Home Uncategorized The New Hurlblog Look

The New Hurlblog Look

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC


Welcome to the redesigned Hurlblog.

It is our passion to create original content and educate filmmakers globally, with innovative and practical filmmaking knowledge. With technology changing at a lightening fast pace, the Hurlblog is a trusted resource for industry experts, independent filmmakers, documentarians, videographers, and film students. I promise to continue to create content that pushes you as filmmakers, educates you in unique ways, gives you project to project information, and answers WHY something should be done, not just the how. Our articles are written with time and loving care to enhance your skill set with practical tips to be immediately applied on set.


This is a very personal blog. When you leave a comment, I answer it. When you reach out to me on Twitter, I will respond. Honesty and integrity are two of our core values.


This new artsy esthetic is based on the requests of both our readership and sponsors. I value these relationships deeply and believe in consistently raising the bar with unexpected surprises. You have told me many times that the HurlBlog is like reading American Cinematographer, so I’ve made it read more like a magazine.  Please let me know what you think.



New ‘Magazine’ style layout of all articles



New side scrolling design. Use either the navigational arrows on the side or your mousewheel to browse the new site.


Multilingual - Interact with the blog from all over the world.

Multilingual – Interact with the blog from all over the world.


Still the great content you expect from us.

Still the great content you expect from us.


Need help navigating the new layout?  Check out this video.


Bill Hamell September 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Sorry but I do not like this all it even hard to comment due to the navigational arrow interfering

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Bill Hamell, come on Bill, change is difficult but that is what we do. I push on everything to challenge our bloggers and myself

Don Wolfe September 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

BRILLIANT! Finally someone hits the nail on the head.I really love this website experience so far. Good man Shane! This is a really great idea! I’ve been hoping someone would show me the cutting edge tools for passionate ametur filmmakers. I love how visual it is. I love how you broke down why the plasma light is useful as well as your simple explanation of the science behind it. Thank you and your people for all the hard work.

Shane September 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Don Wolfe, You are very welcome and I will pass on the kudos to Ryan and his web rock stars. Thank you so much for those wonderful words. I am so glad you like the new design, there are still some bugs to be worked out but we are committed to the end.

mel haynes jr September 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

I really like the layout. Even being able to scroll horizontally using the scroll wheel is a nice touch. Looks great, Shane.

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:47 PM

mel haynes jr, thank you so much for your kind words and continue support

Brian Hallett September 5, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Nice lay out. More of a magazine layout… which I like.

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Brian Hallett, thank you for your kind words. Glad you like it

Donald Carlson September 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I love this look! It begs to be touched. Sadly, I’m on my non-touch laptop. I can’t wait to try it out on my Surface. Just hope it works…

Jeremy September 5, 2013 at 11:23 AM

No sir, I don’t like it. Aesthetics are nice, but a little trickier looking through the articles. Definitely visual, not quite as quick and functional. BUT, still love the content!

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Jeremy, change is always difficult to handle. Me not so much, it pushes me as a cinematographer and this is what this site is about and what I am about.

S. Allman September 5, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Unfortunately the new site isn’t quite working for me. I’m running IE9 and there’s no way to scroll down the articles without highlighting the text and then moving the mouse cursor down. Somehow the site lost vertical scrolling, at least in IE.

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:43 PM

S. Allman, I will make sure Ryan and our team is all over it.

Andrew September 5, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Widescreen! Of course! The new look is innovative and appropriate. I’m confident Shane’s web team will gradually smooth out any functional niggles that readers report. Shane, congrats on the new format for your fantastic blog.

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Andrew, absolutely, we are on it and thank you for all of your kind words.

Robert Bryant September 6, 2013 at 2:25 PM

anyone figure out how to scroll down to read all the comments with the new format? It only seems to scroll left and right. I appreciate the interesting design, but do question going so against convention (especially when it doesn’t allow access to all the content).

Kent September 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I almost left this blog immediately. The scroll wheel doesn’t work, so I was presented with an unscrollable static page. I then figured out that I have to press down the scroll wheel and drag through the pages. Wonder how many will just leave..

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Kent, value your comments but I think any change people fight. I always push the limit to expand my creativity.

Kent September 12, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Well, this was more of a fight with a broken blog interface. Push for a fix so we can read it properly and expand our creativity as well 🙂

Shane September 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Kent, We are trying to address all of the problems, How can we help you?

Kent September 16, 2013 at 6:03 AM

Scrolling the page vertically using the scroll wheel doesn’t work, only horisontally. So I have to use the work around pressing down on the scroll wheel, hold and drag down the pages if I want to read more than what is visible at first, and maybe not everyone will be able figure this out. Win IE9. Probably a compatibility issue.

Shane September 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Kent, I have sent your problems to my web team and we will address them as quickly as we can. Thank you so much for all of your support as we move the chains forward.

