Motif - Video Recording System

Good science needs good quality data. Motif is a complete video recording system (camera and computer) for laboratory and field use. Designed specifically for the needs of quantitative biology research, Motif supports recording at exceptional image quality and at higher framerates and resolutions than competing products. Motif can compress video in real-time to save on storage costs.

If you are a scientist and want to improve the quality of your video data and reduce your storage costs, Motif is perfect for you.

Motif can be configured for single camera or multiple camera recording, and video recordings can be from seconds to weeks in duration. Multiple cameras can be connected to one PC, and multiple Motif systems can be connected together to record even larger spaces, or to record multiple views of the same experiment.

For examples of how Motif is used by scientists, check out these case studies: circadian analysis of Platynereis, courtship recordings of Manacus vitellinus, and multiple-camera array recordings of collective behaviour in fish.

Key Features

Motif has a number of features which make it perfect for your scientific recording needs:
  • Web-based user interface. Using your web browser, you can configure recording parameters and monitor experiment progress remotely using any Internet connected device (laptop, phone, or tablet)
  • Unlimited recording duration. Videos can be as long as your experiment, no file-size or other artificial limits
  • Experiment metadata and environmental measurements can be recorded in addition to the video
  • Other quantitative data (such as EEG or behavioural measurements) can be recorded synchronously with the video at sub-millisecond precision
  • Extremely high quality. Recordings can be saved in many formats, raw, with lossless compression, or with exceptional quality industry standard h264/h265 codec (at qualities exceeding blueray)
  • Designed to be integrated with your IT infrastructure to ensure movies are backed up and saved on group network storage
  • Synchronized capture of images from multiple cameras
  • Live feedback of camera and lighting configuration, including lighting uniformity and focus
  • No per-user licenses. A Motif system can be used by the whole lab without extra costs
  • Always up to date. New releases and bug-fix updates are automatically and instantly made available to users at no cost
  • Remote controllable and scriptable. All Motif systems can be securely and programatically remote controlled using a simple HTTP interface (a Python library is also provided). The interface allows control and scheduling recordings, adjusting video parameters and much more
Focus display (green) and camera adjustment.
Enter experiment metadata and begin recording.
Multiple camera support and lighting uniformity feedback.
Review recording and copy to storage.

Recommended Framerate and Resolution Options

Motif can be used with a number of different cameras with resolution and framerate combinations including, but not limited to, the following:

  • 2046x2046px, 90 fps (color and grayscale)
  • 1920x1200px, 155 fps (color and grayscale)
  • 2048x1088px, 165 fps (color and grayscale)
  • 4112x3008px, 31 fps (grayscale only)
  • 800x600px, 500 fps (grayscale only)
  • 5048x4112px, 50 fps
Note: decreasing the framerate yields an increase in the possible resolution, for example, reducing the resolution to VGA 640x480 allows recording at 390 fps, at 592x400px 1000fps is achievable.

Single or Multiple Camera Configurations

Motif systems are available in a number of configurations, from traditional single-camera systems, to multiple camera variations suitable for operation in the field or in the lab.

Multiple camera support is a unique aspect of the Motif system design - not only are multiple cameras per system supported, but multiple Motif systems can be connected together, effectively scaling the apparatus to a larger area. Imagine a behavioural arena too large to record with sufficient resolution using one camera, or imagine an experiment where one needs images taken from different perspectives. These situations are no problem with Motif as each cameras' image acquisition is synchronized - all pictures are taken at exactly the same time, overcoming the limitations of resolution and framerate.

Multiple camera field configuration

A battery powered silent system suitable for field operation allows synchronized recordings from multiple views - enabling 3D reconstruction of movement and behaviour.

Packing and transport case.
Setting up the system in the field.
Calibration for 3D tracking.

Single camera laboratory configuration

The silent computer and camera can be mounted near the behavioural assay and the experiment monitored and recorded remotely using the Motif web user interface.

Silent PC and example camera.
Sample image 4K 90fps fish assay.
Web UI showing sample petri dish recording.

Multiple camera laboratory configuration

Recording synchronized videos from multiple cameras allows studying kinematics and motion in great detail. Here we show the two orthogonal views of a subject.

Motif 4.0 adds live feedback of focus quality, ensuring that images are sharp and that the focus plane is correctly set.

Monitoring and starting synchronized recording from the two views.
Adjusting camera settings of side-viewing camera.
Focus feedback (green) of overhead camera ensures image is correctly focused.

Demonstration Videos

Explanation of system operation: web using interface, and single and multiple camera support.
Demonstration of Motif 4.0 new features including improved feedback for lighting and camera setup.