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On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: PeterB
Date: October 16, 2020 06:47PM
I thought some of you might find this interesting--

As some of you know, I teach genetics, and am now effectively teaching 100% online from home...

So the problem becomes, how to show students lab techniques (I'm also teaching the lab course, again 100% online). What I ended up doing was borrowing a microscope from work, and using an old Nikon Coolpix with a microscope eyepiece attached to the camera lens, replacing one of the eyepieces of the microscope. Video from the Coolpix going into my Mac Pro by way of EyeTV. The students claimed that, on their end, the video quality was not good -- I'm still not sure why, because it looked reasonably decent on my screen as I was sharing it over Zoom -- but when I took actual photos with the Coolpix, the photos came out surprisingly well... not as well as in the link below, but I'm guessing that's mostly because the Coolpix is hardly a high resolution camera by today's standards. (I also thought about using a cheap USB microscope for this, which would have been a more direct solution, and have asked about that here before... but the magnification would simply not be high enough I think. I also would have liked to have been able to use my SX50 as the camera, since it's a far better camera than the Coolpix, but don't have a microscope adapter for it, nor a video out cable, and was trying to do this with whatever I had easily on hand without having to buy too much more.)

So what did I use this setup for? To show them phases of garlic mitosis. This is actually a surprisingly easy experiment to do at home, most of the materials you would need for it are available either from a grocery, the pharmacy, or a couple of oddball items from Bezosland that might cost you $50 total (Bezosland has cheap student microscopes that would probably work for about $40). If anyone's curious, the more involved version of the protocol is here, but it's actually much easier than what they describe: [www.funsci.com]




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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 16, 2020 07:00PM
Zoom compresses the picture. Try checking the box for HD in the camera settings in Zoom and see if that helps.



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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: PeterB
Date: October 16, 2020 07:04PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Zoom compresses the picture. Try checking the box for HD in the camera settings in Zoom and see if that helps.

Yep I thought about that too... mostly the students were complaining that the image was blurry, but it wasn't too bad on my end. (Some blurriness was also probably because the focal plane of the camera/eyepiece was unfortunately not the same focal plane of the other eyepiece, so it made things a bit more difficult in terms of getting stuff properly into focus.)




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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 16, 2020 08:10PM
Have you tried to log on to your own stream with another computer/device to verify the issues?



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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: PeterB
Date: October 16, 2020 08:18PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Have you tried to log on to your own stream with another computer/device to verify the issues?

Nope, but that's a good thought. It only seemed to be a problem with THIS particular setup, which makes me think it might have been something with Zoom and EyeTV, or just students complaining because the image isn't going to be as clear or as obvious as what you would see with a professionally-prepared slide of the garlic root tip (that is typically what they use in high school or Freshman college classes).




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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: clay
Date: October 16, 2020 09:13PM
zoom video (even with the HD feature on) ends up recording 640x360 video quality. It may broadcast live video in 720p resolution, but can go full HD or even larger with screen shared content. Been fighting with it all summer/fall trying to somehow coax larger files out of it. There are some workarounds, but none that are real simple.
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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: PeterB
Date: October 16, 2020 09:27PM
clay, I don't think the recording was the problem, as I was doing this live with them.

If anyone's curious to see an example of one of the shots I took, here's one: [imgur.com]

(not bad, considering it was essentially a homemade / kludged setup...)




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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 16, 2020 10:18PM
If you have a phone with 1080p video, maybe try a few different of the cheap macro lens packages... I don't have any experience mounting a phone to work on a microscope so I can't recommend anything specific. I know that the Mac repair guy in NYC ( Louis Rossmann ) used to continually complain about issues around getting a good quality microscope image on a live stream.

On a side note, I am really surprised that none of the big guys has stepped up with better cross platform meeting hosting/recording/distribution (M$, Cisco, Periscope, Twitch, etc.).



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Re: On a related note to abevilac's post about a doc cam below... genetics/mitosis at home
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: October 16, 2020 11:40PM
Quote
clay
zoom video (even with the HD feature on) ends up recording 640x360 video quality. It may broadcast live video in 720p resolution, but can go full HD or even larger with screen shared content. Been fighting with it all summer/fall trying to somehow coax larger files out of it. There are some workarounds, but none that are real simple.


I agree that the delivery via the streaming app is probably what is degrading the image quality. The most practical work around I can think of is to either email the files to the students of house in some kind of file or photo share service. Then match up your lesson to the file name and have the students open the image as you talk about it.



Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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