KNIVES OUT
NET|June 2020
Murder mystery film, Knives Out, grabbed everyone’s attention, and so did the fun website that promoted it. Oblio tells Tom May how it created its innovative 3D navigation

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Although you can’t see it in print, this is no ordinary flat and static homepage. View it on your phone, tablet or computer screen, and you discover a dynamic, moving, 3D diorama, mixing up various elements of the movie in an evocative and atmospheric manner. (1) A 3D knife serves the function of a Thrombey family tree. (2) Ornamental pieces on the homepage are populated with family portraits; clicking on them links through to more information on each character. (3) The main navigation for the website. Clicking here opens a panel with the various site destinations: Gallery, Posters, Commentary, Accolades, Shop, etc. (4) A rotating carousel links through to various features and sections within, and outside, the site. (5) A call to action prompts users to scroll down the page, to reveal more of the scene and other characters. (6) The full 3D scene with a LUT applied for accurate colouring and blurring, to show the depth of it all.

One of the big commercial and critical hits of 2019, Knives Out takes the classic Agatha Christie-style whodunnit and gives it a modern twist. Directed by Rian Johnson and boasting an all-star cast led by Daniel Craig, it’s one of the most original and inventive movies of modern times, and so demanded a website that could pull off a similar trick (https://knivesout.movie).

Based in Portland, Oregon, Oblio is a digital studio specialising in the use of digital technologies as design tools. Its award-winning team of inventors, artists, designers and developers has worked on countless projects, including over 50 major motion picture campaigns, so was the perfect fit for Lionsgate. Here, Oblio’s art director Cody Staudenmier and senior developer Scott Agrimson explain how they brought their client’s vision to life.

How did you get the job originally?

CS: This is actually a pretty cool origin story. When the film was first announced, our creative director, Jonathan Hooker, reached out to Lionsgate (who we’ve worked with for years and is always such a great partner) and essentially said, “We love Rian Johnson and would love the chance to work on this film”. From there, Lionsgate trusted us to execute the site, all the way from the early teaser version to what ended up being the site that launched in September of 2019.

What was the brief from Lionsgate like?

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