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Orbis: A Life-Changing Opportunity for a Video Production Company

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As a video production company, we get to see really cool and amazing things when we shoot… and sometimes, those things change us forever!

Orbis’ goal is to teach and perform routine eye surgery anywhere in the world to cure or prevent blindness in millions.

Being Chosen as the Video Production Company for This Project Was an Honor

A while back, CRM Studios was selected to team up with eye care giant Alcon Labs and the Alcon Foundation on a project of the heart.  

This amazing project was for the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, and it’s not an exaggeration to say it changed many of us forever. We are a fairly large company, so we’ve gotten to see some really unusual and incredible things in our years of shooting. 

In this case, what impressed us deeply was the fact that so many talented and caring people gave their time, skill, and energy to a program that literally changes the lives of millions of people all over the globe… by giving them the gift of sight.  

The Orbis Flying Eye Surgical Hospital Started 3 Decades Ago

The Orbis hospital is an amazing story. Over 30 years ago, Alcon Laboratories through The Alcon Foundation, joined forces with Fed Ex, Omega Watches, United Airlines and other corporate sponsors to help design and build a flying eye surgery hospital with the intent of going places where safe, reliable eye care was impossible to find. 

The program took ownership of a donated Fed Ex jet, gutted it, and retrofit it completely by creating labs and operating areas that are built into movable cargo units that fit right onto the MD-10 jet, thereby creating the only mobile eye hospital that’s certified to perform operations anywhere in the world— even in the air! It’s the unicorn of eye care facilities.

What really impressed all the geeks at CRM Studios  was how well this amazing jetliner was put together: a phenomenal piece of technology seamlessly combining elements of design, construction, and mobility—even in the very first iteration of the Orbis plane 30 years ago. It has since been replaced with this latest advanced unit, and each version improves on the design of the previous one. Astounding tech.

Our Part in the Orbis Hospital Project

As the company chosen to spread the word about this fantastic project, we created a really fun 3D animated pictograph of the plane so viewers could better understand how the entire plane’s systems were all integrated. Coincidently, we had some previous experience working on a historical video for American Airlines, so were well versed in animating this exact model of aircraft, which made things a little easier for the team in our animation department. 

Want to learn more? Check out the video.

Teaching Eye Surgery Because You Can Only Help a Few

The Orbis team knows it can’t possibly do surgeries everywhere it goes on everyone who needs their help. There just isn’t enough time. Instead they focus on teaching other people the skills to perform these eye surgeries in each and every country they visit. That way these procedures continue to be available for many people long after this giant flying operating room takes off for the next country that desperately needs its help. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Orbis is that concept in action. 

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The Orbis Jet Changes Lives… Including Many of Ours at CRM Studios… Forever!

What could be more astounding than the technical and mechanical marvel of a flying eye surgery hospital? The results:

Twelve permanent programs across 92 countries continue to teach people all over the world ways to help their fellow countrymen. The plane is equipped with a crew of volunteers from all around the globe that make this program work. Some of the stories we heard about the challenges they face were fascinating: like getting stuck in an outdated airport where the plane could not turn around… or the politics of flying into some countries where those in authority don’t necessarily want a plane full of unknown “helpers” in their territory. Sometimes it seems like they are fighting so much more than blindness, including those whom one would think would welcome their help with open arms. Unfortunately many of these authorities are instead bearing arms.

Despite the Obstacles the Mission Continues

Here are some amazing stats that have come from years of training others to help their fellow countrymen:

  • 19 thousand sessions by doctors
  • 150 thousand sessions by nurses, bio engineers
  • 18 million screenings / eye exams

And the results:

  • 470 thousand eye surgeries performed
  • Including 140 thousand on children

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Here is a link to the Orbis site, and in case you didn’t get a chance to watch it earlier, a link to our video production company work here.

CRM Studios is fortunate to be the video production company of choice for many great companies and organizations. Please contact us if you have a project like this one or others that may need our expertise. 

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