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January 16, 2015

Do they know it’s not Christmas?

It’s mid January and it already feels like a million miles away from the jingle bells and fairy lights of Christmas 2014.

But we thought it’s only fair to follow up on our Christmas Card Roundup with a rundown of our Christmas Card for 2014.

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 2014 – SmallWorlders Festive Spinnny Spin Thing™

The planning

The undoubted success of 2013’s Dancing Shed left us on a high and we knew it would be tough to follow. So we challenged the team to bring their best ideas to a brain storm – helpfully located in a lovely little local pub with a wonderful selection of craft beers and ciders. The quality varied, (probably in part due to the aforementioned wonderful selection…) but with a bit of refinement we settled on a combination of ideas.

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The Lego

The mention of Lego would cause some excitement in most offices and it was no different at SmallWorlders central (admittedly, it may have been primarily Reena’s excitement). Given the repeated requests for a reappearance of the Dancing Shed we thought we’d found a win-win situation. Give the people what they want – in Lego form (helpfully also saving our legs from last year’s constant boogieing)!

‘Everything is Awesome’ except Stop Motion Animation

Being entirely new to Stop motion animation – we thought it would be a great idea to speak to the experts…
They were pessimistic, apparently it’s particularly fiddly to do, and any amends after the initial shoot were a nightmare for continuity. Who Knew!

Throw in scrolling custom messages from our tweeters and it was just a touch too tough to handle.

Boy, do we like a challenge

Though we were somewhat daunted by the expert’s pessimism we threw caution to the wind and acquired some Lego minifigs for everyone in the team.

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With a bit of refinement and a small proof of concept we knew we could still bring our SmallerWorlders adventure to life.

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Then came the Shed

A virtual prototype gave us some idea of how to replicate our shed in Lego, all it needed was a bit of planning and a lot of blue bricks! Eventually we had the whole cast, a wonderful replica of the beloved shed and we were ready to shoot.

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The animation

Throughout December, one of our real life sheds was magically transformed in to a stop motion animation studio with mini-shoots squeezed in at any opportunity.

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The result was over 850 individually taken frames, which when individually sorted, processed and stitched together formed ‘SmallerWorlders’.

But what about the ‘SmallWorlders Festive Spinny Spin Thing™’?

The brain storm also threw(!) up an idea of a” Christmas Cheer” button-click on a big red reindeer nose of a button to reveal a myriad of cool content which would gladden the heart and give the viewer a festive squidgy “aaaah” feeling inside.

But alone, this didn’t seem quite enough, especially after last year’s success-there needed to be something else. After some pleasurable reminiscences about 70s TV game shows, cheesy theme music and wooden, lacklustre presenters (in a good way) we hit upon having a Wheel of Fortune style spinning wheel- the Smallworlders Festive Spinny Spin Thing™.

We had so many wonderful clips of the team spinning the virtual wheel that we thought it would be real nice if the user could switch host and choose their favourite Smallworlder to spin them something marvellous.

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Land on a category which would send you to a cool festive video (Smallworlders’ favourite clips gleaned from downtime spent surfing the ‘net) or to the Smallerworlders Lego video or even the Prize draw and the chance to win one of a range of fabulous Kevin Collectables™!

After some frantic algorithm crashing and a lot of hard work, Dan got the Festive Spinny Spin Thing™ to do its stuff. And the rest is history….

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