Video ServicesAs designated medical communicators we have a duty to maintain the highest possible standards in achieving excellent documentation, whilst minimising intrusion to medical workspaces. At Medical Illustration UK Ltd we understand videography, it is at the heart of our remit and fundamental to our practice as illustrators. From the hope found in the smiles of patients moving through the hospital in public relations footage, to capturing the intricate beauty of the surgeon’s hand investigating human anatomy, we believe video to be a prerequisite skill of the medical illustrator today.

As the clinician Lily Koo Lin has suggested: ‘Surgical videography can serve as an important retrospective and introspective supplement learning experience for any surgeon’. Video has long been considered to be of advantageous use in the healthcare environment, as the clinician Michael Essex-Lopresti (p. 7) has commented: ‘The first medical films were made in 1897 and since then the medical profession has recognized the value of film for research and for teaching.’ We have found this to be especially true for the operating theatre, which was once a space frequented by the masses; perhaps best appreciated in the grand nineteenth-century auditorium.

Today such surgical auditoriums are no more, a relic of a pre-anaesthetic era. The modern theatre is limited in space, honoured to only those that are of necessity to a patient’s recovery. As medical photographers we are permitted privileged access to various clinical environments, which would otherwise be inaccessible.

MIUK Using Atomos for 4K 10bit videoFascinating research has been carried out by many medical illustrators in the practice of videoing in the operating theatre. As Øystein H. Horgmo and Håvard E. Danielsen have investigated optimum quality can be found in videoing surgical procedures via the use of a custom camera support, which allows for the camera to be positioned out of the surgeon’s reach but in the direct line of sight and at the correct anatomical orientation. Here at MIUK we also believe custom camera supports serve a vital purpose in the videoing of surgical procedures.

In comparison to the work of Horgmo and Danielsen, we too utilise an external monitor when filming, supplying a direct live feed of the event into the room. As the authors (p. 23) have commented: ‘In the operating theatre we often found that nurses and students preferred to look at the sharp close-ups on our monitor rather than at the actual operation.’

We have also noticed this interaction between student and monitor, especially in the videoing of oculoplastics surgery, whereby the small field-of-view required for viewing is often obstructed by the surgeon’s interaction. The Atomos monitor we utilise, directs a sharp and vivid picture of the surgical process into the room.

Teaching in surgical procedures

It is not too removed to consider the possibility of live streaming, as seen in the social media industry with Facebook Live, and the potential of an interactive multi-camera choice selection, whereby a learner is able to choose the best possible camera angle for the technique being presented. Videography and medical film has the ability to inform, develop and challenge, as C. Allen Shaffer and Marian L. Beck (p. 217) have suggested: ‘Lecturers often wish for dramatic productions to help influence the thinking of their students, or to provoke debate and critical reflection.’

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Essex-Lopresti, Michael, ‘The Medical Film 1897-1997: Part I. The First Half-Century’, Journal of Audiovisual Media in Medicine, 21.1, (1998), pp. 7-12 

Graves, Steven Nicholas MA and others, ‘Video Capture of Plastic Surgery Procedures Using the GoPro HERO 3+’, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open, 3.2, (2015), <> [accessed 01 November 2016]

Horgmo, Øystein H. and Håvard E. Danielsen, ‘A Camera Support for Operating Theatre Videography’, Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 35.1, (2012), pp. 20-24 

Lin, Lily Koo, Surgical Video Recording with a Modified GoPro Hero 4 Camera (2016) <> [accessed 01 November 2016]

Shaffer, C. Allen and Marian L. Beck, ‘Basic Videography and Editing’, in Biomedical Photography, ed. by John Paul Vetter (Boston; London: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1992)