Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

A Peek Behind the Scenes at the North Pole!

This Christmas just isn’t the same. How many times have we all heard that?! But, as Santa will tell the kids later this month, just because this Christmas is different, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Last year, we helped Signet, a regional credit union, host a movie night and photo-op with Santa at a local movie theater. That wasn’t possible this year, so we decided to help Signet bring Santa to everyone in their own homes instead. 

Last Year:

Signet Santa

This Year:

Signet Santa

So, as December approached, we got to work. 

√ Found Christmas story in the public domain.
√ Wrote script to help direct Santa and Mrs. Claus connect with their audience. 
√ Designed studio setup to mimic Santa’s living room.
√ Directed, produced, edited final video.

Today we wanted to give you a sneak peek into Santa’s living room where he addresses the kids and shares a fun Christmas story with a few little fun asides throughout. Creative Director Austin Madding and Videographer Aaron King built the entire set inside our own internal studio.

Normally this room has all black walls and ceiling, with a wood laminate flooring. This provides us with a simple blank space so we can completely control the light and convert the space into what we need. Aaron explains why this is important here: “Earlier this year, we painted the studio all black because light bouncing off the white walls could sometimes give the person a greenish tint. Black however absorbs all light so you don’t get what’s called light spill or light bouncing off reflective or white surfaces.”

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Lighting is one of the most important elements of any set. From this angle of the set, you’ll notice two different types of lighting. Blue and a warmer light. Now, you don’t want to mix lighting on a single subject, but in a setup like this, the varied lighting actually helps set the scene. 

“We have contrasting lighting giving us the sense that the outside is the North Pole. And then up front where Santa is sitting we have warmer, off-key lighting. And all of that is lighting simple flats, but the way they’re staggered gives you the sense that it’s a much bigger space than it actually is,” Austin said.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces of the set: 

  • We took an old book from our own collection and placed the real story we wanted him to read inside. This contributed to that classic Santa feel. 
  • Two stage flats allowed us to shoot inside our studio while still giving you the sense that we were in someone’s home, we just never had to leave the office. We were able to continue social distancing and provide a safe environment for our small crew and actors to work.
  • Props and decorations we’ve gathered over the years were brought out of storage to use again! You may notice a mailbox for Santa featured in the very back of the set. That’s actually a throwback to a few Holiday DIY videos we created for another client a few years ago! 

We were so excited for the opportunity to help Signet bring a little bit of joy to our region as a part of their Holidays of Hope initiative! The pandemic has provided us many challenges, but we’ve found some moments to be extremely rewarding. We may not be able to produce all of our ideas fully, but we’re learning to pivot each time and still create great work. I mean, this was for Santa, so we had to pull through!

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