Oxford Scientific Films: From Field Craft to Film Craft

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


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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