27 Apr 2010

The Ways to Interpret Human Body: Fantastic Voyage, Nucleus, Futurama

At the time of the previous project (Unit 5: Animation), I've come across Nucleus company's animation and was just blown away, by the fascinating interpretation of biological processes they made.

Briefly about the company, Nucleus Medical Media is a U.S. business that creates and licenses medical illustrations and animations.
To add more, the company welcomes students showing their own interpretations and transcriptions of biological projects:
For a free proposal on your next medical project of any size, contact the company with the largest staff of graduate-degreed medical animators in the world. (for more information as well as for many more other animations: http://catalog.nucleusinc.com/nucleusindex.php?)

The animations try to convey scientific data as accurately as possible.
It might be said the audiences might vary from relatively young pupils to scientist's themselves. The process they are showing is never overwhelmed with environmental details, if it doesn;t contribute to the explanation ( like when they show spline structure) or oppositely, we see tiniest dusts and micro particles if that's taking a part in the scenario.

Also it seems that the artistic side isn't forgotten. To name in particular, lighting of the scenes or composition.

Another interesting aspect is the use of music and how it doesn't distract from the scientific side of the process, oppositely makes it more appealing to watch.

The way Company represents the scientific data, in a way, gives the cinematic qualities.

This is particularly true in Fantastic Voyage (Dir. Richard Fleischer, 1966).

How human body could look from inside were successfully interpreted by combining both, the scientific and cinematic sides. As there was written in the beginning of the film, it is hugely indebted to scientists' help.
the other side came from artist's mastery: the lighting, the use of colour as well as textures were impressive and believable.

Also, not to forget the soundtrack and sound effects.

Particular sound effects were chosen for different spaces of inside of human body.
For instance if the scientist ship was getting closer to the hart we'd be hear low frequencies.

But not always sound effects were heard. Sometimes it was mainly music. It depended from the story (where the sound had to be understood as a warning, no music covered it)

The film was awarded for Best Color Art Direction, Special Visual Effects and nominated for Best Color Cinematography, Editing, Sound Effects .
The use of these techniques made the transcription an exciting experience to see.

Other example how the human body was interpreted in mass media could be FUTURAMA ( season 3, episode 4)

Fry's ( one of the main character) body was interpreted as a factory, where worms and bacterias were the employees, that tried to improve his physical data.

The bacterias were given personifications of people . For example, there were lasy bacteria-workers or the king-bacteria responsible for the coherence in the system.


  1. I love that episode! and that video too wow, im some way i wish we had a subject which was internal bodily function.

  2. actually, I think that epizode is one of my favorites :D