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The making of 'A day in the life of an animal technologist'

21 March 2012

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Category: Communications & media

youtube–video–monkey.jpgWe have wanted to film in an animal facility for some time. Not least to have some video material that puts the record straight about the way animals involved in research are cared for.

YouTube is the second or third most commonly used search space on the internet so having our material there is vital in presenting the case for animal research.

Originally we wanted to have normal interviews with animal technologists intercut with them going about their everyday tasks. We found a number of animal technologists who were willing to be filmed (you know who you are - thanks!), but whose institutions would not give permission.

Eventually King's College, London gave us the go ahead as long as their staff were not in shot. Unfortunately, because of concerns about personal security, staff in animal facilities must remain invisible.

I had talked about this film with a film-making colleague and he cautioned me against filming interviews where you cannot see the subject. He argues that I could make people seem ‘like criminals or refugees from political persecution'.

Nevertheless we went ahead with our interviewees and I spent a very interesting three days watching and filming the activities in the facility.

When I had a clear view of what I wanted to portray I asked my colleague Anna to come in and ask the questions, so that we had an interviewer in shot.

Aside from a couple of comedy moments when Anna had a (very tame) rat running up into her hair, and I soaked my microphone cover during a close-up of zebrafish, everything went smoothly.

The first of a series of three films I intend to make from this footage is online now and I am very glad to say has been well received by the animal technologist community.

We're very grateful for the full and easy co-operation we received at King's and would have liked to be able to credit people properly, but for the same reason we could not show their faces, we cannot state their names. Nonetheless, we look forward to filming with other technologists and scientists in their ‘natural environment' in the near future.

You can watch a high resolution version of ‘ A day in the life of an animal technologist' here: http://bit.ly/GCDhz7