How It's Made TV Show - Orthodontic Retainers
YEP, THAT'S US YOU SAW ON HOW IT'S MADE!
Many of us at Dobson Ortho Laboratory are no strangers when it comes to the How It's Made TV show. In fact, we have been watching the show since it came out in 2001. It has been our passion over the years of working in the lab to show others how to do things. We love education and we sharing what we do with others. So, it was only natural that our first major production would involve both things.
February 14, 2019
Sunday, February 17, 2019
*The full segment is now available on our website for streaming.
On February 14, 2019 at 10:30pm EST we watched our premiere on How It's Made: Orthodontic Retainers on the Science Channel. If you happen to see the episode in the future, feel free to give us a shout out on social media using the hashtag #howitsmadelab. This episode has interest value to both your patients (if you are a clinician) and your friends (if you are a lab tech).
Orthodontics is in our DNA™
The "Beauty Shot"
It's all fun and games...for some.
Getting the final shots.
The "Small" Camera
The Finished Product
The Crew: Luc, Giles, Yan, and Marc
The Production Rig
Getting the Low Angle Shot
High Angle Shot
Filming the Time-Lapse
Loading the Van
Loading the Van2
Setting up the shot
Even professionals have to get innovative.
Getting the printer.
Getting every process.
We already retired this case pan.
1 - 18
THE CRAZY IDEA
On August 23, 2016, we initially contacted the How It's Made TV show to see if we could gain permission to use their signature song for a video that we put together on our own. These videos were not for broadcast, but merely putting a spin on a how-to video we created on manufacturing an orthodontic retainer. Well, as we anticipated, that request to use the song was denied. We created a brand too...we get it. But instead of chastising us for the notion, the Research Director was intrigued by our video idea and they wanted to know if the process had enough steps to create a feature. They were well aware of the advances in 3D printing technology and they had not done any filming in an orthodontic lab...so, via a phone conversation, we made a pitch on "Orthodontic Retainers". It is the basic appliance that every orthodontic laboratory makes...but to the general public, it always seems to be the most intriguing.
On August 25, 2016, the pitch of hosting a film crew in the lab was instantly green-lighted by Productions Maj, the film studio that does all of the video and research work for the How It's Made TV show.
THE STORY BOARD
Immediately from that date, we started planning. Over the next few months, we put together a storyboard encompassing all of the production steps that were part of making a retainer. We wanted to encompass the entire process, from start to finish. Digital technology has taken the orthodontic world by storm and that had to be featured in the story we wanted to show the world. Yes, traditional impressions are still widely accepted...but it's not very interested in showing those getting poured up in plaster. We had a brand new Objet 260VS from Stratasys and this was our first opportunity to show the world that we too were at the forefront of technology.
Over the next 3 months, and several touches back and forth, we came up with our production script and we went into the hopper to get a film crew on site. Because the film crew is based in Quebec, Canada, it would take some time to get them down to Georgia to when they could schedule an East Coast tour.
Over the next year we had to patiently wait as the crew had visits overseas and in Texas, but on September 26, 2017 we finally got a firm date scheduled for sometime in November/December 2018. It was go time.
We spent the next two and a half months looking at multiple dental models, considering our different retainer designs, and planning out 3D printing in order to give the film crew the best of the best for recording, which included a deep cleaning of the entire lab. In fact, some of our Social Media followers may remember this post on December 11, 2017. (see right). We really don't do this on a regular basis. :)
Finally, on December 12-13, 2017, we invited Productions Maj, the film studio that does all the video work for the How It's Made TV show, into our lab. Earlier in the week we had seen a rare snowfall in Georgia and were hoping this wouldn't delay the date.
THE SHOOT - LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Four members of Productions Maj drove down from Quebec with a van loaded with camera and lighting equipment beyond your wildest dreams. Despite their native language being French, they were all fluent in English and we soon found that we shared some of the same likes and dislikes with the crew and had a good time laughing about life.
Let us tell you about live filming. It doesn't matter how much you know your trade, how many times you rehearsed it in your head...it will never match up to what a camera lens needs to see. The photographer brought over his camera with a lens that rivaled a bazooka. Now, you have to get the camera set in an angle that clears your shoulder in a confined space between benches in a lab. Now when that is set, the Light Grip needs to incorporate the correct fill and key lighting in order for the camera to pick up the shot. Once that is set, now the Director tries to relay to the Talent what they want to see, at what speed, and at what awkward angle you need to hold your tools. We haven't even touched stage fright yet. This was going to be broadcast world wide.