Pawel November 1, 2013 at 12:39 PM

It is not about fighting change. It’s about braking the most basic experience of the web and all the most important navigational mechanisms. There’s nothing bad about innovation, and I’d be the first one to welcome great experiences. It’s just not the case with the blog redesign… The experience is broken, not innovated 🙁

Shane November 1, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Pawel, copy that and respect your opinions. Thank you very much for your comment

Abobakr September 7, 2013 at 10:49 AM

actually, I really really love the new layout.. This is really interesting. It feels like a magazine and at the same time a wide screen cinema projection format. Big salute on this new design

Abobakr September 7, 2013 at 10:56 AM

I forget to mention I find that, by pressing F11 on the keyboard, i have a better reading experience

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Abobakr, yeah baby!!!! thank you so much for the kind words

Derrick van Niekerk September 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I’m liking the new look. really nice. thunbs up from me.

– Derrick

Shane September 11, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Derrick van Niekerk, thank you for your support

Tuomas September 13, 2013 at 6:16 AM

Personally I prefered the old style. Although new site feels graphically more designed and modern, the blog looses readability. For me the readability is more important than fancy looks. There is a reason why magazines are like they are and that doesn’t mean that the way they are read is the ideal way for digital domain. There have been many attempts to create virtual magazines that simulate the magazine reading experience on internet and none of them really got it right. It works yes, but it isn’t as efficient for reading as the traditional internet formats. Before getting into filmmaking I was a computer sciences engineer and I even developed one virtual magazine myself for a media company… it like many others before it, felt clumsy to use. You may say I just failed, but I think page turning or simply side way scrolling makes reading on the screen feel unintuitive. It also complicates formatting and selecting-copy-pasting. It’s your blog so ultimately you have the freedom to choose how to present your information.. all I can say is that I visit check the site less after the facelift. The old design was outdated and many ways not perfect so it was definitely a time for an update. But I think people reading your site didn’t come there for its looks but to access the information there, so accessibility should be the first concern on any design.

Shane September 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Tuomas, unfortunately NOT. Content is KING and I hope you keep coming back even though you liked the old way of doing things.

Tuomas September 19, 2013 at 7:47 AM

You are absolutely right… content is king and that’s why people come here. You offer them something they want to know. When I say accessibility should be the first concern, that is based on the fact that there is content that people want to access, so naturally i feel upset when accessing has become harder.

Let me explain you my main problems with this new format and using it:

When I use this site on my iPhone the scrolling is super slow. If I zoom in and move my finger around, the page moves vertically or horizontally, it won’t move freely (both vertically and horizontally same time) according to my finger moves like on other websites. It seems i can make it move freely if I press the screen with two fingers which is not the normal way… also it will move freely if i touch the screen on the sponsor area for example.. outside the main “magazine” space and then wipe my finger over the article without lifting it up. This makes this site very hard to read on iPhone.

On computer I don’t use mouse, I use track pad. I don’t know how it would work with mouse but when on track pad it acts strangely. Normal sites move like paper that i would wipe on touch screen, i wipe my fingers up on the track pad and the page moves down as if the article behind the screen were pushed up (same direction with my action). Now on your site, when I wipe up the article moves from left to right. Although it moves with same logic, wipe fingers up on touch pad to progress further on the article, it’s no longer capturing my movement as it was meant to with touch pad. It is moving on an unexpected axis, up-down movements now create left-right movements. Now when I scroll my fingers left and right on the track pad, you would expect the article to be scrolled side ways accordingly.. well it does, but sometimes it scrolls opposite way, sometimes it just stutters back and forth without really moving.

Shane September 19, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Tuomas, copy all of this and my web team is on it. We are trying are best to address all issues that people are having. Thank you for your patience.

Steve Chollet September 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM

The new layout is different, cool and works ok on a desktop, but it has all but killed my browsing of your site on my iPhone and iPad as it is too cumbersome. Also, it would be great to have an index of your archives that does not use the side-scroll method. Just my $.02

Shane September 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Steve Chollet, I understand. I did not like the nav on the iPhone at first but we made some changes and I think it works much better now. My 2 cents

Stuart Wurtman September 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM

It was jarring at first but it was a snap to get used to. The content seems to fit on the page better somehow. The only real drawback I can see is that images embedded on the page are going to be smaller than if everything read vertically. Still, no big deal since you can click to enlarge. Nice job Shane.

P.S. Don’t listen to the haters!

Shane September 14, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Stuart Wurtman, thank you for your wonderful comments. Never will I listen to haters, they will all come around. Cinematography is about change and pushing yourself in every way. Trailblazing!!

D Wuest September 30, 2013 at 3:24 AM


Gotta say, I’m a long time reader and big fan of yours. That said, I think this site redesign is a big mis-step. It WILL drive readers away. Very hard to use! I hope that if you see your audience numbers dwindling, you’ll consider going with something more accessible. No one will think less of you!


Shane October 15, 2013 at 8:23 AM

D Wuest, I am sorry that you feel so strongly about this. We are trying to address all of the comments to make it better. We will look into this. But if I go back to the old style. There are going to be many changes in other ways. Be careful what you wish for

O'Ryan October 5, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Hey Shane, as a long time reader and a huge fan of your work I hope this comes across as a interaction and user experience designer offering a bit of advice and not a Luddite, hatin’ on every thing new and different.

