Advertisement

Oxford Scientific Films: From Field Craft to Film Craft

  • Jean-Baptiste GouyonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture book series (PSSPC)

Abstract

Tinbergen’s and Thompson’s film work paved the way for the development of a new film unit specialising in biological filming: Oxford Scientific Films (OSF). A key player in the creation of OSF was Peter Parks, an Oxford zoology graduate who first started working for the BBC as a caption artist. He developed an ingenious device, an optical bench, which enabled him to film minuscule life forms using the technique of dark field illumination. Over the course of a decade, Oxford film-makers became central to wildlife television, turning camerawork into a key aspect of the narrative in wildlife films. OSF established a new standard for wildlife television, as described in the 1972 documentary The Making of a Natural History Film by Mick Rhodes.

References

  1. Bale, P. (1982). Wildlife through the camera. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.Google Scholar
  2. Burkhardt, R. W. (2005). Patterns of behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the founding of ethology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Burns, T. (1977). The BBC: Public institution and private world. London: The Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Canales, J. (2011). Desired machines: Cinema and the world in its own image. Science in Context, 24(3), 329–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crowson, P. S. (1981). Animals in focus: The business life of a natural history film unit. Horsham: Caliban Books.Google Scholar
  6. Curtis, S. (2015). The shape of spectatorship: Art, science, and early cinema in Germany. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dagognet, F. (1992). Etienne-Jules Marey. A passion for the trace. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  8. Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  9. Parsons, C. (1982). True to nature. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens Ltd.Google Scholar
  10. Shaffer, L. (1991). The Tinbergen legacy in photography and film. In M. S. Dawkins, T. Halliday, & R. Dawkins (Eds.), The Tinbergen legacy (pp. 129–138). London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Thompson, G., et al. (1981). Focus on nature. London: Faber & aber.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology StudiesUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations