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Garret Wagner, associate creative director
Hillman Curtis/Michel Suissa, creative directors
Hillman Curtis/Gabe Garner, programmers
Ethan Smith, contributing artist
Hillman Curtis, production artist/video director
Kathryn Quinlan/Candace Reid, producers
Michael Pollock, executive producer
Homera Chaudhry, project manager
hillmancurtis, inc., project design and development/design firm
Sideshow Creative, client

“The combination of a simple visual navigation tree and images of people with placards to display content is unique and engaging. It was obvious that this agency thinks a little differently and I was drawn to look at the work.”—juror Bryan Finke

“The simplicity of the design, with the animated branching lines, is a refreshing departure from the visual overload of many sites—it makes the work stand out. The images for the different sections effectively humanize the site and offer a nice balance to the minimalist navigation.”—juror Allegra Burnette

Overview: The witty blend of demonstration and information separates this video production house’s online reel from the competition. Transparent information hierarchy gives visitors a zero learning curve experience; navigation and content are cohesive and seamless.

• A simple Flash file structure totaling 750k used to deliver high-bandwidth video clips
• Stop-motion animation shot with a Panasonic camera
• Edited in Final Cut Pro and exported as sequential JPEGs
• Video was compressed using Squeeze Spark Pro
• 3 months, 3 people

Comments by Hillman Curtis:
“Before I started this job I was fairly burnt out, based largely on a feeling that I was becoming self-referential and repetitive in my design work. With this project, I was challenged to push it a bit.

“My style, my whole design philosophy, centers around a minimalist aesthetic. With this job I was encouraged to design a big, broadband-only site, something, oddly enough, I’d never done before. It provided me with a perfect opportunity.

“The company, Sideshow Creative, is relatively new and growing fast and wanted something ‘different.’ The site serves up high-quality video for a ‘concept-through-completion’ post house—thus, the broadband-only decision.

“We arrived at the navigation scheme based on a comment by the company’s president early in the discovery phase. He mentioned the company’s use of applications like Discreet’s Inferno and Flame, which use node/tree-based interfaces. We added curves, colors and motion to our navigation tree to give it an organic feel, as though it was underwater or floating in space.

“The site is totally dynamic, done in Flash and XML, and all of the video is compressed and streamed through Flash, which negates the need for multiple video plug ins (QuickTime, Real, or Windows Media Player). We learned a lot about Flash’s capacity to play large video files and came away convinced that it’s the real deal.

“I especially like the feature where you can center justify the video, temporarily fading everything else on the screen, allowing for complete focus on the content.”


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