It’s finally time to sit down and rest after an eventful holiday season. And boy, to say we were all over the place in an understatement! We CRUSHED this Christmas (in a good way, of course!). From the Grand Illumination Parade live stream to the weekly MacArthur Holiday event coverage to the stumbling and capturing shoppers on Black Friday. Here’s a sneak peek into how our Holiday season went.
There was quite a bit of pre-production that went into covering the Grand Illumination Parade. Follow this link to see a Behind the Scenes video of all that went into it!
Days before, we prepped some promos featuring our hosts advertising the parade’s live stream and some commercials to play throughout the parade stream.
J-Slay and Savannah found their way out to The Main to cover the spectacular Christmas decorations hanging from the bottom lobby all the way up to The Grain on the rooftop! We composited the video the night before to have it ready for the production that was happening the next day. 11pm and counting, we stretched to make it pretty 😉
We knew that we were streaming the event live to Facebook like we have for the past two years, but there were a couple of new elements this year. The biggest obstacle of all was the rain. For the first time in 35 years, it actually rained on our parade. Even though we hoped all week that the forecasts were wrong, the weather lived up to the cold and wet predictions. Luckily, we prepared with rain ponchos, tarps, tents, camera covers, umbrellas, and bags to keep all of our gear dry and safe.
Another new element we added this year was the projection of the entire parade in the MacArthur Mall food court. We wanted a way for viewers to be able to see the parade from another location if they couldn’t find a place to sit on the streets, but when the rain hit, our audience was very pleased to find that they didn’t have to brave the weather.
We had a total of 20 crew members come together to make this happen! It was all hands AND cameras on deck as we stood outside of the Icon building, trekking to MacArthur Mall and back to make sure that everything was flowing smoothly and watching the wonder of the viewing party that had formed to stay dry while seeing the magic of Christmas on a projection screen.
After a long production day with lots of gear and crew members running around Downtown Norfolk, Lizzie celebrated as she checked every single piece of gear off of her list.
When the parade came to an end and all the gear made it into various crew vehicles, we hit up Grain for a much-needed after party to wrap up the first day of a whole season!
The Grand Illumination Parade was only the beginning of a series of event coverage that we did all throughout the month of December. We found ourselves at MacArthur Center every week covering all of their Holiday events, giving us front row seats to all things Christmas in Downtown Norfolk.
MacArthur puts on many holiday events all the way from the Santa Arrival Parade to the Gift Wrapping Station and Ice Skating Rink, but we adore the inclusive events that they host in order to make every child feel like Christmas is for them. Signing Santa is an event where children with hearing disabilities are able to communicate with Santa while getting photos taken with him and playing in the Ice Palace.
Calming Santa is an event that includes children on the spectrum and gives them a safe space to talk to Santa about the things that they would want for Christmas. In this sensory-friendly environment, the event takes place before the mall opens, as the lights are dimmed and the noise reduced, hosted in a place with limited foot traffic.
Half of the fun happens outside the mall. Step out onto the MacArthur Green to enjoy IMPULSE: interactive light and sound see-saws. Of course there’s the classic MacArthur on Ice back for another Christmas season, but something new to MacArthur Center is the Island of Warmth: 150 iridescent light bulbs in the shape of a campfire, which projects heat, smoke, and music when it’s activated by movement around the artificial flame.
Yeah, don’t get us wrong, the Holidays are our favorite time of year. But after the lights, the camera, and all of the action, it was time for some much needed R&R. What better way to do that than to have the Ugly Sweater Office Christmas Party of the decade (ft. Christmosas that didn’t last longer than an hour)?? We brought in white elephant gives and duked it out over who was going to get the rasta winter ski mask (spoiler alert: it was Jon). But of course, nothing could beat the look on J-Slay’s face when he opened the Chick-fil-A gift card!
Covering the Holidays is enough to put anyone in that red and green spirit, and we had a blast doing it! After all the bundling up, waterproofing, shivering, and traveling, we made it! We survived the Holidays! All that’s left to say is: See you in the happiest new year, 2020!!