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Proceedings Paper

Integrative Role Of Cinematography In Biomechanics Research
Author(s): Ronald F. Zernicke; Robert J. Gregor
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Paper Abstract

Cinematography is an integral element in the interdisciplinary biomechanics research conducted in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. For either an isolated recording of a movement phenomenon or as a recording component which is synchronized with additional transducers and recording equipment, high speed motion picture film has been effectively incorporated into resr'arch projects ranging from two and three dimensional analyses of human movements, locomotor mechanics of cursorial mammals and primates, to the structural responses and dynamic geometries of skeletal muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The basic equipment used in these studies includes three, 16 mm high speed, pin-registered cameras which have the capacity for electronic phase-locking. Crystal oscillators provide the generator pulses to synchronize the timing lights of the cameras and the analog-to-digital recording equipment. A rear-projection system with a sonic digitizer permits quantification of film coordinates which are stored on computer disks. The capacity for synchronizing the high speed films with additional recording equipment provides an effective means of obtaining not only position-time data from film, but also electromyographic, force platform, tendon force transducer, and strain gauge recordings from tissues or moving organisms. During the past few years, biomechanics research which comprised human studies has used both planar and three-dimensional cinematographic techniques. The studies included planar analyses which range from the gait characteristics of lower extremity child amputees to the running kinematics and kinetics of highly skilled sprinters and long-distance runners. The dynamics of race cycling and kinetics of gymnastic maneuvers were studied with cinematography and either a multi-dimensional force platform or a bicycle pedal with strain gauges to determine the time histories of the applied forces. The three-dimensional technique implemented at UCLA is the Direct Linear Transformation (DLT) method. DLT was developed from a close-range stereo-photogrammetry method to a technique flexible and accurate for 16 mm film applications in biomechanics. The DLT method has been used to document the three-dimensional kinematics of the ball, hand, forearm, and upper arm segments of pitchers during high velocity baseball throwing. The animal research which has incorporated cinematography has focused on both normal locomotor kinematics and kinetics, as well as spinalized locomotion, to assess neural control mechanisms which regulate gait. In addition, a new technique has been developed which allows the recording of in vivo tendon forces in an animal during unrestrained locomotion; via cinematography, movements of the limbs can be correlated with both myoelectric activity and tendon forces to analyze dynamics of muscle contractions during walking, running, and jumping. An additional area in which cinematography has proven useful is in the measurement of the architectural and structural deformations and strains which occur in skeletal muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These experiments have been done both in situ and in vitro, and have included both normal functional ranges of the tissues and incidences of mechanical failure or ruptures. The use of photographic techniques in these experiments is advantageous because the tissue changes can be documented without attaching mechanical apparatus to the tissue which can introduce artifacts. Although high speed cinematography does not solve all the data collection and recording needs in an integrated approach to biomechanics, it nevertheless forms an important constituent in a comprehensive research program. The positive attributes of high speed film records outweigh the laborious and tedious data reduction techniques which are frequently necessary to achieve high quality data.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 February 1982
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0291, 2nd Intl Symp of Biomechanics Cinematography and High Speed Photography, (24 February 1982); doi: 10.1117/12.932319
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald F. Zernicke, University of California (United States)
Robert J. Gregor, University of California (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0291:
2nd Intl Symp of Biomechanics Cinematography and High Speed Photography
Juris Terauds, Editor(s)

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