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Royal Institution Christmas Lecture – Explosion Films

To accompany last year’s  Christmas Lectures, the Royal Insitution asked us to produce three films of amazing chemical reactions. Inspired by the old alchemical elements, the videos show dramatic examples of ‘Earth’, ‘Air’ and ‘Fire’ changing before your eyes. The Earth video shows the violent destruction of calcium oxide blocks with water, Air shows the dangerous power of nitrogen triiodide, while Fire warns of the danger of putting water on an oil fire.

The three videos were featured on the Daily Mail and Guardian websites.


See the making of video for Fire – Oil on water

St Abbs Marine Biology DVDs

The Voluntary Marine Reserve at St Abbs and Eyemouth asked us to produce a series of films for every Keystage 1 and 2 children in Scotland. Each video focuses on a different aspect of life in the coastal community of St Abbs – from the fishermen and dive boats who make a living from the sea – to the beautiful wildlife that live there.


The Ranger’s story

The Diver’s story

The Fisherman’s story

The AMS Mentoring Scheme

Screen shot 2012-07-03 at 14.38.21One of the projects we’ve been working on recently is highlighting the endeavours of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Drawing on the wealth of knowledge and expertise provided by its Fellows, the Academy runs a mentoring scheme for trainee academic clinicians. It matches these aspiring young clinicians with a relevant Fellow, allowing them to meet on a one-to-one basis for advice and encouragement. The scheme has been running successfully for 10 years now so, to mark this milestone, a special booklet was produced, and the Refinery was commissioned to produce a film that promotes the scheme and the positive effect it has had on mentors and mentees alike.

The film was created to launch a new manual for the scheme, and features a number of prominent academic figures in the medical field, from Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s new chief scientific advisor, to Sir John Saville, Chief executive of the MRC. The film was screened at the Academy of Medical Sciences’ conference in Newcastle in March and is being distributed to universities and colleges and medical schools as part of a suite of films, currently in production, which will form a “mentoring toolkit.”

Watch it here.


Even more publishing!

MS front pageDid I say we had been busy? Well we have.

Hot on the heels of the Guardian article about female TV presenters, The Refinery was asked to write an article for a national magazine based on the experiences we had had making a documentary with Simon Donald (“Him Off The Viz” – yours for just £16.99 from Amazon).

Simon was fronting a documentary for us (which is still in production), courtesy of a broadcast development grant from the Wellcome Trust. The subject of the documentary was Multiple Sclerosis; Simon’s link to the condition being that his Mum, Kay had become debilitated with it when he was born. Her health declined over the years robbing her of her ability to walk, and subsequently, even to talk or communicate with Simon and his brothers; her “beautiful boys.”

She died in the 1990’s and the documentary was Simon’s way of looking back at events which he had felt unable to address emotionally at the time. Part of the process involved a visit to a neurologist to undergo an exam typical of the kind that a patient with MS would experience.

Imagine the bombshell when the neurologist turned to Simon and said “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have MS too”. The documentary follows Simon as he comes to terms with his diagnosis, and when they heard about it, MS Matters, the magazine for the MS Society, asked us to write up some of Simon’s story as an article which appeared in their July/August edition. He even got the front page, the handsome bugger.

As for the documentary – keep watching this space.

Publishing publishing……

guardian articleThe Refinery has been *extremely* busy of late – which is no bad thing. One of the various commissions we have had have been written word. Lindsay was commissioned to write a piece in the Guardian about the dearth of female science presenters. Post-commission it became clear that there was not, in fact, a dearth of female science presenters so much as a dearth of commissioning editors putting them on screen.

The whole article can be read here: