The Making of: The Motion Source Holiday Video Card

By Michelle Maslanka • Producer

Many people send out greeting cards of good wishes this time of year. Seeing as video is our specialty, we chose this medium to spread holiday cheer! Featuring holiday food and drink favorites like peppermint bark, hot chocolate, and homemade cookies, this year’s video card set out to whet the audience’s appetite. Go behind the scenes with us as we share with you how the video was cooked up. ‘Tis the season to be joy-full!

Spoiler Warning: This article reveals insider details of our holiday video. Before continuing reading, take a watch below. You will appreciate the revealed secrets more!

To kick things off, Creative Director, Craig Bass, set parameters, or the recipe, if you will, for this year's project: 30 seconds, non-narrative, creative, high-production value, and embodies the spirit of the season. The goal was to create not only a holiday video, but an evergreen piece that could be used as a commercial-style sample throughout the year.

We each gathered ideas to present during a brainstorming meeting. My Italian roots sent my mind to holiday feasting, of course! "Eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season!" was the tagline proposed for the spot. I pitched the idea of taking the audience on an engaging sensory journey using holiday desserts and drinks paired with an upbeat take on a classic seasonal song. The idea that through captivating visuals and sounds, the viewer can almost taste, touch, and smell the items. Incorporating stop motion and slow motion (slow-mo) would give these inanimate objects life and make for an exciting 30 seconds. Visions of Christmas cookies and candy canes, hot chocolate and eggnog, and sugar crystals and spices danced in our heads...and made all of us hungry. We agreed on the idea, ordered pizza, and began collaborating on the concept. The metaphorical oven was set to preheat!

It was time to stock up on the perfect ingredients and baking tools. From fresh fruit and chocolate bars, to gallons of milk and dozens of eggs, our prop list looked more like a family grocery list! 

While the ingredients and supplies were of great importance to create this piece, the right production supplies, namely, the camera, was just as important. We opted for the RED Epic Dragon camera to bring this vision to life, and our friends at Camera Ambassador made that possible. This camera allowed for shooting up to 240fps and helped us capture those beautiful slow-mo shots.

A weekend of production (and baking!) commenced. Our studio served as a suitable production space and allowed for alternating red and green backdrops with ease. While many shots were captured straight-on, an overheard rig allowed for a shift in perspective when looking down on the scene was preferred.

With less than two weeks for post-production, the footage was turned over to our trusty Senior Editor, Hunter Kallenbach, to work his editing magic. The footage was rolled out, cut, and decorated, just like our Christmas cookies! And a cover of "Jingle Bells" proved to be the perfect track for this feel-good festive piece.

BTS Fun Facts:

  • While we did have real red wine on set (for the cork shot), Trader Joe’s Blueberry Juice was used for the pouring and close up "red wine" shots. There's no denying its robust color pops on camera!

  • A few deleted scenes included raining red and green M&Ms, pretzels dipped in chocolate, and grating cinnamon sticks. There were too many delicious shots to include them all!

  • In order to avoid cookie crumbs and stains on the paper, the last scene was shot in reverse order: we started with the final shot of the message, then, one by one, added cookies on top. In post, the shots were reversed so that the cookies, instead, "disappear" to reveal the message.

Whether it made you smile, hungry, or, in our case, both, it was our unique way of spreading holiday cheer and well wishes to our network of clients, family, and friends. We hope you enjoyed seeing it as much as we did baking--I mean, making it!