Warwick Castle is a heritage site in the heart of England and, is part of the Merlin Entertainments Group.
Each year, the historical gem hosts a Christmas Light Trail throughout the castle grounds for tourists and local members of the public to enjoy. For the Christmas 2022 Light Trail, the event organisers wanted to add a new attraction section that would provide the audience with a seated momentary visual experience.
The clients initial idea was focused around a classic Christmas song – one that a wider audience could relate to – with the suggestion of a visual solution being digital sound bars that had movement dictated by the audio.
Working in close collaboration with the Production team at YouNeek Productions, we assessed the clients suggested solution and felt the idea of sound bars decreased the festive feeling of it being Christmas related as a piece.
Reflecting on our thoughts, we presented the client with an alternative solution that we felt enhanced the storyline and captured the essence of Christmas. Using the classic song, O Holy Night by Andy Williams, we proposed creating an animation that used magical light streams to characterise and embody the religious narrative within the song, in a fun, festive and visually charming way.
The client put trust into our expertise and we began working on the story sequence.
It was important to us that, although abstract in its approach, the animated characterisation needed to evoke an emotional reaction with the audience. The ambition with the creative was to visually tell the story of the song in an enchanting way, one that would delight and captivate all age ranges.
After creating an extensive sketched storyboard, and before presenting the proposition to the client, due to the highly conceptual idea we felt we should elevate the sketch work into something closer to the vision.
The magical stylisation complimented the other Christmas Light Trail sections and conveys a real sense of festive visual fantasy for the younger audience. For the older audience, the sequence characterises the narrative – both literally and figuratively – and represents the list of emotions within the songs meaning.
The complex animation build was finished in 4k format and showcased on a large outdoor screen in the Castle grounds as a central attraction along the trail.
After its first open evening, the event organiser informed us of their need to put a ’tissue station’ at the attraction, due to audience members crying happy tears at what they were watching on the screen. This confirmed the success of what we set out to do – to create a visual attraction that has emotion.