Digital production agency B-Reel along with partner division B-Reel Films unveiled their latest creation for Verizon FiOS: an interactive film experience that makes writing letters to Santa delightfully modern. Directed by Tom Malmros of B-Reel Films, the web experience features a series of video clips where a lively Santa responds to users’ immediate gift requests and questions. “Direct Line to Santa” runs now through December 25th at http://verizon.com/santa
Verizon FiOS wanted to launch a holiday campaign with the goal of capturing 25,000 loop qualified (Verizon FiOS-eligible) addresses. As America’s fastest*, most reliable, most consistent Internet, Verizon FiOS champions speed, reliability and a 100% fiber optics line delivered directly to the door of each customer.
Inspired by these key tenets, B-Reel crafted a story with Santa as a new Verizon FiOS customer, who for the first time in history, could chat with people live, thanks to a direct line provided by the one and only Verizon FiOS.
Upon entering the website, users share their home address. FiOS-eligible users witness a stunning animation clip of a fiber optics line speeding from their home to Santa’s workshop. Once the connection is complete, a jolly Santa and his elves greet users who are then tasked to answer three questions posed by Santa. Users reveal if they have been naughty or nice, a gift they want and can ask Santa any question they never had the chance to ask before—anything from heated world issues to North Pole secrets. After each response, users receive a custom Santa video clip related to their answer. Users can also enter to instantly win a $200 gift certificate to an online retailer.
To create a rich, seamless experience, B-Reel had to convey the feeling of a real-time chat without having to do speech-recognition or clunky edits between chunks of video. To achieve this, B-Reel planned several video segments and transitions which could cover up cuts while the backend logic system read the user’s input and chose an appropriate response.
From a film perspective, B-Reel built in an amount of detail that could successfully weave together separate video clips into a cohesive narrative, like where the elves were in relation to Santa.
Director Tom Malmos said, “With all good storytelling, it’s all about trying to shape the scenes to fit together. In good interactive storytelling, there is just more options. When we couldn’t get reindeer antlers, we made our own with candy canes. When a polar bear broke into the workshop, we made sure the elves would be running in the background and covered in wrapping paper by the end.”
What’s most impressive is that all of this was planned and executed in a little under three weeks—including a Thanksgiving break.
Producer Adele Major said, “There were so many moving parts from planning and executing the film shoot while in parallel working on interface design, integrating an instant win prize component, developing and integrating a 3D animated opening sequence including a Google satellite-view component, planning how the shot videos would match up to some kind of backend logic system, managing film assets so that they were consistent with our file structure and our scripts... the teamwork and talent was absolutely incredible.”