The 2022 Laurelin hobbit Yule video!
Happy Yule everyone, and best wishes for the Yuletide! I hope yer all have some relaxing days, filled with as much good cheer as possible. To help yer get in the right mood, here is this year’s 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 2022 Yule video
Every year since 2012, I have made Yule videos where the hobbit players on Laurelin are invited to take part. And boy, do they! Lots attend the video shoots, send in screenshots and offer up ideas. Many thanks to all who helped out! Yer assistance and good cheer was absolutely vital for the making of this video! I really hope I didn’t forget to add 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 here it is: The 2022 Laurelin hobbit Yule video. Full-screen and high-definition very much recommended! More on the making-of it below.
“Pie Hard” – the 2022 Laurelin hobbit Yule video.
Die Hard is my favourite Yule movie.
Sure, there are lots of other grand movies: A Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf… the list goes on. Still, I can’t help it, I get right into the holiday spirit when I see this warm and comforting tale about a lad who just wants to celebrate Yule with his family, but who runs into a lot of mean grinches on the way.
The explosions, snappy dialogue and smart action sequences are a nice bonus, of course.
So, one early autumn day, after seeing yet another claim from a grouchy Bree-based sourpuss that hobbit roleplaying is only about pies and nothing else, the title just popped up: Pie Hard. I could play around with the ultimate hobbit RP trope, while stroking the cognitive biases of folks who aren’t really interested in hobbit roleplaying anyway. Perfect!
Making the movie was a bit harder, though. This is the first early “script” for the Pie Hard segment, with some initial ideas I jotted down in Notepad:
Starting with boat travel.
Rolling pins = weapons
Now I have a brandy bottle … ho ho ho
Shooting it in the Mathom house?
Lots of dumb bounders
The six dozen pies in your cupboard
Oven blowing up, pies doused with brandy
That all evolved over time, of course, through discussing ideas with others involved, exploring the limits of the LOTRO game engine, searching for suitable music, and working within the general limits of these projects: It’s all to be shot within a 2-2,5 hour run-and-gun session, coordinating more than 25 players on the fly (although this year, we shot the first riverside scene + some exterior shots early).
Location turned out to be the biggest challenge. Where to shoot the segment? Options included the Mathom house, the Great Smials and even our own kin hall. None were particularly brilliant options for this video. However, one week before the shoot, we visited a Yule-themed kin hall down in the Belfalas housing area. It was large, it had a staircase, and it was suitably decorated for about three dozen Yuletides at once. That gave both space and good backgrounds for the shoot. So, a special note of thanks to Geoadoc, who generously allowed us to use the Radix Lecti Yule-themed kin hall. It was a grand place for this project!
Apart from that, another challenge was to make a hobbity version of a wild action film, reducing the number of active characters, the body count and the amount of swear words in the process. Hobbit roleplaying in LOTRO is rather wholesome, after all… So I simplified things by telling the tale of Pie McCrust, who travels from Buckland to the Shire to help prepare for the Yuletide, only to run into several culinary ruffians planning to raid the pie larder. I used some dialogue and scenes from the movie and the trailers for inspiration. And I needed explosions. Lots.
That all evolved into a 3+ minute “trailer” for Pie Hard. It was grand fun making it. I hope yer enjoy it too!
The second segment is the more relaxed “credits” scene, where we just walked around for 90 minutes or so, trying scenes that would fit within a theme of hobbits preparing for the Yuletide. With some in-jokes thrown in (the Yule bath is a recurring issue within the Shire RP community). Sadly, a lot of the best scenes here were ruined by the general choppiness of the LOTRO servers. We had numerous lag spikes, people disconnecting (one player DC-ed at least five times), hitching, characters freezing in one place, etc. etc. So it was a bit of a job to salvage enough scenes for this segment.
Here, you also get lots of Yule 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!