How We Pulled Off Our 2016 Holiday Card

How We Pulled Off Our 2016 Holiday Card

Last week, we released our 2016 holiday video, and with so much positive feedback and so many curious questions about how we made it, we decided to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this sweet season’s greeting.

First thing first – the video isn’t technically a video at all. It’s a series of photographs (324, to be exact) shown in quick succession, a technique known as stop motion. We love this approach because it evokes a sense of cheer and playfulness that just seems fitting during the holiday season.

And we didn’t stop there with the cool effects. We also incorporated a split screen as a way of telling two parallel stories throughout the video. One story shows the process of baking a big batch of made-from-scratch cookies, and the other details a day of creative problem solving at GMMB. The use of symmetry bridges the two stories together, even though they don’t actually intertwine until the very end.

We had a ton of fun on this project, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a lot of work. Every single shot was meticulously staged and styled, making for a process that took plenty of time and care. Using our hands to manually move items in between shots was an exercise in patience and precision, and on top of everything, we had to make sure that the lighting didn’t vary too much between shots. Each individual scene took about a half day to stage and shoot, and the video in its entirety took close to a month to produce.

“Creation of the holiday card is always an interesting proposition,” said Robert Grubbs, design director and vice president. “How do you top last year’s video? How do you make the content interesting and still get it out the door in time? This year’s stop-motion video was something completely different than we’ve ever done before. We can’t wait to do more projects like this in the future.”

Here’s the (amazing) cookie recipe we used, courtesy of the The Pioneer Woman:

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose four
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 ounces milk chocolate M&Ms

Cream butter and sugars together, using a hand mixer or stand mixer for best results. Add eggs and vanilla, making sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder, and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, and roll it into the shape and size of a golf ball. Place on a greased baking sheet (or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper), and firmly press the desired amount of M&Ms into the top and sides of the dough ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing only 7-9 cookies on a sheet so that they do not spread into one another.

Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until just golden-brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before devouring.

GMMB 2016 Holiday Video Credits:
Robert Grubbs – Creative Direction
Michelle Ovalle – Art Direction
Laura Orozco – Script/Story Development
Butch Ramsey – Photography & Production

Johanny Adames
Kwesi Agyeman
Issa Chan
Sarah Cushman
Robert Grubbs
Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Guillermo Meneses
Laura Orozco
Saad Saroufim
Will Taliaferro
Stephen Wilkes