Endoscopic video capture aids conservation of rare cello

MAY 21, 2007--A Moritex PalmScope video-capture device, fitted with a 9.8-mm flexible endoscopic probe, has enabled authentication of an 18th century cello.

May 21st, 2007

MAY 21, 2007--A Moritex PalmScope video-capture device, fitted with a 9.8-mm flexible endoscopic probe, has enabled the UK Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum Conservation Department to authenticate and help plan the possible program of conservation for a rare early 18th century cello. During a recent project Chris Egerton, a musical-instrument conservator studying for a Master's degree on the joint Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum Conservation Program, rediscovered a rare early 18th century cello in the village church of Berkswell, UK. The instrument had been in the possession of the church since it was made in around 1720 by the London instrument maker, John Barrett, but had been lost from public knowledge.

During examination of the Berkswell cello the Moritex Palmscope fitted with a flexible endoscope enabled the authentication of the neck joint as an original feature of construction, which is extremely rare. Detailed microscopic examination allowed assessment of pest damage to the internal surfaces and structures, the discovery of a previously unknown surface treatment inside the cello, and close examination of the condition of old repairs. Internal inspection also enabled image capture of the original makers label: 'John Barrett at the Harp and Crown, Pickadilly, London 1720,' as well as a later repairers mark.

Chris Egerton commented, "Without the use of the endoscope we would have had to rely on unsatisfactory traditional viewing methods such as using an inspection mirror with its inherent limitations and without the facility of image recording."

PalmScope is a portable product that can capture both still images and video clips onto a removable CompactFlash card. Storage capacity is limited only by the size of the CompactFlash card used; a 2-Gbyte card will hold many thousands of images or approximately 80 minutes of video. Video clips are captured at full NTSC or PAL resolution, at 30 or 25 frames/s, respectively, and stored in Motion-JPEG (MJPEG) compressed format. The PalmScope includes a thumbnail gallery feature with cataloging functions to help in archiving and retrieving audio/visual data files.

For further information on this project or the LightScope/PalmScope system, contact Moritex: www.moritex.com.

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