Ah, the crackling wood. The dancing flame. You can almost feel the warmth radiating from your screen. On Christmas Eve, here's a celebration of the yule log film, and a peek at how nine artists reinterpreted the holiday television tradition.
The original yule log video was filmed in 1966 by Fred M. Thrower, an enterprising CEO at WPIX-TV, who wanted to deliver the festive feeling of a virtual hearth to New Yorkers without fireplaces. The fireplace was shot on 16mm film at one of the city's most prestigious addresses, no less: New York City's Gracie Mansion. In addition to giving the gift of fire to viewers, airing the log provided a way for television stations to vacate for the night, allowing employees to spend time with their families.
In 1970 the program was re-recorded on 35mm (at a California home, this time) and it's this film—named The Yule Log—which will be broadcast on a dozen stations this Christmas. (Plenty other stations have created their own takes on the smoldering fireplace.)
But burning wood is so 20th century, plus some of us need a flame that's a bit more stylized for our homes. So Daniel Savage and Wondersauce collaborated to build the next generation of yule logs, recruiting dozens of artists, illustrators and animators to contribute their takes to Yule Log 2.0.
There are so many good ones at the project's site it was hard to pick just nine, so head over there and poke around. If you play them directly from the site you'll get the fireplace sound effects and the option to loop the animation infinitely, which will almost certainly keep you warm on a cold winter's night. [Yule Log 2.0]
LogOS 7.0 by Salih
Thermophile by Lee Gingold and Jordan Bruner
Yule Login by Nick Hum
Virtyule Reality by Eric Epstein
Christmas Spirit Fingers by Frank Chimero
Paper Flames by Kyle Sauer
Technicolog by Ryan Philips
2013 Roast by Erica Gorochow
YULECRAFT by James Zanoni