Gallipoli: Exposed Wounds

We worked with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, alongside Sir Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop, to create two digital pieces for the exhibition Gallipoli: The Scale of our War. The exhibition combines the best of the movie-making, museum, and digital worlds to create an immersive experience that we think is truly world-class.

“It was a joy working with the amazing and highly creative talent on the Te Papa Gallipoli exhibition with the team at Click Suite – conceptualizing and then delivering a world class product that enthrals the viewer and tells a dramatic concept in a beautiful and elegant way. An incredibly challenging technical brief – delivered with extraordinary efficiency and zero fuss. ” Sir Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop

The Challenge

One of our tasks for the exhibition was to create a life-sized, three-dimensional x-ray of a soldier that shows the impact of the various weapons used at Gallipoli, in slow motion, on a human body. Our challenge was to balance the desire to be medically accurate against the need to avoid anything sadistic or comical; to not be repulsive, and to have something that creates some empathy with the soldier on display (even though he is always shown in x-ray form).

The Idea

We were well briefed on the graphic style and design of the exhibition; the wonderful details being incorporated and the historical accuracy of the imagery. An early idea we presented was to render the x-ray in the style of medical textbooks of the era. Although that idea was abandoned, this influence has helped to make the body less graphically confronting and more more at home in the context of the exhibition.

The Process

Having established a design direction, we worked with the Te Papa team and an orthopaedic surgeon to determine our four key scenarios. This included establishing the relative speed of the shockwave (ten times the speed of sound) and each of the objects seen. We determined the injuries to be sustained with each weapon, including soft tissue damage. A 3D skeleton was carefully rigged in Cinema 4D, complete with primary arteries and organs, and we began the process of animating the four scenarios. These were initially output as 3D animations which were then treated in post-production, where resulting medical notes were added to show specific real-life outcomes for each weapon.
“One of the most innovative pieces is an interactive that shows an X-ray image of the body, and what happens when it is struck by bullets, shrapnel or a bomb blast.” John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald

The Results

The final result is an interactive where the visitor selects a weapon (from the actual weapons on display) and that triggers the corresponding animation of the weapon arriving and hitting our life-sized x-ray soldier in visceral slow-motion. The sequence is completed with some medical notes, in the style of the era, showing the outcomes of this weapon on actual soldiers. It has been described as “beautiful”, “gruesome” and “inspirational” - which to us says we achieved the right balance.
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