Drugs Inc. series 7, 21 episodes
Fluid Pictures, Nat Geo,
Drugs Inc. is a documentary series that explores in depth how drugs in modern-day society are sold, processed, and how police are cracking down on it, with candid interviews with the drug dealers and law enforcement.
Working with Fluid Pictures for Wall to Wall Television, we needed to refresh the style of maps that had been used and to bring a level of production value to them, whereas before they had been quite plain and simple. As the show would feature a lot of routes that the drugs are trafficked and supplied along, I wanted to bring in the open-source data for roads and populated places that could be used to accurately depict them. This was not a straightforward process as the tools were not quite as easy to use and transfer the data between the programmes. I opted to acquire and process the vector data from Maperitive, which would allow me to select a specific location and then export a layered svg of all the data points and lines that come with OSM data, like roads, waterways, building etc..Also i would need to ensure it had the correct projections, as sometimes the data would be used on wide global scale mercator maps.
Detroit drug routes from epsiode 1
I would then convert into Adobe illustrator and clean and discard the layers needed ready to import them into After Effects for the final styling and animation. This was a lengthy process as not only did it take many hours sometimes to pull in the correct OSM data for certain areas, like NYC, but to then have that opened by Illustrator also was a heavy process. But from there i knew the layered AI file would be robust enough to work from and offer the vector scale necessary to zoom and animate with. This is always an issue mixing raster and vector data sources while still having flexibility to render maps quickly enough for tight schedules and the various edit requests. In total there were 21xhour long episodes, with varying map requests as well as lower third and character introductions.