The use of cinephotomicrography in biology
Seltzer, Jack I
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It is the purpose of this thesis to assemble and evaluate the art of cinephotomicrography as related to biology. Early investigators used photographic methods but did not describe them in a manner that could be used by others. The first recorded use of cinephotomicrography was made by Marey in 1894 in studying the flight of birds. Later camera-microscope combinations were employed to study fertilization and division of cells, and in observing capillary circulation. The motion picture camera is uniquely suited to automatically record microscopic phenomena, and to the slowing or accelerating of natural processes for detailed study. The Committee on Standards for Motion Pictures of Biological Material (Biological Photographers Association) has outlined the following criteria for successful cinephotomicrography: 1. The 16mm film size is preferable because of low cost and generally available projection facilities. 2. Color film is preferable to black and white when the color of the object photographed is essential to identification. 3. Sound films are valuable for historical purposes, and for recording auditory phenomena as speech, animal sounds and diagnostic sounds. Their use in teaching is limited because of the necessity of adapting films to specific classroom situations by the use of teacher commentary. 4. Excellence of a film depends on the quality of photographic teachique, presentation, adequacy of titles, and editing. 5. Subject matter must be carefully chosen. Cinephotomicrographic techniques appear to be especially valuable for use in the following circumstances: 1. Recording of life of organisms in their natural environment or showing their adaptability to unusual conditions. 2. Analysis of living processes. 3. Audience viewing of small-scale processes. 4. For demonstration of experiments. At Boston University a simple and practical method of cinephotomicrography applicable to research on the microcirculation was developed by the author during the period 1936-40. The basic instrumentation (including apochromatic objectives, compensating oculars, and a light splitting prism) has since been improved and is now widely used in research and in the preparation of teaching films. The cinephotomicrographic method has in some instances been found to be one of the best means of recording scientific data. Films can also be used to eliminate the necessity of repeating experiments, to demonstrate to a class experiments too elaborate or expensive to perform in a school laboratory, and to illustrate biological processes for the understanding of the layman. Recently several new instruments and techniques have been applied to scientific motion picture use. The stroboscopic light developed by H.E. Edgerton has made possible the analysis of extremely rapid motions. Television systems have been adapted for the study of such phenomena as transcapillary exchange in living organs. The use of television opens the possibility of sharing scientific experiments and data on a wider basis. The polar planimeter is an instrument used for the determination of the area of irregular plane surfaces. Used in conjunction with the camera and microscope this device is a reasonably accurate tool. Infra red photography is valuable in the study of disease symptoms To data this technique has been mainly applied to plants but is being adapted by the medical profession for use in animal tissues. In recent years teaching films have become an important part of most science curricula. The well known film "Hemo the Magnificent" was based on work by Fulton and Lutz at Boston University. Video tape recording and closed circuit television systems offer tremendous possibilities in the area of team teaching. Technical advances in cinephotomicroscopy are now reaching a level matching that of other areas of our technology.
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