The Laboratory of scientific cinematography was founded in 1925 by the initiative of I. P. Pavlov as one of the first at the Institute for cinematographic recording of experiments on study of the higher nervous activity and for short research movies. At these years, cooperating with the Laboratory were the film director M. I. Pudovkin and the camera man N. K. Golovnya who shot « Mechanics of Brain » , the first scientific movie on the problem of physiology. During the pre-war and post-war years the Laboratory was headed by M. D. Aron who developed method of time-laps microcinematography for morphophysiological studies. He shot several scientific movies on the problem of study of complex behavior forms of monkeys and other animals.
Â 1969, on the basis of cinema laboratory, the Laboratory of scientific cinematography was founded; its head became Technical Sciences Candidate Yu. I. Levkovich.
The task of the laboratory was development of new modern scientific-technical methods and equipment for studying physiological functions as well as performance of investigations together with Institute laboratories and other Russian and foreign research and teaching institutions. These investigations use current achievements of optics, sensitometry, spectrophotometry, computer technology, and television. In 1995 the laboratory was transformed into Sector of scientific cinematography.
The main directions of studies of the Sector are:
– study of the capillary blood flow rate, structure of the flow and changes of blood vessel lumen in the brain cortex, muscles, liver, stomach, urinary bladder, etc. in norm and under various actions;
– analysis of sensitometric image parameters, of effects of the rates and sizes of the moving aperture on dimensions and shapes of recognized figures;
– study of behavior of laboratory animals in experiments with computer analysis of behavior parameters under various experimental conditions (maze, water pool, etc.) at various illumination, with various intervals of recording for 24 hours;
– by the new method of precisional three-dimensional micromorphometry ant televisional computer interactive multiparameter image analysis, studies are carried out on microcirculation, the qualitative calorimetric chemical analysis of microstructures in histological and cytological preparations (at a magnification up to 6000õ), histochemical analysis of individual cell structures, densitometrical measurement of the area and the number of structures in histological and cytological preparations, and the three-dimensional measurement of histological preparations.
For the last 35 years, about 40 scientific, science-popular movies and TV-movies on the Institute scientific problems and history of physiology. Five scientific-popular movies shot together with film production studios « Centrnauchfilm » and « Lennauchfilm » have been shown for many years. In 1976 the movie «The Monkey Island» was awarded the First Diploma at the festival of the International Association of scientific movies in the USA and was shown in 80 world countries. Up to now it is the most paid-off movie of Russia.
The Sector performs cooperative investigations with St. Petersburg State University, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute, Research Institute of Television, Academy of Cinema Engineers, Military Medical Academy as well as the Academy of Sciences of Georgia.