Andi Best Freelance Designer

Father Christmas Caught On Camera


  • Published 19-12-2021
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Father Christmas Caught On Camera
I've just given back to the local community in a way I've not before. I donated my time and skills to a little project which ran away from me slightly...
I think we've all reached our tolerance for 2021 rhetoric. For me it became apparent I'd had enough around about the last week of November when for the first time in over a year I'd allowed my mind to be consumed by something other than the perpetual dread of modern existence.
I'd embraced the Christmas spirit, hard. I blame my eldest for this, as her captivation with the season has been particularly infectious this year, what with all the pantos, Christmas parties, nativity plays and other festive engagements she's been involved in (and was notably deprived of by restrictions 12 months ago).
For the sake of my kids we've been excelling ourselves in imposing a sense of magic into just about everything we do each day this month, sustaining a high-level of excitement and suspense in anticipation of the big day. My wife had the idea of taking a screenshot from our home security system which points across our driveway and have me Photoshop into the night sky a "realistic" graphic of Father Christmas flying over the neighbour's rooftops, so we could show it to them on Christmas morning and protract the blowing of their minds.
I did, I don't mind saying, a pretty slick job of it. It wouldn't hold up under intense scrutiny by trained investigators but it'll prove unequivocally authentic for a child's perception of a grainy, night-vision video still (see image above).
Father Christmas Caught On Camera
Typically I took things too far. I was so impressed with my work that I couldn't keep it to myself. I logged into Facebook, headed to a community group for local parents I'm a member of and told them what I'd conjured up. I told them that I had the Photoshop layers ready and that if anyone else wanted the same creating for their children, all they had to do was send me a screenshot from their security camera footage and I'd happily do it.
Cue inundation.
I like to think that some low-level administrator over at Facebook got a mild alert notification about possible fraudulent activity occurring on my account, being as it was suddenly receiving engagement unlike anything it had ever seen in all its years of operation. A silicon valley dude getting a minor thrill at work, tapping his finger against a glass dial on his console whilst the needle marked "Andi Best" beneath flailed wildly back and forth.
Father Christmas Caught On Camera
I have never seen so many driveways from the perspective of a front door in all my life. At the time of writing I've had requests from 70 grateful mums and dads to copy my Santa asset into their photographs. It took two days before the administrator yanked the plug from the back of the algorithm and the familiar relative silence was restored to my account.
I was exhilarated by the response so I set to work immediately, copying my asset across into the array of monochrome suburban landscapes I'd been sent, adjusting the contrast for the variance in lighting, scaling/positioning the big man and his reindeer fleet between trees and lampposts, and editing any timestamps present to appear as though taken on Christmas Eve.
It was a smooth conveyor belt process and every parent who'd been in touch was soon the owner of an irrefutable piece of "evidence" to help stoke the fantasy for their kids the following week.
Father Christmas Caught On Camera
Of course no creative project is without its challenges. At least four parents shared views from their CCTV that didn't point to any sky at all. They were either trained down on the front gardens, their vehicles parked on the driveways, their entrance passages, or in one case, the inside of their porch chamber between interior and exterior doors! Being as my prepared Santa asset was quite distant, arcing upward, and showing the underside of the sleigh, the perspective was all wrong to include it in any photo that didn't feature a horizon. But I was eager not to disappoint anyone. For those parents who couldn't offer a conventional angle from their lens I felt compelled to come up with a bespoke depiction of their property having been graced by the jolliest man in all human lore. In most cases this could be done by Photoshopping reindeers chilling out on their lawns or trotting about on the road nearby. In others, a few snowy footprints crossing the pathway leading to the front door on an evening no snow had fallen would surely infer the presence of the North Pole dweller. It wasn't exactly what I'd intended to do from my original offer but as I was winding down my working commitments for the year I had a little extra time available.
Father Christmas Caught On Camera
Absolutely every parent was thrilled with the imagery I sent back to them. "Oh my goodness you are absolutely amazing!! I cannot thank you enough!!! You are going to be making so many children in Worthing very very happy! Thank you so much" was one of the jubilant responses. My cheeks ached from grinning by the time I was finished.
My children will be delighted for about two seconds after I strike up my phone and pretend I've only just delved into last night's footage, before returning to tearing open wrapping paper. But if those two seconds infuse just a little more wonder into their day, and the days of all the children whose parents will be showing them faked screen captures, it will be entirely worth it.
Father Christmas Caught On Camera
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