Vlogmas - Christmas in the Making

by Gerry Lynch last modified 30 Nov, 2016 04:56 PM

Work experience student from church school sparks Cathedral’s biggest ever social media project

Salisbury Cathedral has launched its largest and most ambitious social media project ever, thanks to a sixteen-year-old work experience student from a local church school.

Connie Roberts from St Edmunds School, Salisbury, came up with the idea of making a ‘vlogmas’ at the Cathedral after getting hooked on the daily Christmas video blogs (‘vlogs’) that YouTube presenters (vloggers) post throughout December.

Watch a trailer here.

Vlogmas - Christmas in the Making is a first for Salisbury but may also be a first for any English Cathedral. Twenty-five home-made films, one for every day of December until Christmas Day, following the army of volunteers and staff as they prepare for the Cathedral’s busiest time of the year and set the stage for the important Christmas services.

Connie Roberts said, “I’m a Christmas-aholic and thought it would be a fun, alternative idea…”

Connie also clocked that the Cathedral had two ready-made vlogging stars in the form of Amber Rawlings, the Cathedral’s 21-year-old Marketing Assistant, and Tyler Ringwood Hoare, a Cathedral Verger.

The task of making 25 short ‘vlogmas’ films fell to Amber, who looks after Salisbury Cathedral’s social media output. She and the team have been shooting with a Canon 700d with and without a tripod and with iphones, and editing on iMovie.

The films offer lively backstage access to Cathedral life, featuring everything from a test run for ten-foot tall puppets that will feature in the Family service and the installation of laser lights in the triforium to make a Star of Bethlehem, to dress rehearsing a real-life donkey who plays her part in the Christmas story, finding paper angels in the attic waiting to descend in mid December, a school nativity practice, a Georgian at Christmas at Mompesson House and choristers rehearsing the Messiah for their concert on Wednesday 7 December.

Still in the throes of production, with just ten films in the can, Amber admits to occasionally feeling overwhelmed by the scale of it all, “I am used to making Snapchats and online stuff like that but the last time I made any kind of short film was when I was at college, so Vlogmas has been a bit of a monster, a nightmare really, but a fun one! Luckily vlogs are a different feel to ‘real’ TV, a bit more ‘in the moment’, which gives you some leeway and I think the fact that you get to see all sorts of things you wouldn’t normally see is great.”

Helping with the production are 22 recruits from the Sixth Form of another local church school, Bishop Wordsworth, who took on jobs including filming, editing and social media, even creating the stop-action titles.

Amber Rawlings explains, “The boys have been really great. They bring their own skills and ideas to the table, and some, like Max, are already involved with small scale filmmaking. I think they quite like the fact that they get tea made for them and occasionally we feed them cake.”

Vlogmas will be published daily until Christmas Day on the Cathedral website and on You Tube.

Amber will also be tweeting and putting reminders on Facebook too.

 

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