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Bringing the amazing world of microbiology to life through four stunning instructional 3D animations (available free to schools).

Studio-quality 3D is expensive and can easily run $10-30,000 per finished minute. Our goal is a fraction of that cost - $135,000 to produce four videos totaling approximately 40 minutes of dazzling 3D animation:

1) A Tour of a Cell

2) The Mysteries of DNA

3) Viruses

4) The Immune System

The funding we are requesting is the minimum needed to create a dynamic, high-impact set of animated educational videos. These videos will be available to schools for free.

If we exceed the goal, we will use additional funds to release the modules as iPad apps and create Spanish language versions of each module. An additional module, Understanding Cancer, will be added if we reach our stretch goal. And if we're wildly successful (doubling our goal) we will begin working on the next set of free learning modules: Human Body Systems.

What is the Micro Marvels project?

High quality instructional animations depicting the foundations of biology.

Micro Marvels is a series of instructional biology videos. Each module, almost entirely animated in 3D, will be designed to present a window into the magic that exists deep within our cells. Complex processes and concepts will be explained through visually compelling, easy to follow animations. The animations will be state-of-the-art and relevant for years to come. Each module will be developed using the California State Board of Education teaching standards. (For a list of specific content taught by the modules, see below.) Technical accuracy will be reviewed by biology professors from The University of California and The University of Central Florida along with public high school science teachers from California and Florida.

The purpose of the videos is to captivate viewers with the marvels of microbiology. Each module will be approximately 10 minutes long. The animations will be visually detailed, technically accurate, and aesthetically dynamic. Narration and text will cover the fundamental learning points within each module. Music will be scored for each animation, utilizing dubstep themes aimed at the teen audience.

The four modules are:

1) A Tour of a Cell – In this video, we travel past the lipid wall of an animal cell and journey through the amazing, crowded inner workings of a typical cell, learning the function of each major cell structure.

2) Mysteries of DNA – The secrets of DNA unfold inside the nucleus of a cell. We learn the makeup of DNA, how DNA is replicated, and the role of DNA in cell division and the manufacture of proteins.

3) Viruses – Are viruses alive? How do they reproduce and take over cells? What does our body do to combat them? These questions are addressed as we look at several viruses: a bacteriophage, an influenza virus, and HIV.

4) The Immune System – Microscopic battles are being waged inside our bodies every day. This video looks at the complex human immune system, showing how invaders attack cells, how the body recognizes threats, how leukocytes respond, how antibodies are created, and how vaccines work.

Stretch Goal: Understanding Cancer – If we reach $175,000 in funding, we will add this stand-alone module. Most people have been touched by the shadow of cancer, either directly or through a friend or loved one. Yet many do not understand the true nature of cancer. This stretch video will describe what cancer is, different types of cancer, how tumors form, the spread of cancer, and different treatment options.

The videos will be posted on the Micro Marvels website for online viewing or downloading by schools. Accompanying each online video will be clickable images highlighting the main learning points from the module, along with classroom questions and talking points for teachers. Schools will also be able to order a DVD for a nominal cost via a form on the website.

Why you should care:

Science is amazing. Help us remind students of that fact!

The Micro Marvels microbiology videos will depict complicated concepts in a clear, engaging format. The visual nature of the modules will help schools draw students into the amazing world of science. And with looming budget cuts, US schools do need help! As recently as 20 years ago, the United States was ranked No.1 in high school education. Today, the US is 23rd in the global science education ranking. The National Academies, the country’s leading advisory group on science and technology, warned that unless the United States improves the quality of math and science education, at all levels, it will continue to lose economic ground to foreign competitors.

The Micro Marvels Team

Visualizing the foundations of life.

Production

Tim Doherty

Head writer and animation lead - Tim has been a 3D animator for over 20 years with a career emphasis on medical and scientific visualization. His work has appeared on NBC, The Disney Channel, PBS, The Travel Channel, and Discovery Health. Tim won an Emmy award for his work on the PBS series, “Universe, The Infinite Frontier” and a second Emmy for the PBS series, “Lifespan.” He provided all the animation for “Cycles of Life,” the Emmy award-winning PBS biology series. He created the opening for the NASA Imax movie “Quest for Life,” in which he depicted DNA replication inside the nucleus of a cell.

Joel Dublin*

Textures, effects, scene optimization – Joel began his career as a medical illustrator for textbooks, then transitioned to 3D medical illustration and animation in the late 90s. He is a superb science animator whose medical animations have been described as 'dreaming at a molecular level.'

