Rolling Out the Red Carpet for a New Web Experience
The Sarasota Film Society is a nonprofit and member-supported organization dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry. As film-lovers at GravityFree, and in some cases, filmmakers we were incredibly excited to work with a client who shared our passion for film.
The Film Society came to us with some unique challenges fitting of a organization with multiple venues. How could they more strongly engage with their users, simplify online transactions, reduce their time in managing the content for films, and create a uniquely beautiful experience for online visitors? While all very common requests for any client, with the visitors looking for film information we wanted to make sure we solved everything in a very visual way.
Making It Visual
Movie-lovers connect with visual storytelling. It’s one of the reasons many of them love film. This was an important consideration we made while designing the new website for Film Society. In many cases film sites can focus a lot on advertising or excess text content that can take away from the visual connection most fans have with film.
When visitors go to the Film Society’s website they’re immediately greeted with large backdrop graphics of the latest films. A dark background on the site simulates the feeling you get while sitting in the theater watching the latest release. Patrons don’t have to go far to get started with buying their tickets, a clear call to action at the bottom of the images.
Reinventing How Visitors Engage with Film
But backdrops aren’t the only visual aspect of the new website that is important. We wanted to create a tangible experience based around the tradition of movie posters. Movie posters are historically designed to grab the attention of movie goers and many film fans have connected with posters so much that they’ve become a collector’s item.
Imagine walking down the street and looking at the posters on the side of a theater. You’re able to connect with your favorite actors and get a sense of the theme of each film the designers are trying to share with you. We wanted to share this same experience while visiting through your web browser. As a patron interacts with the poster we created the tangible feeling of three-dimensional space by layering film information. As the film details comes up from a user’s click, the background blurs, but can be seen off in the distance as if far away or behind a pane of privacy glass.
Each movie detail page continues the visual appeal using background texture and poster visuals to make each film page feel unique and individual to a particular film.
Crowdsourcing Film Content
Like any website, one of the most difficult things is dealing with ever-changing content. New films are released constantly and while studios make assets available we wanted to make sure that the Film Society would be able to quickly manage new content without the need for full-time staff adding new films constantly.
To do this, we teamed up with The Movie Database (TMDb), whose community provide studio and film imagery used in leading entertainment applications and entertainment consoles. Through this partnership, we created a customized search system that would automatically pull in assets, trailers, and reviews as the Film Society added new films to the site. This became a “one-stop shop” for all of their assets, keeping them from having to go to multiple locations or track down studio approved content themselves.
Connecting with the Love of Film
The Film Society doesn’t just connect with members in their browser. Members are greeted weekly with an email campaign announcing upcoming films and events at the theater. Each campaign allows recipients to easily buy tickets or read additional information about the film in just a few clicks. This keeps the Film Society connected to their members and helps members stay informed about upcoming information on a subject they love.
What about that film that’s starting in a few months that you want to be sure to see? We thought of those users as well. Visitors can save a film while navigating the website and easily receive a email reminder when the film is scheduled in the theater. It couldn’t be easier for patrons and members to stay connected with current events and upcoming films.
We are very pleased with our new website… working with the GravityFree staff made the whole process a pleasurable experience.
Barbara Caras, PRESIDENT OF THE SARASOTA FILM SOCIETY
Making It Mobile
While movie-goers might love the theater, just like everyone they’re constantly on the go. Making sure we adapted the site appropriately for users on their mobile devices was extremely important to us.
Just like on the desktop version of the website, users get a beautiful visual experience to find the location, look up movie times, and buy tickets all while on the go with their mobile device.
See You at the Movies!
We couldn’t be more excited about how the project came out and the Film Society was right there with us. They immediately got great feedback about the new website that told us we had successfully delivered something their members were enjoying. As the site continues to grow we’ll look at ways to further connect with members and grow their member-base while integrating their love of film into the experience.