Movie: Christmas 2003 with Dan & Sherree

Christmas 2003 with Dan & Sherree is a short film I created to keep that year's Christmas memories with us. If you watch it you'll find Sherree and I sharing the holiday with each of our families over several days, a short animation, and Pinball being a goof.

This year's movie started out rather aimless. I wasn't sure of how to differentiate it from Christmas 2002 or Christmas 2001. I left the camcorder set up to tape in the boring, not-part-of-the-action way I did in 2001 and we took photos for possible use. A little while after Christmas I decided to primarily use the Ken Burns Effect of panning around on photographs. Carrying an idea over from 2002, I also knew I wanted to do an animation of some sort for the opening. I like the widescreen format, so I matted Christmas 2003 to widescreen.

Stop-motion animation is a lot of work. Creating the minute-plus animation sequence took about 3-1/2 hours to create, plus several more hours preparing all of the materials (figures, signs, etc.). In the original footage, the lighting of the scene changes dramatically as time went by (from me getting in front of the lights and from the sunlight coming through the window)--though I think I did a fair job of cleaning it up in post-production.

The narration is me reading What Christmas is as we Grow Older by Charles Dickens, though to make it fit the length of the movie I had to edit it pretty heavily. It's a good story--I recommend reading it in it's entirety.

Watch the Movie

You can watch the 6-minute Christmas 2003 movie by clicking here; right-click and "Save As" if you want to download the movie to your computer. This is a 19 MB 320 × 240, 15 fps, 300 kbps, MPEG-1 file--viewable in Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and just about every other video player.

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Dan, that's great! I loved it. I'll have to show it to Grammy! I loved the magic of making the snowman!

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