How JoVE Animators Make Videos: Behind-The-Scenes

Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 9 min read
Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 9 min read

JoVE educational videos empower practical science concepts and laboratory methods in undergraduate and graduate courses at universities and colleges. These videos enable quick in-depth comprehension of complex STEM subjects to increase student engagement and learning outcomes that support innovative teaching initiatives such as blended learning and flipped classroom.

At JoVE, employees perform their stipulated roles and go above and beyond to learn the ins and outs of the products to enhance video outcomes. JoVE animators dig deeper into science concepts so they can create videos that exhibit real-life experiments. Laura Dickson, Director of Production at JoVE, says, “We are constantly releasing new content. Every release is exhilarating, as so many individuals in the team contribute and work together on each collection. Our video team comprises around 115 members, including 70 science writers and editors, 38 illustrators and animators. It’s wonderful to see the synergy between scientists and artists. Everyone is incredibly motivated and strives to make the most engaging and scientifically accurate videos”.

We connected with three of Laura’s talented team members and JoVE animators, Ashit Kotian, Manpreet Kaur, and David Klauka. They are constantly working behind the scenes to create high-impact animations to enable quick, in-depth comprehension of concepts. 

Ever wondered what it’s like to create videos at JoVE? Let’s dive in and understand the process of working behind the scenes from our animator’s perspective.

JoVE animators highlight some of their favorite projects and highlight challenges that come along with them.

Manpreet Kaur, the lead animator at JoVE, highlights her favorite project, ‘Nuclear Fusion’ from Core: Chemistry, which involved an explosion that was challenging and not easy to animate. This particular project was her favorite because she found the explosion effect needed in the video enticing. Manpreet had to go out of her way to research the concept to create the perfect animation to reflect the burning and explosion effect. She says these projects assist her career advancement plans and that she knows her work at JoVE is put to good use.

David Khlauka, lead animator at JoVE, shares his experience working on a Core: Biology animation project ‘Predator-Prey Interactions.’ He says it has been one of the most exciting projects he’s worked on, involving creating 3D animations of African animals in the safari. He further adds that it was exciting to develop projections of animal movements for a realistic result. JoVE aims to create videos that provide high-impact animations and easy-to-understand video demonstrations of experiments that illustrate key concepts and lab techniques that are not visible to the human eye. 

Ashit Kotian, lead animator at JoVE, shares his story from working on his favorite project to create a Core: Chemistry video animation on ‘Phase transitions: Melting and Freezing.’ He says that it was challenging for him to work on it since it required in-depth research to represent the experiment while being theoretically correct thoroughly.

JoVE animators dedicate a chunk of their time to understanding science concepts to create impactful videos to impart practical education. Not all JoVE animators have formal science education, but research and teamwork help them overcome that challenge. Laura Dickinson says, “The most challenging aspects for JoVE were to produce more content to support remote learning while also navigating how to make that work logistically. As the pandemic created challenges for people all over the world and had to quickly adapt to the changes, JoVE heavily relied on virtual meetings apart from trust and transparency built across all teams”.

The process of creating a video for JoVE Education from start to finish

It is important to understand standard video guidelines and the availability of tangible assets before planning the animation process. Once the concept is clear and procedures are in place, the animators begin the animation process. At this stage, the first draft is called a ‘rough cut’ which later goes back and forth for voice-overs and additional features.

While creating animations depends on multiple factors, an average storyboard is about 70 slides on a PowerPoint presentation and takes 2-3 days to animate. Similarly, some videos may take 3-4 days depending on various factors such as the length of a video, the animator’s experience most importantly complexity of the concept.

JoVE values initiative and productive work and fosters an environment that promotes both. There’s an open-door policy to ensure there’s constant communication. JoVE’s greatest assets are the people who work here, and as the company grows, they grow too. 

See how JoVE can help you enhance your syllabus with cutting-edge STEM video resources. Ask for a trial now!

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