Information Age

Screen Glue - The Science Museum

6 x 4mins Animated films
Screen Glue was commissioned to make a series of animations for the London Science Museum's big new gallery opening 'Information Age'.

Featuring objects in the new gallery that changed our world.
The first transatlantic cable, the world's first business computer and the radio that launched the BBC. Light-hearted, quirky and warm, these films are the easy way to scientific enlightenment.

First film about the world's first undersea communications cable

A large part of the production was in the shoots we undertook of the objects themselves, both within the museum and the long term storage and conservation areas the museum keeps. This was in an old postal sorting office in West London, often used in feature film backdrops and a large disused military airbase - which is always exciting to explore. The objects the museum had chosen to display had been carefully researched and brought back to life for the opening of the gallery. Another treat was in exploring lots of the items that are kept in storage, off-limits and rarely seen by the public. Whether this was the entire history of radio transmitters and computers or some of the vehicles housed in the giant warehouses.

We had opted for greenscreen shoots of the objects and carefully staged interactions with the objects and the conservators. For this, we used the ubiquitous Canon 5D, but due to limitations with the mp4/mov encoding it sues, we opted to capture any video using the HDMI-Ninja2 addon, which encodes the video in much better formats for VFX work like greenscreen, as well as increased clarity of the video files.
 

Thumbnails for camera shoots

Screen Glue was founded in 2013 by world-renowned producer Jasper James, whom I had worked with previously at his production company, Wide-Eyed Entertainment. I had a great relationship with Jasper and we both knew how challenging these format films would be to produce and make in the short time budgeted for them. We relied extensively on imagery from the Science’s Museums archives, but often found this didn’t cover the areas we needed to fill the screen, so Jasper had hired image archivists to source from other collections.

Some early 3D tests using sketch and toon shaders in C4D

During actual production of these we had to deliver one of the films every 6 days, with a little time added to package and deliver with a grade and sound design. I worked with Matthew Robert Jones to help bounce ideas and edits off and to help animate each of the 3-4mins films. Again this was a tall order, but after the first film we quickly found our stride and found a great workflow to help us along.

All the animation was made in After Effects, with preparation work done in Lightroom and Photoshop. Sound Design was added by Joe Churchman once the films had been signed off by the museum.

LEO - the world's first business computer

Model of the SS Great Eastern

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