The outbreak of the COVID-19 disease has hit the entertainment and film industry hard, and will have far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease. In the midst of the crisis, animation studios and production companies have had to develop creative and innovative responses on both technical and organizational levels with some going as far as reconsidering their business models and services. The animation studio Kabum belongs to the latter category.
© Teresa Romano and Marco Testini, co-founders of Kabum.
Based in Bari, Puglia, Kabum is an independent studio co-founded by artists and designers Marco Testini and Teresa Romano. Together, they work to create innovative films and special effects, mixing 2D and 3D, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. In the face of the crisis, they grew and developed scientific animation services for the medicine and biotechnology industry. In just a few weeks, using their skills, cutting-edge technologies of 3D-animation and input from medical experts, they have been able to translate complex science into compelling and scientifically accurate medical media. We spoke with Marco Testini.
Within the context of a global health crisis and the many associated anxieties, the decision to launch this new service was primarily dictated by the desire to be “able to offer a service to better communicate some medical aspects,” says Marco. Scientific animation “allows everyone to see what a doctor sees under the microscope” through computer-generated imagery (“CGI”).
©Kabum Film Experience.
Obviously, innovation is in Kabum’s nature. In their own words, adapting their services during the pandemic was “not so complicated.” They were already familiar with the necessary 3D graphics and animation software and benefited from the assistance of medical experts. They also used their regular multimedia channels and the internet for marketing. Working from home? “Easy! […] We opened a virtual studio on our server on Discord, accessible by anyone from our website […].”
It would be premature to assess how innovation at Kabum will change their business model. The studio’s traditional film and video activities have slowed down due to lower customer demand with some orders cancelled, but the studio hasn’t suffered a major COVID-19 related decrease in productivity. Technically, it is ready to return to a pre-crisis level of business. As for Kabum’s foray into 3D scientific animation, it is also too early to determine how much it can grow, although it is likely to be “relevant in many fields like education, scientific communication and efforts to raise awareness.”
In any case, this is a field Kabum plans to explore further. There is a market for representing complex medical concepts and for Marco, “doing it creatively is the winning way.” Stressing his long-standing fascination for the medical field, he remembers he and his business partner had been first hired as CGI artists to create an orthopedic descriptive video for which they had to film a knee replacement operation. Kabum partners definitely see this experience as “a piece that will contribute to Kabum’s evolutionary process.
Breaking into a new market takes time. So far, the studio’s initiative has been supported by the community and word-of-mouth recommendations, but they hope that the authorities will recognize scientific animation’s potential for growth and technological progress. At ALICE, we strongly support the initiative and believe that, if anything, this experience will contribute to building Kabum’s resilience and sustainability.
To be continued...
Learn more about Kabum new service here: www.kabum.it/servizi/3d-animation-for-medicine-and-biotechnology/