will reorder the chapters automatically, without breaking the continuity of the narrative.

Each frame of the film is stored as a high-resolution JPEG (over 53,000 in total) and is referenced by time-code when a visitor chooses to download a still image from the film. A social graph (visible upon pause) highlights which frames have been shared the most.

A core group of six, with assistance from outside developers for small portions of HTML/CSS/Java development, spent three months building the site.


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