Written by: Matthew Perrin Resident Ghost Writer
For weeks now our blog has been abuzz about upcoming medical conventions, and our studio has been humming with the sound of myriad computer processors rendering the images and videos that our clients will use at these conventions. You may be wondering what’s all the fuss about? In a word: NASS. Technically, it’s an acronym comprised of four words but, like SIGGRAPH, this trade conference carries a level of recognition and respect that belies its curious abbreviation. 2012 marks the 27th annual meeting of the North American Spine Society. Each year, surgeons and device manufacturers alike flock to this meeting for a weekend of education, advertising, and networking.
More than just a trade conference, NASS has a special place in the history of Ghost Productions and in the memory of our CEO, Stephan Kuslich. In fact, NASS is the reason why Ghost Productions has evolved to specialize in medical animation. During the earliest days of the company, when it existed only as a sole proprietorship, Stephan and his colleague Scott Raleigh were searching for innovative ways to use the emerging medium of digital 3D animation. Inspired by his father, an orthopedic surgeon and inventor, Stephan’s knowledge of spine anatomy and devices led he and Scott to animate the Bak Interbody Fusion System for its manufacturer, Spine-Tech. Using two now-obsolete computers, Stephan and Scott worked feverishly—often devoting more than sixteen hours a day—over the course of a month to complete the animation.
When at last the deed was done, Stephan boarded an airplane and hand-delivered the video to representatives of Spine-Tech at the 1994 NASS conference, where it played to amazed attendees with backgrounds in medicine and marketing alike. Such a visually accurate and explanatory medium had never been seen before. The medium proved so powerful that it could demonstrate the dysfunction of a pathology, the method-of-action of a device created to treat that pathology, and the method of implantation used to install that device—all in a span of minutes. This was the “eureka moment” for Stephan, and it has shaped the direction of Ghost Productions ever since.