Nov 30

sitegoals Presents: Return of the Pumpkin

Watch the making-of story and our entry below.

sitegoals was once again invited to participate in Vitamin T’s #ATXPumpkinChallenge last month. This year, creative agencies around Austin were given a fake pumpkin and challenged to create a 15 second to 1 minute video showcasing the pumpkin in any way they see fit. As defending champion, we knew we had to up the ante this year.

It all began with three simple words: Pumpkin. In. Space. Given that this is the year of the next Star Wars movie (and Star Wars mania is upon us); it only took five minutes until the team decided Star Wars would be the theme. The Death Star III completely took over our office. From decorating to flight research and prep, the sitegoals team was on a mission, literally. After a busy week of production, we were ready to launch.

On October 15th, the team gathered at the office at 5:30am. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. For the feature, we rented Darth Vader and Stormtrooper costumes from Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, a local legendary costume shop here in Austin. After shooting video for some of the backstory, we launched the Death Star III and proceeded to track it through and experimental on-board computer called the Tracksoar. It would send a signal every minute through the HAM radio towers so we were able to see the exact elevation, temperature and speed of travel. After a 4 hour ascent and a 45 minute descent, we caught up with the airframe and Death Star in an empty field in Thorndale, Texas. Now it was time to get the footage back to the editing station and start making pumpkin carving history.

Editing together hours upon hours of footage into a 1 minute video was an incredible challenge as well; we wanted to show so much more than we had time for. Once we completed the video on the day it was due, we uploaded it to the MusicMeetsVideo website and prepared for the voting period.

Voting was fairly close for the first three days. In that time, sitegoals naturally rose up the ranks to sit at a third place spot. It all came down to the final day. The sitegoals team started hustling and harassing everyone who would listen to help us defeat AT&T, the only competitor who seemed to be getting votes as quickly as we were. In the final hour, we pushed ahead of AT&T and left them in the dust.

We won! Again.

In the spirit of learning and because we love kids who love science, we are donating the air frame used for this project along with the prize to Explore Austin. Even though we like free food, we like making kids happy more.

Check out our video of the making-of story that ends with our entry to get the full story. This was truly a team effort, from concept to design to execution to naming (even they did NOT go with my amazing suggestion of “Gourd Wars: Return of the Death Squash”) and finally to launch. Thanks to Sweet John Muehlbauer and Jef Hahl for making these two videos come together.

Special thanks to Mike Bales, CEO of Tracksoar for lending us his equipment. You can find out more about the technology we used to make this happen and support Mike’s company by checking out his Kickstarter. Another huge special thanks to Jim Kinter Jr. (K5KTF). Jim was not only our HAM radio expert but he was out there with us at 6am for launch and 1pm for retrieval.

And to all of you who voted, a BIG thank you and may the force be with you all!

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