THE RHYTHMS AND PATTERNS OF AMERICAN LIFE
422 South have produced stunning new animations for this major landmark series to be premiered across the USA on PBS April 17th.
The company developed techniques first used to create animations for the BBC’s Britain from Above, then later for Deutschland von Oben for ZDF Germany and most recently for Nederland van Boven for Dutch broadcaster nederlandvanboven.vpro.nl.
Vast amounts of data were sourced by our client – New York-based production company Lion TV. That data was passed to our technical team who used proprietary techniques to unpack the information and to convert it to a form suitable for animation. The result was over sixty animations on subjects as diverse as aircraft movements, New York commuters, telephone calls, crop spraying, food distribution and wind direction.
The unique approach to storytelling led to unique challenges for the 422 South team. The team were at work for 18 months – much longer than project of this size would normally need. Only once 422 South started to work with the data would the story that it contained emerge. Some data proved inconclusive. Some was downright perverse ! But the resulting information was fed back to the producers who modified the script, or sought fresh data in response. Thus progress was made one small step at a time.
Our creative team then took over to introduce a ‘God’s Eye’ view of the USA at different heights. The data was visualized as glowing dots, lines, or coloured streaks, each application carefully designed to reflect the subject matter, and superimposed over satellite photographs of the USA, to create a beautiful and accurate composite of both location and data.
AMERICA REVEALED episodes include (all working titles):
The Great American Breadbasket
How America keeps pace with its insatiable appetite; who decides what food is produced; and how pastures and prairies turned into the biggest food machine in the world.
The American Dynamo
How America propels itself through energy, including the extraction of valuable ore and oil; the creation of electricity through water, wind and nuclear power; and the intricacies of energy distribution.
America in Motion
How America moves, whether the transportation mode is a bicycle on a neighborhood sidewalk, a family car on the mammoth interstate highway system or air traffic moving above the clouds.
Made in America
How American industry creates, whether it’s a simple cardboard box, a sleek new car, a jumbo jet or a tiny silicon chip, and how supply and demand, manufacturing and assembly are interconnected.