There is no mistaking that the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the landscape of how we interact with all those around us. Never is this such a challenging time to life as during the Holiday season when families and friends gather together for their annual visit with Santa. Needing to find an alternative solution for how these memories can continue to be made, Nashville-based Elite Multimedia Productions has developed an innovative virtual or live streaming event design for a safe and exciting trip to the North Pole.
“With Covid-19 changing every aspect of social gatherings, we have been looking forward into the Holiday season at all the retail and commercial spaces where they host a Santa experience,” began Ben Anholzer, Elite Multimedia Productions. “In the past, Santa could sit on a chair and talk to the kids while then posing for a Holiday photo. With the restrictions currently in place, we can’t have that this year, so we’ve created a unique virtual and live stream Santa experience which adheres to all social distancing guidelines.”
When concepting the idea for a solution to this forthcoming challenge, the team at Elite Multimedia wanted to offer as many variations as possible. Knowing that each family might like to embark upon a different journey than the one before, the creativity of a custom and dynamic virtual event was an ideal design option.
“With our virtual Santa experience, we would work with each client to build a completely custom, high-resolution playlist of pre-recorded Santa videos,” continued Ben. “Using a technical set-up that includes an LED video wall and an audio package, families can then can sign-up for a specific time and use an iPad controller to select their desired Santa experience. Once the video is selected, a 4-minute escape into a new realm will begin followed by a family photo op with Santa himself.”
Craving the deeper human-to-human interaction that has been missing in recent days, some families might actually like to speak with Santa for themselves. Knowing this might be the preference that entices people to visit, Elite Multimedia also developed a live streaming Santa solution to safely create a unique Holiday moment.
“For the live stream Santa experience, we would use an LED video and audio package in conjunction with an HD camera set-up as well,” added Ben. “During the live stream, a real Santa would be in the same location as the LED video wall set-up, but in an isolated space for social distancing. Each location would then have a camera for real-time communication and interaction between Santa and the families offering a more exciting and personal connection.”
While the annual Santa experience may be geared towards families making Holiday memories, it is also an annual event that is depended upon by retailers nationwide. Bringing shoppers out of their homes and into the retail locations, the Santa experience is a crucial aspect to the overall annual sales needed to survive.
“We know different companies rely on Q4 Santa events to bring families into retail and many families may choose to shop online if they can’t have the Santa interaction in the store,” explained Ben. “At Elite Multimedia Productions, we recently pivoted into the virtual studio realm with live streaming studio broadcasts, so we wanted to get creative to help bring the magic of the Holiday season to everyone at the end of such a strange and awkward year.”
At a traditional Santa event, it is never quite known when the visitors may arrive and they often all converge in line at the same time, while other times are empty and quiet. In these downtimes, the traditional Santa will simply have to wait, but with a virtual or live streaming Santa experience, retailers can provide both continuous family entertainment and revenue-generating opportunities.
“Additionally, one of the issues in retail with bringing in a Santa experience is that you may only have a few families visit during the early hours and then a rush of families at the end,” said Ben. “This system is built where during the off-times, the LED video and audio package can feature a Holiday movie with socially-distanced seating for families who may be shopping. This also gives the event organizers the ability to feature pre-loaded sponsorship content, logos or other info which can actually pay for the system itself before they even go live.”
Understanding the technology behind a virtual or live streaming Santa event is most likely a daunting task for event organizers or retailers. With a talented and experienced staff of technology experts, Elite Multimedia Productions is able to provide all the technical gear and onsite support needed to make the Holidays a truly memorable time of year.
“Technically-speaking, we would handle everything needed for each client and each package is fully-customizable based on religious affiliation, race, sex or cultural preferences,” concluded Ben. “Every location is different when it comes to the demographics, so both our virtual and live stream Santa experiences are very adaptable and affordable for almost any application.”