Today we sit down and ask some questions to Craig of Firstborn Multimedia, an excellent flash design that puts out some truly excellent and fun work.
Q: Hello Craig, how’s everything going? Mind introducing yourself along with Firstborn to all of our readers?
My name is Craig Elimeliah, I am a producer at Firstborn Multimedia. I have been designing, developing and producing interactive websites and applications for about 9 years now. I actually started my design career while in rabbinical school in Jerusalem. Upon returning to the States in 1997 I got myself a job at a MAC lab in a private school in NJ where I scored some free equipment and software and the rest is history. I owned an interactive firm called Pixelon Design and then a software company called Fashionware, after I sold Fashionware I joined Firstborn.
Firstborn is one of the top interactive development firms in the world. We have an amazing team of designers and developers and very talented producers.
Q: When did Firstborn first come about, and how many people make up your team?
Firstborn is turning 10 this year, a real achievement for an interactive shop. Firstborn was started by Michael Ferdman, Vas Sloutchevsky and Mark Ferdman. Today Michael is the sole owner. Firstborn has about 30 employees and is always looking for passionate and talented people who love the interactive realm and work really hard. What separates us from most other companies is that we are comprised of many different personalities that all bring something different to the table. We are all about hard work and dedication, we all love what we do and we are very privileged to be able to work with the world’s top brands and best projects.
Q: One of your most recent projects was for Microsoft Forefront. Mind explaining the process that was involved in putting together this project, and what it’s like to work with big companies (Macy’s, Victoria Secret, MTV, etc)?
Microsoft Forefront was a really exciting project to work on; I flew out to LA and took along Tim Nolan (fellow producer) and John White (art director extraordinaire) to shoot the video for the site. We had an amazing time working with McCann SF in Hollywood and our insistence on high def video and other various flash considerations paid off big time, McCann really allowed us to take the reigns and produce something special.
We were absolutely obsessed with taming alpha video on the web, we had gotten so many crappy assets in the past we knew that this was the project where we were going to solve all of our alpha video mysteries and produce a site that was going to be comprised of ONLY video assets.
Alon Zouaretz programmed the hell out of this site and made it all come together. He is an absolute genius when it comes to site structure and organization. Joon, our creative director, did the amazing effects for the intro and everyone else in the company stepped in and helped out with the GIGS AND GIGS of raw video.
It was truly a company wide collaborative experience and I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to head it up as the producer. We are all very proud of the results and Microsoft is just as happy.
My latest round of projects included brands like Axe, Intel, Samsung, Microsoft, some work for a famous hip hop star and a really fun site for Perdue. As you see I have been really lucky this year to have worked on all of these high profile brands. Firstborn attracts the best clients out there and we always deliver big time. We also do a lot of projects that we can’t even mention, also major brands and successful sites.
Everyone at Firstborn enjoys working on highly profile projects that change the landscape of the interactive realm. I can’t imagine not working with the best brands because it allows us to set the bar every time we launch a new project. Sometimes I feel like I am a bit spoiled. I am truly fortunate for being able to work such great projects.
“Sorry to say this but 2.0 just can’t produce that kind of emotional impact. There is nothing overrated about Flash. Its engaging and entertaining, 2.0 is not anywhere near Flash in that respect.“
– Craig on Flash “Dying Out”
Q: Obviously by the caliber of your flash and motion work, the benefits of Flash are still extremely great. What would you say to all those “web 2.0ers” who believe flash is dying out and is over-rated now?
Dying out? That’s news to me. 2.0 is cool for like Blogs and community driven sites like Digg, but Flash is so pure, so emotional. Flash is passionate, it tells a story. Innovation will level out and Flash will be in the hands of more people very shortly, however it will be the inspirational aspect that will drive the new wave of developers. I am also a writer, and to me Flash resembles the beauty of words, it allows the user to enter new worlds and to connect on an emotional level. Sorry to say this but 2.0 just can’t produce that kind of emotional impact. There is nothing overrated about Flash. Its engaging and entertaining, 2.0 is not anywhere near Flash in that respect.
Q: With such a mass collection of portfolio work, are there any particular projects / clients you’ve enjoyed working on / with the most?
Fila was my baby. It was the most unusual and unique project I had ever worked on. It was one of the first projects I had taken on at Firstborn. Fila approached us to come up with a customized web-based flash enabled foot scanner so they would be able to sell custom made shoes to their customers. You can check out my case study here. This project involved everything from Flash, 3D, hardware, software, integration, back ends, front ends, databases and some very unique personalities. I even spent a few weeks selling the actual shoes in the store so that I could test the kiosk and make sure everything worked perfectly. This project had it all. I learned so much producing this project and it gained me a lifetime of experience. The results were amazing and the kiosk launched worldwide.
I could literally write a book on the whole process and drama that took place during this project.
Q: What tools do you use the most when combining live motion with flash design? Will the launch of Flash CS3 have any major impact on your work flow process?
We use lots of different tools. Our developers are very flexible and will do whatever it takes to get the right results. We use all the Adobe products like After Effects, Flash, Photoshop and Illustrator as well as Ultra and even 3Ds Max and other 3D programs. We use a host of compression methods and programming methods to help tie together the various technologies included in that is lots of creative brain power and hard work.
CS3 is going to have a major impact with how developers and designer do everything. We have already started tinkering with it and we will continue to master the new features so that we can deliver the best possible work to our clients and to make sure that our future projects are the best they can be. I am personally very excited to get my hands dirty and to pick up some of the new tools for my personal work that I enjoy doing in my free time.
CS3 is the ultimate package and a re-birth of sorts for Adobe. It is putting very powerful and easy to use tools in the hands of many people who will be creating the new digital landscape.
Q: Any work worth checking out on the horizon (For example, a free Devlounge promo piece)?
Nice one, we can talk about that after the interview. We have some very exciting new things on the horizon that I can’t talk about here. We have a new website coming out this year that will coincide with our ten year anniversary and that is very exciting for us. Keep your eyes peeled because there is going to be a whole new level of excitement and quality being churned out of Firstborn.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to chat. Keep up the excellent work and regards to everyone at FB!
My pleasure! Thanks for bringing us the community that is Devlounge and keep up the good work.