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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Our in-house video producer and the creator of our Plymouth Research Centre 360° video explains more about the project

Our in-house video producer and the creator of our Plymouth Research Centre 360° video explains more about the project
by Rachael White

When you are making videos, you are constantly telling people in the back of shot to just “act normal – carry on with what you would be doing as if we weren’t here!” When we were filming the 360° videos, however, we had to make sure that anyone in shot was completely still for about 30 seconds as the special 360 camera span around taking the images – the last thing we wanted was a blurry figure you couldn’t make out! The expertise of Visual Realms Ltd who controlled this were fantastic. 

We also had to reassure the researchers we filmed that they were doing a great job, as some were a bit camera shy! In the end, they all enjoyed it and really wanted to share their work to show our supporters what they were doing in their efforts to progress the understanding of brain tumours.

That is really what this video project was all about from the outset. I wanted to make something interactive and engaging that our supporters would love because they make the research possible. I wanted our supporters to see how their fundraising, donations and campaigning is really helping the researchers continue their vital work.

I think we have delivered a ‘special’ lab tour that lets viewers explore the lab virtually as if on a real lab tour without having to leave home. The viewer is in control and can find out more about different areas in the lab, what individual scientists are focusing on and the pieces of research equipment necessary to conduct cutting-edge research, as they navigate their way around the lab using their mouse.

I think some of the scientists were challenged by simplifying and recording ‘sound bites’ on what their research was all about, and at times I was challenged to know what they were talking about too! Thanks to our Research Manager, Katie Sheen, who was able to help them simplify their research language and probe them further on their projects whilst keeping them at ease. We decided that if I could understand the science then so would viewers of the video, so we worked closely together to make their very complex projects as easy to understand as possible.

If there is something people want to know more about or if there is a new area of research introduced to Plymouth, then the great thing with this type of content is that we can add in new video clips and other information really easily. This means the content will always be up to date, which is so important.

I am really proud of this project and the Centre Lead, Professor Oliver Hanemann, has made really positive and favourable comments. We hoped it would be a great way to show our research and I think we have been proved right.

Although it was planned and produced before the pandemic, the virtual lab tour is even more important in these times when in-person lab tours, which provide so much hope and inspiration, aren’t possible they can still be experienced with a click of a button. A huge thank you also has to go to our Events Manager, Vicki Offin, who planned and co-ordinated the two days of filming. Vicki also shared the vision from the start as we discussed one day in the office “how amazing would it be if we could have a virtual lab tour?” Vicki’s experience with real-life lab tours has enriched the virtual experience and transformed our tours into something everyone can enjoy.

In the future, when life resembles some normality, anyone with an interest in brain tumour research and our supporters who campaign, donate or fundraise for Brain Tumour Research can see some of the vital work they’re helping to achieve.

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