Ken Hayakawa

Models and textures - Ken transitioned from a CAD architectural designer into a digital graphic artist, where he has specialized in 3D modeling, texturing and rendering for over a decade. His work ranges from detailed, realistic automobile models to rich organic designs. He is considered a top design artist, with models that are sold commercially to other 3D artists. His work earned him a CCG Choice Award.

Gerard Navarro

Modeling and animation - a graduate of De La Salle University with an AB in Multimedia Arts, Gerard is an award winning broadcast designer as well as a part time professor for De La Salle University, where he teaches After Effects and Maya to aspiring artists.

Jonathan Gomez

Modeling and animation - With an AB Multimedia Arts degree from Asia Pacific College, Jonathan is a 3D motion designer who's work has appeared on international broadcast markets.

Jock Petersen

Writer/post production - Jock has more than 20 years experience writing, directing and producing for television and advertising. His client list includes HBO, Valvoline, Estee Lauder, Yahoo, Home Depot and Taylor Made, among many others. Married into a family of educators and with children of his own, Jock has a strong desire to give back to education. "No investment pays greater dividends than giving to education."

Mark Edward Lewis

Music/sound - At the pinnacle of sample/electronic evolution, Mark is able to create the most original music-production work and meld it with his years of intense compositional study.

John Eubanks

Web development - John has vast experience in the development of enterprise web based applications using diverse technologies. His clients have included companies such as HP and Micron.

Academic Advisers*

Dr. Russell Doolittle, professor emeritus, Depts. of Molecular Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Cynthia Bayer, adjunct instructor, Biology Department, University of Central Florida

Natalie Drumm, science teacher, Martin County High School, Stuart, Florida

Telly Roberts Jr., science teacher, Los Angeles High School, Los Angeles, California

Cheri Daniels, science teacher, Costa Mesa High School, Costa Mesa, California

How you can help:

Your support will enable Micro Marvels to move from the planning stage into full production. In order for this project to be successful we are counting on you to share this project on as many social media platforms as you can. We urge the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, E-Mails, phone calls, or just tell people about us! We have 30 days to complete this campaign. Please post daily or weekly about our project so all your friends know about us! However you communicate, please share this project with all!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MicroMarvels
Website: http://www.micromarvels.com

What your funding will support and how it will be used:

Development timetable: 9 months.

What happens if we don’t reach our goal:

If we don't reach our goal then we receive no funding. There will be no rewards, and you will not be charged. You are only charged if we meet or exceed our goal. We must reach or exceed our goal or the modules will not be made.

What happens if we go over our goal:

If we exceed our goal, we will use the additional funds to:

  • Design apps for each module
  • Produce Spanish language versions of each module
  • Stretch goal: Module 5 - Understanding Cancer
  • Super stretch goal: New module set: Human Body Systems

What’s in it for you:

We would LIKE to promise you that when Johnny or Susie wins a Nobel prize for discovering a cure for cancer 10 years from now, they will thank each and every one of you for having supported the videos that compelled them to pursue their career –but unfortunately you'll just have to be satisfied with the knowledge that you're contributing to the success and competitiveness of our students, while supporting our often neglected schools.

Below is what we CAN promise you. Admittedly, these incentives are modest. The true reward is to help invigorate student interest in science while providing cool new learning tools for our schools. We therefore want to ensure that funding is used primarily to produce a quality product. But in case we are being too altruistic:

  • Pledge $10 or more: "I'm Saving Science!" sticker featuring a QR code that opens to a "Saviors of Science" Micro Marvels webpage listing contributor names.
  • Pledge $25 or more: "I'm Saving Science!" sticker featuring a QR code that opens to a "Saviors of Science" Micro Marvels webpage listing contributor names, and a Micro Marvels poster.
  • Pledge $50 or more: All of the above plus a Silver thank you credit on the Micro Marvels website and a link to download the HD versions of the Micro Marvels videos as they are completed.
  • Pledge $100 or more: All of the above plus Gold thank you credit and behind the scenes access. Log in to see wireframe animations and test renders of modules in development.
  • Pledge $500 or more: All of the above plus Platinum thank you credit on the Micro Marvels website and a limited edition copy of the Micro Marvels DVD with special features, including interviews with the crew.
  • Pledge $1000 or more: All of the above plus Associate Producer credit on each module and a 3D print of a Micro Marvels cell structure from Module One.
  • Pledge of $5000 or more: All of the above plus Executive Producer credit PLUS Personalized Mega Incentive - contact us for details.

