WCA Sequences 1 and 2 Blood Glucose Animation (BGA): Introduction to chronic disease 05 Aug 14

Idea: Putting living with a chronic disease in the frame. . .

Diabetes means a life of endless blood glucose tests (if you can afford them). The idea in this initial sequence is to show the lancet caps accumulating after blood tests. The sequence will come after the demonstration (video/animation) leaving centrally placed lancet cap. I was trying to put into the viewer’s minds that these tests go on along as you live (this may be depressing but at the moment it is a fact of life). Also I tried to stir ideas of disease in the viewer’s mind – think of the way bacteria crowd out the screen in the seminal movies of bacterial reproduction here or the those of virus spread. I think it is successful in this way, which is not entirely surpassing as this and the microscopy movies I’ve made are produced in just about the same way, but obviously on a different scale (size). The black background is an important factor in this, suggesting you might be looking at something down a microscope. I liked the crystalline array effect of the lancet caps packing together. It was made in 2 takes after a whole day of planning and testing (below), and several hours learning the basics of how Adobe After Effects works – all of which felt like madness in the face of approaching deadlines.


Bacterial division:

Virus spread:


Planing stage: Set up studio and testing.

I intend to make a series of these animations after the final show, so I tried to set as much up as possible without the use of Wimbledon College of Art Equipment.

Room was emptied and cleaned.

Variations of the following were tested to exhaustion.

Table position,

Lighting position (x4: and use in different combinations)

Animation board position,

Animation board set up,

Animation Studio Aug 2014

The camera is centred on the middle of the board around which a 70cm x 60cm rectangle is contained within a graduated metal set square and measuring ruler. The lancet caps will contained in the rectangle (to generate the array effect). Yup, that’s over 4200 blood tests that have gone into making this animation.

Camera Control. A SonyNex-5 Camera was used to make this animation. This camera can not be remote operated from a computer. A commercial WiFi remote control for the system would cost upwards of £65. I wanted one to avoid touching the camera during shooting and to minimise extra movement. My phone has WiFi so I endeavoured to set it up control and fire the camera- how hard could it be? This took a whole infuriating day – but in the long proved to be tome well spent. I did invest in a USBA-USBmicro cable for taking the files from the camera to a computer – again need to keep the camera in constant position

Animation background,

Camera height,

Camera angle, probably not possible to get the camera at exactly 90 degree angle to the board without building a copy stand & camera mount or finding  a way of sticking the disks to the surface- I am not sure that a perfect 90 degree angle is required for this animation. A lower camera angle also makes it clearer to see the food types.

Image capture parameters (exposure, aperture, light settings, image size)

Sony stop-motion application was down loaded to the camera and tested.

Post production digital enhancement use of After Effects for adding text & cells etc.

The smoothest, clearest frame rate for the animation is 29.97 frames per second (frp).

Black with spot 04 Aug 14

The flow of post production file manipulation and file labelling was determined.


Green screen (Chroma key) was put on hold because I do not want to over complicate / distract from the message. Also the white lancet caps on black provides a clearer image. This is not not say Green screen will not be used. However, it proved difficult to get  single lancet caps on a black background into focus all of the time (despite extensive testing of permutations and combinations the above parameters). I am quite interested by what effect the lancet caps being out of focus will provide; on some of the compressed animations have proved a bit of ambiguity with some view thinking the lancet caps are sugar cubes or pills. The focus problem only seemd to occur when a low number of caps are on the board. Solution: try to keep numbers high and when numbers are low get focal plane right and remove caps down to required number.

Black was also selected as it would probably work best with digital enhancement/addition of text, cells, stomach, as suggested during Mark Farrington’s tutorial.

Animation and microscopy.

It seems I am doing a lo-fi version of what I’ve been doing in science. The little dots (lancets caps) do what I want instead of what I’d like (viruses or transport vesicles). I described some of the processes involved in biological imaging in my unit 1 essay “Lines of investigation and lines of explanation: How are lines used to visualise biological science?” she you can read here:


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