But in all reality, it wasn't that bad. Our technicians did a fabulous job and we had a great time doing it. Everyone was given the opportunity to be in the filming, but some declined. Because this is a "neutral" feature, there was some subtle planning on our end as our product does not feature our brand, as is done in most of the features that you see on the show. So, we placed our logo in the shot by wearing the proper Dobson Ortho polos and provided our branded retainer cases in the final "beauty shot". If you are a lab owner, don't worry...this is not a Dobson Ortho Laboratory filled promotional tool, so you can feel free to share the video with those you know...it shows off our trade...especially to those who give you a funny look when you say you make retainers.
THE CAST - IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Digital Work - James Dobson
Model Washing - Michelle Dobson
Retainer Fabrication - Connie Dobson
Soldering & Finishing - Josh Dobson
Productions Maj Film Crew - Yan, Giles, Marc, & Luc
THE FINALE (AT LEAST FOR FILMING)
The day and a half of filming was culminated with the final "beauty shot" that is a mere trademark of the show. This is the scene where all your hard work is featured through a $50,000 macro lens. This is where we were able to be more hands on in helping set up the shot and giving feedback that helped the crew. We brought out all of the trade show demos, set up some articulators, and found the "off menu" acrylic work that we typically don't do on a normal basis to really show off what Dobson Ortho Laboratory can do. Then, it was all done. The film crew packed their gear, left a scuff mark on our nicely painted wall (we weren't mad, really), and they were headed back to Quebec to see their families after a long journey on the road...which included a run-in with some bad drivers in Florida. Many hours of hard work were put in by the film crew, and our crew. Let's face it...you think we could get work out during those 2 days? Nope. We had to work to get ahead...but it was worth it.
The filming, while the most disruptive to production, was the easiest part of the process. The film crew had short clips of all the action...but there was still the need to tell the story.
On February 14, 2018, the internal film team was ready to film the retainer that was made for the intro shots for the film. We sent them the retainer and then had to take care of all the legal stuff that is standard when releasing permissions for sharing commercial video.
On February 19, 2018, we received the first edit of the video that was shot and pieced together from the information we provided during our film shoot, which was reviewed and approved on February 21, 2018.
On April 25, 2018, we had to speak with the script writer for the segment. This was a tedious process as the script had to match the timing of the video...which is easier said than done. We could not use terminology that exists in the orthodontic world, but rather had to clearly explain what was going on to the general public. You never want to use the terms "mesial and distal" until you are not allowed.
By June 1, 2018, the initial draft of the script was written and submitted for approval. After a few revisions and checks for accuracy, the final script was approved on June 8, 2018. It was back into the hands of Productions Maj.
THE WAITING GAME
Now came the waiting game...scheduling the air date. The studio still had to schedule the narration, put together the final cut, and then sent it off to the Science Channel. The hardest part for us was keeping this under lock-and-key from any public knowledge. By October 30, 2018, the feature was delivered to the Science Channel, but there was no word on an air date. Up until that point, the previous season hadn't been aired, so we were in a holding pattern.
On January 29, 2019, we received word from Productions Maj that our feature, Orthodontic Retainers, will be airing on the Science Channel on February 14, 2019 at 10:30pm EST, and again on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 12:30pm.
On December 13, 2019, two years to the day that filming was completed, the episode was officially released to us so that we can put it up on our website.
I want to personally thank everyone for their hard work on this project, even those who didn't even know they were involved.
A special thanks goes out to:
- Productions Maj for taking the time to produce this feature;
- Science Channel for airing the How It's Made show;
- Yan, Giles, Marc, and Luc for driving down from Quebec to visit our lab;
- Robert, Nathalie, Normand, and Lynn for their remote help;
- everyone at Dobson Ortho Laboratory for their efforts both on and off screen;
- our lab friends whose experience has taught us much over the years;
- Cade and Steve...your "how it's made" videos helped us get off the ground;
- and last but not least, for our customers...without you, this would not be possible.
This film is dedicated to all who share our trade, who have gone through the blood, sweat, and tears of learning, teaching, and making orthodontic appliances. To most of us, lab life is not just a means of making a living, it's an ever present mindset...Orthodontics is in our DNA.
Written by: Josh Dobson, 12/20/2019
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