Creating a perfect holiday video (with crispy skin)

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About a month ago here at TSG headquarters, a random event led me to do a weird late-1800s street vendor voice. For whatever reason (probably our collective weirdness), the voice stuck around and we decided we needed to find a use for it.

A couple of weeks later, we were all thinking about what we were going to do for our Thanksgiving e-blast. The group decided that we needed to include that particular voice and we started throwing around ideas. That idea evolved into giving good advice for the holidays — but with absolutely terrible methods illustrating each step.

We knew that in order to do what we wanted, we would definitely need to make a video.

So we sat down with a storyboard and drew out what we wanted to cover as our “steps to create a perfect Thanksgiving meal.” Once we came out of that meeting, we had our star (Lis*), our storyboard, our theme (1950-60s dinner party) and everything in place to create the script.

Once Lis had written the basic script, we planned out the exact scenes we were going to shoot and theprops we would need. It turns out that Julie is an amazing resource for props. She came to work the day before the shoot with a duffel bag filled with 90 percent of what we needed – including a gas can.

Early on shooting day, we had to make a run to the local grocery store for the other star of the show – the turkey (ie, chicken) — and a few “fresh sides.” We set up all the shooting locations in the morning so they were ready for our afternoon shoot.

We shot the video completely on my iPhone, and in just over an hour, we did a couple of takes of the scenes, did a quick review on the phone and decided we had the footage we needed.

The next day, I imported everything into After Effects and added all of the scratch and black and white effects. I imported the video footage into Pro Tools and, with Kelly’s help, recorded the voiceover in our makeshift vocal room (see: kitchen). I knew the voice track didn’t have to sound perfect, since I was going to use effects and music, and wanted it a bit dirty to sound like old film audio.

Once we edited the voiceover and had the music and sound effects in place, it was time to show the video to the office and Lee. The nice thing about doing cards like this is that Lee trusts us to do something creative and “wow” her. It’s always nice for us when the video or animation is through playing and she laughs or says, “It’s the best one we’ve done.”

The last step in the process was to show it to all of you. We would love to hear what you think, so drop us a comment below. Happy Thanksgiving!

* Lis has a wardrobe that consists mainly of “Mad Men” styled clothing – the perfect fit for our theme.

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