“Britain on Film” user experience, design & build by Ostmodern

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This week sees the launch of the archive film project “Britain on Film” on the BFI Player.*

Ostmodern have been working with the BFI since 2014 when we were appointed to create the 2nd generation BFI Player which relaunched last year. Since then, Ostmodern and the BFI have collaborated to create the new service, Britain on Film.

Britain on Film reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the BFI National Archive and the UK’s other national and regional film and TV archives. Audiences can discover historical British film footage dating as far back as the 1890s, including many which have never been seen since their first appearance.

Early in the project, it was clear that such an amazing archive of content would have a very personal connection to people, primarily through location, but also through personal interests in subject matter and specific eras. All these are vital in contextualising this footage and bringing it to life in the minds of the audience.


The primary browsing method simply had to be an interactive map, it immediately underlines that these films show real places and people. We wanted to make the best use of the data the BFI has compiled around each film. After analysing the relationships between this data we were able to architect a design where browsing can be filtered by subject and decade. This gives the audience more control over the content they wish to see, especially in the future when more footage will continue to be added to the Britain on Film service.

The visual design of the service is tailored to extend and enrich the existing interface of the BFI Player, using layout, graphics and interactions that will already be familiar to BFI Player customers. Powered by Skylark, Ostmodern’s VoD framework platform, Britain on Film demonstrates the capabilities and flexibility that Skylark enables editors to have.

We feel we’ve created a rich and immersive experience which encourages people to share these extraordinary films with their family, friends and communities.


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