Gif the Halls: Holiday Cards Gone Wild

When WP Engine came to us to help engineer Gif the Halls – part digital holiday greeting, part holiday art exhibition – we were more than a little intrigued.

The WP Engine Labs team commissioned six digital artists to create holiday themed animations, to be projected onto buildings in San Francisco – and they needed a way to collect holiday messages from the masses. Enabling visitors, directed from the exhibit, to build digital holiday cards on the (WP Engine hosted) website was the easy part.

Gif the Halls

First, we had to build an output system to project cards onto the buildings in San Francisco, and that output system needed a queue manager, so that only approved cards would appear. Still doesn’t sound too hard?

We also had to engineer remote controlled video capture. Collecting and displaying cards wasn’t enough: we wanted to capture reactions to the exhibit right on the street. Our set-up would determine when a camera should record, transcode that video recording, and share the reaction with the original card creator, who would in turn share the video with friends and family. Without getting too technical, we created a bridge between WordPress and a digital SLR so that when cards are presented, the camera in San Francisco begins recording.

You can check out the result of our partnership with WPEngine, featuring art curated by Grey Area and presented in partnership with YBCBD, by heading over to and visiting the Humboldt Bank Building or Monadnock Building on Market Street between the hours of 6pm and 6am, December 20-22.

  1. Congratulations on implementing a cool project.

  2. Overall this is a pretty serious achievement! Congrats David!

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