Content standards (as established for grades nine through twelve by the California Department of Education) that Micro Marvels will teach:

A Tour of a Cell:

  • Students will learn the role of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the secretion of proteins.
  • Students will learn the role of the mitochondria in making stored chemical-bond energy available to cells by completing the breakdown of glucose to carbon dioxide.
  • Students will learn most macromolecules (polysaccharides, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids) in cells and organisms are synthesized from a small collection of simple precursors.
  • Students will learn how chemiosmotic gradients in the mitochondria and chloroplast store energy for ATP production.
  • Students will learn how eukaryotic cells are given shape and internal organization by a cytoskeleton or cell wall or both.
  • Students will learn cells are enclosed within semipermeable membranes that regulate their interaction with their surroundings.

Mysteries of DNA:

  • Students will learn the general structures and functions of DNA, RNA, and protein.
  • Students will learn how to apply base-pairing rules to explain precise copying of DNA during semiconservative replication and transcription of information from DNA.
  • Students will learn the general pathway by which ribosomes synthesize proteins, using tRNAs to translate genetic information in mRNA.
  • Students will learn how to apply the genetic coding rules to predict the sequence of amino acids from a sequence of codons in RNA.

Viruses:

  • Students will learn how prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells (including those from plants and animals), and viruses differ in complexity and general structure.
  • Students will learn there are important differences between bacteria and viruses with respect to their requirements for growth and replication, the body’s primary defenses against bacterial and viral infections, and effective treatments of these infections.
  • Students will learn why an individual with a compromised immune system (for example, a person with AIDS) may be unable to fight off and survive infections by microorganisms that are usually benign. Students will learn the roles of phagocytes, B-lymphocytes, and T-lymphocytes in the immune system.

The Immune System:

  • Students will learn the role of the skin in providing nonspecific defenses against infection.
  • Students will learn the role of antibodies in the body’s response to infection.
  • Students will learn how vaccination protects an individual from infectious diseases.
  • Students will learn there are important differences between bacteria and viruses with respect to their requirements for growth and replication, the body’s primary defenses against bacterial and viral infections, and effective treatments of these infections.
  • Students will learn why an individual with a compromised immune system (for example, a person with AIDS) may be unable to fight off and survive infections by microorganisms that are usually benign.
  • Students will learn the roles of phagocytes, B-lymphocytes, and T-lymphocytes in the immune system.

(Note: There is some content overlap between modules.)

Understanding Cancer:
This is a stand-alone stretch goal video. It does not adhere to content standards, but rather is designed to help promote cancer awareness in students.

After Micro Marvels is produced, what comes next?

We plan a series of modules on The Human Body System.

Is Micro Marvels a charity?

No. While the project will create high quality, free teaching aids for our schools, the Micro Marvels website will generate revenue through the sale of advertisements and DVDs. Also, the videos are only free to schools. Opportunities to license the animations for other purposes will be explored, as long as licensing does not conflict with usage by schools.


*Disclaimer: Participation of all members is not guaranteed, and is subject to the individual’s availability after Micro Marvels is successfully funded. Replacement team members of comparable skill/knowledge will be substituted as necessary.  

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We are at the early stage of producing animations that depict very complex biological processes. Our plan is to compete production within 9 months. Some team member schedules cannot be locked until the project is funded, so we cannot yet guarantee an exact delivery date. All contributors will be intimately connected to the production through a mailing list, as well as updates on Kickstarter and the Micro Marvels Facebook page and website. You'll therefore be regularly informed of the production schedule via constant updates.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    "I'm Saving Science!" sticker featuring a QR code that opens to a "Saviors of Science" Micro Marvels webpage listing contributor names.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    8 backers

    "I'm Saving Science!" sticker featuring a QR code that opens to a "Saviors of Science" Micro Marvels webpage listing contributor names, and a Micro Marvels poster.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    8 backers

    All of the above plus a Silver thank you credit on the Micro Marvels website and a link to download each Micro Marvels video in full HD as they are completed. (Downloads will be made available periodically through completion of module 4 in February of 2014.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    All of the above plus Gold thank you credit and behind the scenes access. Log in to see wireframe animations and test renders of modules in development. (Ongoing reward from July 2013 through February 2014.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    All of the above plus Platinum thank you credit on the Micro Marvels website and a limited edition copy of the Micro Marvels DVD with special features, including interviews with the crew.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    All of the above plus Associate Producer credit on each module and a 3D print of a Micro Marvels cell structure from Module One.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $5,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    All of the above, plus Executive Producer Credit, plus personalized mega Incentive - contact us for details.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
Funding period

- (30 days)