First, I commend you guys on trying something different. It’s never an easy thing.

However, there is a reason the horizontal layout is not a popular one; and not for lack of people trying. In fact it was rated as #3 in Nielsen Norman Group’s “Top 10 Web Design Mistakes of 2002.” (Nielsen Norman is a very well respected user experience research group)

“Avoid horizontal scrolling” is listed as one of the five essential usability guidelines for scroll bars. It’s well know from user testing that users hate horizontal scrolling and always comment negatively when they encounter it. On the Web, users expect vertical scrolling. As with all standard design elements, it’s better to meet user expectations than to deviate. When pages feature both vertical and horizontal scrolling, (As yours does with the comments box) users have to move their viewport in two dimensions, which makes it very un-ituitive to cover the entire space. This can get really weird and confusing fast.

Unfortunately the user experience and interaction world is not as flexible as cinematography. We can’t go all David Lynch on controls and layouts that already have implied and expected behaviors attached to them. People get frustrated when things don’t behave the way they expect them to. Actually, visit David Lynch’s site and see how “Going David Lynch” yields horribly unusable results…

There is a basic tenet in the usability and interaction design realm: No matter how cool it is, don’t reinvent the wheel unless your wheel is more intuitive than the previous wheel.

I’m also noticing that a lot of the layout and styling is kind of borrowed from the look of the new myspace. Particularly the “discover” area of myspace. myspace.com/discover/trending/
I was invited to their beta program and was asked to be featured as one of their ‘100 Featured Creators.’ Because of that I have been ‘forcing’ myself to use the site everyday for the last 3 months. At first the horizontal layout was kind of cool and felt innovative. But the novelty very quickly wore off as I attempted to navigate and explore the site. Now mind you I am a web developer and a user experience designer – I know my way around the web. The frustration of navigating the new Myspace encourages me not to explore and participate. Even though I am a featured member.

That being said, and assuming that you’re probably going to stick with this layout for a while; there are some slightly smaller yet more glaring usability issues that you guys could take a look at and probably easily fix.

1. The main horizontal scroll bar disappears if you resize the window or if you use the giant left and right scroll buttons. If you are going to make me scroll left and right, you got to let me scroll the way I know how. Keep the main horizontal scroll bar visible as long as there is content to be scrolled. (resizing the window in IE10 causes elements to the far right to disappear. There are also 2 horizontal scroll bars in IE10)

2. The giant scroll right button covers up the vertical scroll bar on the floating comment section making it impossible to use the vertical scroll bar for the comments. To be honest I would just get rid of those as they are not typical web controls and I doubt they will be used very much by those who weren’t a part of designing them.

3. The comments are hidden. Part of the beauty of a blog is the discussion. It’s what makes it more than a magazine entry. I missed the comment section on the first two blog posts I read, thinking that you had gotten rid of them. It was ironically only until I saw this post, on the new design, that I noticed the giant bubbly comment thing. Which instead of being intuitively something I would know to click on, had to tell me “View Comments” to know that the comments where hidden elsewhere. I couldn’t even see the comment button in IE10.

4. The weird floating comment section is pretty awkward. The fact that it floats above the content and scrolls vertically makes it feel like it was an after thought. I think that if you just add it to the regular (albeit horizontal) flow of the page, you may have more interaction and engagement with this section.

5. This is just something that personally annoys me but felt it was worth mentioning: All of your links have ‘TITLE’ attributes on them. This causes the anchor text to be duplicated and shown on hover obscuring the original text. The title attribute is typically added in the hopes that it will boost SEO. It does not. At all. Even if it did, currently you are just duplicating the anchor text in the title and it adds no value. I would git rid of the title attribute on your links. Especially in your menu, where it’s especially noticeable.

I know how daunting and stressful it can be when releasing updates to things people regularly use and love. People get upset and lash out at change. It can suck, but it’s also a positive thing that people care enough to get engaged and let you know. I sincerely hope that this comment reads as though it’s from someone with insight in this specific field and not someone hating on the new layout just because it’s new and different.

Your blog has been a huge source of info, inspiration, and encouragement throughout my journey as an aspiring filmmaker. Regardless of layout, the insight you have freely offered up is invaluable and I will still be a frequent reader.


P.S. I am on Win7 and using Chrome 29.0.1 (I also tested a few things in Internet Explorer 10)

Pawel November 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

The design is interesting, but it definitely is not useful. In fact, the experience is really bad and reading is very difficult.

If there were no news aggregators, I would probably stop reading the blog even though I learned so much from it and I think it’s one of the best in the industry, With all the openness and the will to share knowledge.

UX should always be superior. Now, there’s simply no way to scroll anything on this blog except the main content, be it the comments thread, or even text in this very textarea field. Designers and developers should enrich existing solutions and mechanisms, not break them like it happened here.

Shane November 1, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Pawel, I am sorry you feel this way, but I will be honest with you. This is the best content on the internet Period. So we innovate and we will find a way to make it better.


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