Project Profile: Academy of Sciences New Building Tour

To match its new, ground-breaking building opening in October 2008, the California Academy of Sciences designed a completely new, dynamic website. As part of their plan to utilize media to tell fascinating stories, the Academy decided to rely on video vignettes throughout the new website - twenty-six in all. They chose DDP to undertake this work, in large part because of our success in transforming complex topics into understandable and compelling short-subject pieces.

The Academy gave DDP a very short timeline due to the official launch of the new website. Over the years, the Academy has accumulated countless visual assets in a myriad of formats and quality modes. With no time to acquire original images, DDP knew it would have to rely on the library of materials which the Academy possessed. Acquiring, managing, and converting this large volume of assets was a unique challenge in itself.

As a non-profit, the Academy was working with a limited budget, which constrained DDP to five production days. In addition, there were no rooms on site available for conducting lengthy interviews. Appropriately, the Academy wanted the vignettes to showcase their scientists, the research work, and the new building in a way that would impress and intrigue web visitors.


DDP elected to shoot green-screen interviews of Academy scientists, a prominent board member, and a family with small children. This permitted us to composite interview subjects to interesting and relevant backgrounds. DDP crew set up an on-site studio in an a common area to shoot the green screen interviews. Both still and moving images were used for the backgrounds.

As part of the assignment, the Academy’s development department requested a visual tour of the new facility to generate excitement and anticipation around the building’s opening. DDP had only one day in which to shoot this tour on a very busy construction site, using nonprofessional on-camera talent. DDP’s efforts resulted in the featured video that will be used to acquaint interested visitors with this remarkable structure and the exhibits it will house. Development was very please with the outcome.

All production was undertaken in hi-def video and delivered as Flash movies suitable for web deployment.

View sample video sequence:

New Academy of Sciences Tour (13.6 MB)

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