Footage Farm has a collection of over 25,000 public domain videos maintained as a digital archive. It helps documentary filmmakers, researchers, and historians obtain affordable, high-quality archival material of historical events from around the world.

What we did
Repositioning of the online portal
Logo Design
Brand Assets
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Core Development

The Brief

Footage Farm approached Bokaap Design with a problem: their website was static and unintuitive, making it difficult for customers to find the footage they needed. They had also recently acquired their American counterpart, increasing their footage collection, and needed to streamline their processes.

Footage Farm wanted to revamp their identity and build a website that lets their customers conduct research, download footage previews, and make an online enquiry seamlessly.

They wanted to modernise their identity, technology, and customer experience while retaining the look and feel of a vintage archive.

Setting the Goals

Visual Identity

In terms of the brand language, we adopted a vintage style to evoke a nostalgic feeling but followed the principles of a modern, minimalist design style to construct the new website.

Logo

Footage Farm’s existing logo was a simple typographic logo. For the new brand identity, they wanted a logo with a specific symbol that represented a farm—a cow. Our goal was to include a cow and the words “Footage Farm” in a logo that brings to mind a bygone era.

We wanted the cow to embody Footage Farm’s positioning as an important source for global historical records. We dug deep into prehistoric art, drawing our inspiration for the logo’s cow from cave paintings, which are invaluable as historical records and have been found worldwide.

For the logo’s font, we took inspiration from the wooden signs seen on farms and barns, which look as if the farm’s name is chiselled on them.

UX/UI Design

Interface

We deliberately designed the website so that it didn’t look like a generic stock photo or video website. From the homepage itself, we wanted the website to evoke a physical archive.

We highlighted two things:
  • Footage Farm has an extensive collection that’s now available to search through on the website
  • If users don't find what they need, they can contact the team who will find the right video for them

To connect the website with the archive’s subject of film, we drew inspiration from VHS art. We designed the website’s background to have the subtle grain found in old film footage. We also used thin SMPTE colour bars across the website, which reference the colour bars in NTSC video.

Categorisation

When Footage Farm approached us, their website served as an e-brochure to show that they existed and give users an email address to get in touch. There were limited reels to view and a primitive search function. Users couldn't enquire about any specific footage or download a preview. The website didn’t reflect Footage Farm’s expertise or the breadth of their footage collection.

"Before we even began creating the wireframes, we needed to understand how the client archived the footage and analyse how we could optimise the database to create a friendlier user experience."

Since users would now be able find videos using multiple search parameters, it became clear we’d need to create an organised system that would house the footage in easy to find categories. We suggested the videos be categorised into themes and sub-themes, which they didn’t already have. This would allow users to find videos using the search function or browse through videos that are displayed on the website under themes. It would also allow Footage Farm to maintain a structured database that could scale as they added more videos to their collection. These themes are at the heart of the website in terms of its structure, design, and user experience.

Placing an Order

We introduced a system from which users can filter the themes by country, year, colour, or sound. To make it easy to save research in one place, we introduced the user account where users can log in and save videos or themes instead of copy/pasting individual links elsewhere.

A unique aspect of Footage Farm’s user journey is that their customers don’t purchase footage directly from the website. Since the customer often needs only a specific portion of a larger clip, the process is two-fold: customers conduct their research online and then make an enquiry, after which the Footage Farm team gets in touch and works with the customer to find the exact footage they need.

We designed an “enquiry cart” rather than a shopping cart for the website. Users can keep adding videos to their enquiry cart, specify the video’s time in and out that they want, or make notes or a general enquiry if they need something else. The Footage Farm team will then email the customer to take the purchase process forward, ensuring that the customer only pays for footage once they’re completely certain what they need.

"Building a brand new website from the ground up is a daunting task, particularly for a small business and especially during a global pandemic. We had been recommended Bokaap Design and were not disappointed. From the get go, we felt we were listened to and understood by Niraali and her team. Their expertise not only on the technical aspects of web building but also on branding and marketing were crucial in figuring out the right solutions for us. Communication at all stages of development was always clear and any question we had was answered promptly. In the end, Bokaap was the best partner we could have hoped for to deliver such an important project for our business. We simply cannot recommend them enough and will definitely turn to them again in the future."
- Mat Flasque, Gintare Kriauceliunaite and Gonzalo Chacon, Co-founders

Technology

Database and Search

The success of the entire project hinged on the new database structure. Their existing database, site architecture, and UI couldn’t accommodate their growing footage collection. As a result, Footage Farm had stopped updating their website.

We needed to ensure that the new database was easy for them to use and update as their digital archive grew.

The new database should:
  • Support the improved search function, which lets users research Footage Farm’s entire collection and produces all the relevant results
  • Allow the Footage Farm team to easily find relevant videos when helping customers
  • Allow the Footage Farm team to easily add new videos and themes as their collection grows, without jeopardising the 25,000+ videos already in the database

To create the database structure, we first looked into how people undertake research of historical material. After this, we created the distinct groups we needed each video to be tagged for—theme, sub-theme, year, country/city/region, colour/black and white, etc.

We had taken on the task of cleaning up the data for the entire collection, and it was an enormous challenge working with such a large body of videos. We needed to double check each video—both at the grouping stage and while uploading to the database—to ensure that there were no mistakes that could compromise the database’s integrity.

We also created the algorithm for the search function. Because there are so many variables for each search and video, we spent a lot of time ensuring that a query results in as many results as possible without them being irrelevant.

Leveraging Vimeo

Footage Farm uploads their preview videos to Vimeo, so we didn’t store them on the server as well. All the video clips shared on the website are embedded from Vimeo, making the website light and fast-loading. It also saves Footage Farm the time and effort it would take to upload all the videos to multiple platforms.

Towards the end of the project, they asked us to add a feature that would let users download a preview video. This was a request we hadn’t planned for, and to add this would mean going back to the database and adding the functionality for each video. Given the database’s size, it had the potential to significantly delay the project. We decided to add a download button that would run a query and pull the link from Vimeo itself. We were able to implement this fairly quickly and avoid delaying the project.

Results

The website took many months to build because of the sheer size and scope of the project. We were careful, from the start, to ensure we communicated frequently both with the client and internally amongst the various teams, to avoid any delays. Despite the challenges of working remotely through a pandemic, we delivered exactly what Footage Farm needed to launch their new identity and website and serve their customers in the best way possible.