CGRP Migraine Treatment Pathway

Client: Novartis

Case Study

Explaining migraines and their treatment with filming & CGI

Quick facts:

  • End-to-end content provider including on-site filming, green screen & animation
  • Story-boarding and script creation from supplied 2D illustrations
  • Accurate protein structures created using open source medical software
  • Filming, CGI, delivery and approval within 6 weeks

About the client.

Novartis are a global healthcare company based in Switzerland. They develop, manufacture and market innovative medicines, devices and diagnostic tests. They required a content partner who could work alongside their medical content agency to produce engaging and scientifically accurate content.

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The challenge.

The client required DURTY to take full control over the video project. We met the team at their offices in London and filmed an interview with the Key Opinion Leader, supplying all of the required equipment and leading the KOL through the interview.

Most importantly though, was the accuracy required of visualising the interaction of proteins within the brain. Although visuals in microbial animations are representative, the behaviour needed to be medically precise. We were provided 2D illustrations by their in-house designers and we were there to translate this into 3D content.

Our solution.

Ensuring accuracy, we performed research and development into open source medical translations which could turn the chemical formulae into 3D representations of what we needed to show.

This was then converted/imported into our own software and meant the shape and interactions of the protein structures were exact. Large scale simulations allowed for the accepted visualisation method of the micellar layer to be shown.

Watch the animation

(skip to 4:40 for the good stuff!)

Building the animation around the Key Opinion Leader (KOL).

We engaged with the medical agency to brief the KOL both before the event, and on the day. We lead the interview with the KOL with scientific input from the writing team. The filming was done in a less than optimal office meeting room, but we overcame the issues with air conditioning noise and lighting as best we could! We provided, set up and operated all equipment on the day (cameras, lighting, green-screen for use in post production).


An accurate animation was absolutely paramount.

One of the reasons DURTY were chosen for the animation was our accuracy and attention to detail. When it comes to medical explainer videos, accuracy is incredibly important. For Novartis, they wanted to show the mechanisms of migraines within the brain and how proteins could act as a possible treatment. Once we were provided with the text based protein structures, we converted these through two open source libraries and some research and development to create accurate 3D representations of the structures. We then rigged these for animation within our software.


Combining CGI and real world footage with the power of green screens.

We used a typical VFX method (think big budget blockbuster movies!) of setting the green-screen up during filming. This meant we were able to layer the CGI we created behind the filming of the KOL, and design transition shots between the two. This creates a smooth dynamic between shots which helps to keep the viewers engaged throughout, which can be difficult with the subject matter and length of the video!