Behind That Personalized Christmas Video
There are few moments quite as magical as when the holiday decorations come out of storage and you prepare to slather your home in electric lights and tinsel. For many people, the ritual is reserved for at least the day after Thanksgiving, and normally our team here at Optimum would agree with that… but this year, we broke out some of our winter ornaments all the way back in August. Why? Because we care about you, dash it all!
Aaand also because making a holiday greeting video – especially a personalized one – requires quite a bit of planning ahead.
As opposed to the usual live-action or even computer-generated video to wish our subscribers Season’s Greetings, this year the OP team decided to try something a little different; so we dipped our toes into the world of stop-motion. (You’d better believe that we have a lot more admiration for the patience of filmmakers like Tim Burton now!) We dug our ceramic Christmas figurines out of their closets and created an enchanting little village in the studio – bedsheets, glitter, and all!
Using a high-tech, highly-detailed measurement system on the camera and computer, we spent nearly a week taking pictures and poking the miniatures along on their respective tracks. Who says grown-ups can’t play with toys?
The real trick, though, came after the shoot was completed. While we were arduously piecing the pictures together frame-by-frame and adding special items like animated snow and replaceable text, Danny and I were stuffing a spreadsheet full of email IDs. This spreadsheet was the key that linked the individual videos to our email marketing platform, our video hosting platform, and our website. Every individual recipient needed their own video with its own file name, its own personal thumbnail, its own unique .url address, and so on. Thank heavens for formula functions in Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel! If all of those processes and calculations needed to be handled manually, we would be working on those lists until Christmas of 2017.
Once the formulas and the video tweaks were complete, then came the moment of truth – hitting the “Send” button on those emails! Talk about nerve-wracking. But it worked! Many of you received your own personalized holiday video, where you saw your own name in several places. Definitely a lot more fun (and environmentally friendly!) than a ‘Seasons Greetings’ postcard that would have wound up in your trash bin after a ten-second read.
So while we might not necessarily dive into another stop-motion project like this one for kicks and giggles, we learned a lot about the time and computing power necessary to invest in a video this detailed… and hopefully you enjoyed watching it!
So whether your “white christmas” is white because of snow or sandy beaches, we hope you have a fantastic break with friends and family. We’ll see you in the new year… but if you can’t wait that long to get started on a customized video of your own, you can still give us a call!
Didn’t get to see the video for yourself? Check out the generic version below!