Themselves a fine example of the artful deployment of minimal resources, the Framestore Design team have recently completed work on Sugar Battery, a short animation about a new development in alternative energy. Brilliantly conceived and realised, Sugar Battery is screening over autumn 2007.
The film was created for production company Coast as part of their second Green Design series. The first series of Green Design featured Hydrogen, another Framestore Design animation, and Producer Mac Mackenzie returned to the team for one of the five short films in this new series.
Like its predecessor, Sugar Battery was designed and directed by Adam Parry, who worked entirely in Flame, and was produced for Framestore Design by Simon Whalley. “We were very pleased to be approached by Coast to do another animated film for their Green Design series,” says Whalley, “Repeat business is always flattering – you know that you’ve been doing something right – and it was doubly pleasing because they wanted something a bit different this time, and clearly felt we could handle that.”
“The subject is a battery that runs on sugar. Specifically, it generates electricity via a sugar soaked solution that mimics cell respiration. Environmentally it is a good idea, because the energy comes from a renewable, free, non-polluting source (the sun), and, once the battery’s exhausted, what’s left over is water. One reason for going down the animation route is that this is a product in development – it exists, but not yet in the form we show. They need to figure out how to mass produce a small version of the object.”
Describing the difference between Sugar Battery and its predecessor, Designer Adam Parry says, “The challenges involved were different and greater this time around. For Hydrogen we employed a classic sort of science-documentary visual vocabulary – cross-sections, molecular models, and so forth. Coast wanted to move a little away from that this time. So, for example, the sun and water motifs I created were intended to evoke rather than illustrate. That said, the visualisation of the battery itself needed to be quite scientifically focussed and not too abstract. And for the end of the piece, we wanted to locate the battery within an entire human eco-system – so we thought a city was appropriate for that.”
“The range of information we needed to convey in just 50 seconds was huge,” continues Whalley, “From broad scientific principles such as the idea that all life on earth is fuelled by sunlight, to the specific process of photosynthesis, to the real-life applications that the battery might have. The producers gave us their script, but beyond that we had a pretty free hand.”
Green Design is the umbrella title for a series of short films that Coast has been creating over the last four years. The films aim to inform people about the range of ways in which new technology is being used to help us live our lives in closer harmony with our planet. Editorially independent, the series have been commissioned by BBC World, National Geographic Channel, Sky News and Euro News, and go out in editorial time. In addition to creating the only animated episodes of Green Design, Framestore CFC has also created titles, effects, TK and conforms for other films in the series.
Green Design ‘Sugar Battery’
Production Company Coast
Head of Production Mac Mackenzie
For Framestore Design
Direction and Design Adam Parry
Producer Simon Whalley