Q: Who uses medical device animation and what for?
A: Product and marketing managers use medical device animation to explain the relative advantages of a new technology over current practices. The animation may be shown on a product website, at exhibit booths and in sales aids.
Medical device animation is used in clinical development to train clinical trial staff on the correct use of a technology with patients to help ensure that protocols are followed in the interest of patient safety.
Medical device animation may be used in IFU materials to train HCPs on safe use and product updates
Physicians sometimes use medical device animation to explain procedures to patients.
Q: Can you work with my device CAD files and will this save me money?
A: Yes, we can work with a number of CAD files formats. If you provide a workable 3D model file, we’ll discount the price of your medical device animation accordingly.
Q: What do clients say about AXS Studio?
A: Our clients tell us we’re unlike other agencies they’ve hired in terms of our high level of medical knowledge, especially concerning depictions of anatomy and tissues, and in our attention to detail. The words clients use most to characterize our work are “accurate” and “beautiful”.
Q: Why hire AXS Studio instead of another animation studio or agency?
A: While many legitimate healthcare agencies produce medical device animations, very few use actual medical animators to create them. Instead, most agencies use commercial animators, who don’t have specialized science training. This often results in a lack of accuracy in the depiction of anatomical structure and function — something that’s immediately obvious to an HCP audience, and can diminishing the credibility of a new technology or device.
By contrast, AXS Studio employs only medically-trained animators, each with an M.Sc. in Biomedical Communications (BMC) degree from the University of Toronto, one of only four North American programs accredited by CAAHEP. This specialized training, which includes surgical illustration, is the reason we depict medical device procedures more accurately than animators without medical training. For you, this means a more credible medical device animation and better value for your budget.
Q: What determines the price of a medical device animation?
A: Visual complexity, resolution (for example HD versus 4K) and runtime (length) are the main factors in pricing a medical device animation. All content development and production is done in-house, so you won’t be paying markups for outsourced work.
Q: What does the price of a medical device animation include?
A: This varies among agencies and animation studios, as does the service quality and degree of content expertise. AXS Studio pricing includes research, storyboarding, 3D model creation, animation, shading, lighting, rendering and compositing. Audio services are also included: professional voice talent and recording, sound FX design, and music, stock or custom. Optional services include narration script writing and document preparation for MLR or PRC review.
Q: How long does a medical device animation take to create?
A: 3–4 months on average. This time encompasses content development, creative design and production, and includes rounds of client review at the following stages: script, storyboard, roughcut animation and prefinal animation.
Q: How long is the average medical device animation?
A: Medical device animations typically run between 60 seconds and 3 minutes, although we have created multi-chapter animations for training that have run as long as 10 minutes. In general, shorter is better and also less expensive. Medical professionals and other busy stakeholders appreciate concise, clear storytelling, and that’s an area where AXS Studio excels. When preparing an outline or voice-over script for your medical device animation, a rule of thumb is 100 words of narration per minute of animation. If you can tell your story in 100 words, you can animate it in 1 minute.
Q: Can I supply content for voice-over or on-screen display?
A: Yes, we do work with scripts supplied to us. After reviewing your script, we may provide recommendations to optimize it for visual storytelling. A guiding rule of thumb when writing your script: 100 words of voice-over for every minute of animation.
Q: Can you work with a storyboard that I provide?
A: A storyboard serves two purposes: 1. To pre-visualize the story for stakeholders, and 2. To act as a shot-by-shot roadmap for our medical animators. We will happily review a storyboard you provide and determine whether our animators can use it as-is in our workflow, or if we need to build on it to better fit our established and efficient workflow.
Q: Do I have to provide a medical content expert for the animation?
A: We welcome input from our clients’ opinion leaders and medical experts, but it’s certainly not a requirement. A key reason clients work with AXS is our in-house medical science expertise. AXS writers, storyboard artists and medical animators are formally trained in anatomy, physiology, tissue and organ structure, cell and molecular biology. We have experience in numerous surgical and therapeutic procedures, ranging from orthopedics to plastic surgery and regenerative medicine.
Q: How do ensure the right size video goes to the right device?
A: We make most medical device animations in the HD (high definition) standard: 1920 x 1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio, 24 fps (frames per second). From this master file, we output the video formats (Windows Media, MPEG-4, WebM, etc.) at the file sizes (compression and bitrate) and pixel dimensions best suited to the end user devices that you’re targeting. For online video (including mobile) we optimize compression and bitrate settings and can provide multiple versions to work with responsive websites. With every project, we provide an uncompressed master animation file, which you or your agency can use to output any file format that may be required down the road.
Q: Can an HD medical device animation later be “up-rez’d” to 4K or 6K?
A: Unfortunately, no. While we can change the video file to a higher resolution format (for example, from HD to 4K), the actual resolution will not increase. Rather, new pixels are interpolated from existing ones, resulting in a bigger image, but not an increase in it’s true resolution. If you anticipate needing 4K (or even 6K) in the future, it’s best to begin with that format then down-size for devices that require less resolution.
Q: Some medical device animation companies “offshore” their work to low cost companies in other countries. Does AXS follow this practice?
A: No. We do all work in our studio in Toronto, Canada, with highly trained and experienced medical animators. This enables us to tightly control quality and scheduling to ensure we consistently hit deadlines. This is particularly important for submission deadlines, conferences and product launches. Moreover, while there are many products and services that can be offshored to cut costs, quality medical device animation isn’t one of them. This type of work typically requires a high level of specialized knowledge in order to depict anatomy, tissues and complex procedures accurately.
AXS Studio writers, storyboard artists and medical animators have Master of Science, Biomedical Communications (M.Sc.BMC) degrees — specialized training that enables us to explain complex medical procedures more accurately and clearly than animators without medical training. There are certain animation suppliers in North America that use low cost foreign outsourcing for medical device animation. If you’re considering hiring one of these companies, we advise first seeking information on the medical training their animators have received.
Q: Are special glasses needed to view 3D medical device animations?
A: The term 3D animation refers to using digital 3-dimensional models in the creation of an animated film on a computer. Movie theaters use “3D” to describe stereoscopic films, which are created using a pair of cameras to create the illusion of 3 dimensions on a 2D screen. AXS Studio makes both stereoscopic and regular 3D animations. Stereoscopic animations must be viewed using 3D glasses and a specialized monitor or projector. When we make a stereoscopic animation, we also deliver a “non-stereo” version that can be seen on a regular screen without special glasses. This gives our clients flexibility: stereo for special screenings; non-stereo for viewing on regular screens.
Q: Can I use images from my medical device animation for other purposes, like print or a website?
A: Absolutely. At its basic level, an animation is long series of still images we call frames. You can use any single frame from an animation at no additional charge. These images are usually big enough for use in slide presentations, small print materials and on websites. If you require images at a larger size — for use on a booth panel, for example — we can render the resolution you need and charge only for the output. We can also render individual animation elements at virtually any size.
Q: Do you sell stock surgical animation?
A: No we don’t. All AXS Studio medical device animations created custom, to address our clients’ specific visualization needs.