Nightmare Before Christmas movie posterWe love themed events, so when local agency Kennedy Creative approached us to create a Nightmare Before Christmas photo booth for a corporate holiday party they were planning, we jumped at the chance. Among the photo ops we were tasked to create was the iconic curved hill that is a part of the movie and seen on the movie poster. Sure, this could easily be done via green screen, but the client wanted us to create an actual set with a hill that guests could “climb” and pose on.

In theory (keyword: theory), it wasn’t a huge challenge — just get some stairs, place a hill facade in front of it, and then make a custom background with a big ol’ moon on it. However, in actual execution, challenges soon arose.

First of all, no freestanding stairs existed for the height we required — 4 feet at the top step. So what do you do when that happens? You construct a set of custom stairs that is 4 feet at the top step, naturally.

Next, in order to truly have the full Nightmare Before Christmas photo booth experience, it’s important to capture a full scene with people standing on the hill. In order to do that, a custom 15′ tall backdrop was needed. Not too complicated, until you learn that your placement in the venue is outside on a porch, and your backdrop is basically a 15′ sail. Luckily, an area of the ceiling was just around 15′ in height, allowing us to jam it into a nook and weigh it down with every sandbag we hand on hand.

Lastly, there’s the issue of safety. Having guests climb a set of 4′ stairs at an event with an open bar can be a dicey situation, so we installed “invisible” handrails and a barrier so guests wouldn’t tumble off the edge, making the “nightmare” aspect of the theme come to life. Of course, visually it would have been great to not have to deal with any handrails obscuring the scene, but we made an effort to hide them as much as possible by colorizing them the same as the background.

Behind the scenes from a Nightmare Before Christmas themed photo booth

Overall, while doing the entire thing on a green screen would have been easier, it definitely wouldn’t have the same visual impact and ability to interact with the scene. Guest’s loved the photo op and the ability to take home prints and share it digitally right on the spot, and we look forward to other challenging custom build outs — but maybe without the risk of falling — at future events.

Want to bring a similar experience to your next event? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.