The 2021 Laurelin hobbit Yule video!
Happy Yule everyone, and best wishes for the Yuletide! I hope yer all have some relaxing days with friends and family, filled with as much good cheer as possible. To help yer get in the right mood, here is the new Yule video from the hobbits on Laurelin. Enjoy! And if this isn’t enough, be sure to check out the hobbity Yule calendar! Or attend one of the many hobbit yule events!
The 2021 Yule video
Since 2012, I have made Yule videos where the hobbit players on Laurelin are invited to take part. Many players attend the video shoots, send in screenshots and offer up ideas. Many thanks to all who helped out! This year, ca. 40 players helped, and that’s too many to list in the credits (and I was also afraid I might miss one or two…). Yer help, assistance and good cheer was absolutely vital for the making of this video, though! I really hope I didn’t forget to add the pictures yer sent in…
If you think this all looks fun, please join us hobbits on Laurelin. There are lots of things happening here. You can read about the events in my own hobbit calendar or in the Bramblebury Gazette, the local hobbit newspaper.
So without further ado: The 2021 Laurelin hobbit Yule video. Full-screen and high-definition very much recommended! More on the making-of it below.
“Oinkers v. Noinkers” – The 2021 hobbit Yule video
Oinkers v. Noinkers
It all started with Shaun the Sheep.
I love stop-motion animation, especially the Wallace and Gromit films from Aardman. They are also behind the Shaun the Sheep shorts, covering the adventures of Shaun and his friends at the Mossy Bottom farm. And who are Shaun’s worst enemies there? Three vile and smelly pigs, who love little more than throwing slop after the other animals.
So I figured, why not use this as a basis for this year’s Yule video? Oinkers are also a common theme within the Shire hobbit community on Laurelin. Some feel that the silly swines are only good for sausages, others keep pig pens in their gardens, while some even invite the prickly porkers inside their burrows. Thus, we had lots of in-game tie-ins to a hog-heavy video already.
Still, the hobbit Yule movies are for the most part music videos, telling tales with a minimum of text/voice. How could we pull off something along the above lines within this format?
Two things helped. First, I recalled the “Swine Lake” performance from The Muppet Show, which is about as bonkers a ballet you could think of. Second, Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” was released in cinemas this December. So I tossed all these inputs into the blender, invited the other hobbits along and started shooting with a loose story idea in mind: A slow classical ballet start, until the pigs arrive and take over, with lots of freestyle sloppy sliding around in a pen. After that, the choreography gets tighter as the West Side Story inspirations take over. And at the very end, we get a small cameo from a recurring figure in the Shire Yule season…
The ensuing musical ballet is the result of 2,5 hours run-and-gun-filming, trying lots of scenes to see which would work, then tying them all together into the above story afterwards. I think it turned out pretty well! Our biggest challenge throughout was the absolutely atrocious state of LOTRO’s servers these days, with disconnects and not least recurring hitching and latency. You’ll see some instances of the latter throughout, although I weeded out the worst. Sadly, I didn’t catch the scene when everyone accidentally walked over a ledge and fell down to the riverside below. That had surely made it into a blooper reel…
The Yule videos typically have two main segments, where the second is based on a shorter filming session (not least because they are done on a weekday, and many hobbits need early naps). This time, we spent an hour and a half in Winterhome, looking to bring hobbit cheer to the locals there. I think we did, unless you were in the same layer as us when we shot the movie. 30+ hobbits emoting like crazy brings a lot of chat spam to the world. Then again, it was all done to bring good Yule spirits to everyone. So apologies in retrospect, but I’d likely do the same again if need be!
In the second segment, you also get lots of screenshots sent in by Laurelin hobbits. I am still amazed that so many spend their time helping make these videos, it really wouldn’t be possible without yer all.
Thank you again, and a happy Yule to everyone!
Want to see the previous hobbit Yule videos? Here’s a playlist with all of them!