Copepods, Stentors, Milk Drops, Eric Newman

Belmont Pond MA; MIT laboratory, Cambridge MA
Black & White
Harold E. Edgerton
Film type:
16mm, Kodak positive print
Run time:
Eric Newman, Harold E. Edgerton
Harold E. Edgerton demonstrates the techniques of high-speed silhouette photography to examine living freshwater organisms under a microscope. He examines copepods (tiny crustaceans) and stentors (large unicellular organisms) that he has sampled from Belmont Pond, MA, and shows how their movements can be filmed at normal speed through a microscope and subsequently projected at a slower speed to reveal otherwise imperceptible details. Descriptive title cards indicate copepods filmed at 8 times and 60 times their normal speed. Related to a separate experiment, a very short color film clip at the end features slow-motion images of falling green-tinted droplets (research by Eric Newman).

Tagged: cilia, copepod, high speed photography, milk drop, silhouette photography, slow motion, trumpet animalcule

00:00:01 Introductory information: film title, synopsis, date, run time.
00:00:08 Film begins.
00:00:15 Hand-written title card with sketch: “FRESH WATER COPEPODS; Harold Edgerton, MIT June 1958.”
00:00:17 Harold E. Edgerton walks in a field with a dog, presumably located at Belmont Pond MA, from which he has collected a water sample for his experiments.
00:00:21 Edgerton sets up equipment in his laboratory to film copepods (tiny crustaceans). He shines a very bright light at the jar of fresh water with copepods that he has collected.
00:00:28 He stirs the jar contents.
00:00:30 Edgerton carefully drips pond water between two slides that are sealed together on 3 edges, to create a sample to film.
00:00:32 A close-up shot shows tiny copepods darting around in water sample contained between two slides.
00:00:43 [Title card] “NORMAL SPEED, 24 f.p.s. [feet per second]”
00:00:45 Backlit water sample shows copepods as silhouettes.
00:00:57 [Title card] “1/8 OF NORMAL, 64 f.p.s.”
00:01:00 Copepod in silhouette shown moving at slower speed.
00:01:06 [Title card] “1/60 OF NORMAL, 1500 f.p.s. ±“
00:01:09 Copepod in silhouette shown moving at an even slower speed (in slow motion).
00:01:58 [Title card] “ACTION DURING A ‘JUMP’ OCCURS IN ABOUT 1/100 SECOND.”
00:02:02 Copepod seen in silhouette moves around, filmed in slow motion.
00:03:49 A person focuses and adjusts the microscope.
00:04:05 A stentor (trumpet animalcule) is shown in silhouette, all stretched out until it is touched with a probe and it rapidly shrinks into itself.
00:04:13 Take 2, same as above.
00:04:20 Take 3, same as above.
00:04:28 Two stentor organisms are probed and punctured (!).
00:04:38 Take 2, same as above.
00:04:46 Detail of the ciliate (hairy) end of the stentor showing twirling cilia.
00:05:02 [new topic] Close-up of green liquid drops falling, filmed in slow motion. [Research by Eric Newman]
00:05:07 End of film.
00:05:12 © 2010 MIT credits.

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