Surgical Video Recording

How to record and edit surgical videos: 4K quality and under 1000 dollars

I will show you what equipment to buy, how to set things up and how to edit great surgical videos. Your initial investment will be under 1000 dollars with no more costs after that.

Surgical videos are great for:

  1. Teaching
  2. Root cause analysis (look back at what went wrong in case of complications)
  3. Self-improvement by analyzing your technique

The camera can be placed:

  1. On the surgeon’s head: not recommended (bad video quality and you can get an awful headache)
  2. Mounted on the overhead lights: recommended

Overhead light mount:

You need the following equipment:

  1. Yi 4K + Action Camera $299
  2. Clamp mount $17.99
  3. Peau Productions 8.25 mm lens (provides ~2.5x magnification to match loupes)  $140
  4. Peau Productions service options to remove the original lens and install the new one (you have to tell them how far you expect the camera to be from the target, forehead to the operative field)= $80
    1. Open the camera and remove stock original lens $40
    2. Install lens with professional focusing $40
  5. SanDisk 128 GB microSD card (provides about 4 hours of 4K video, 8+ hours 1080p video) $49
  6. Lexar card reader (faster download of video to computer) $21
  7. Mount adapter set (connects the camera to clamp mount ) $11

After you buy the camera, ship it to Peau Productions and have them change the focus to the same distance you had your surgical loupes adjusted to  (around 20-25 inches). I’ll take about a week for them to install the lens and return the camera.

I like to mount the camera right in between the surgeon and assistant, right in the middle, at eye level. You don’t want the camera to be higher than your head otherwise you will be videotaping surgical caps. Every now and then someone will hit the camera with his or her head but you get used to having the camera there.

Using the Yi action plus app on your phone, set up video quality to what it would allow you to record the time you need (the camera will tell you how many hours of video you will be able to squeeze).


Once the patient is positioned, elevate the table to where you need it to do surgery, position the camera at eye level right in the middle and then using the picture on the app move the camera to have the area of interest right at the center. Don’t worry about zooming in at all. You want your picture to be super wide even including the sides of the bed. This way if the camera moves during the case the area of interest will still be close to the center. Because the video will be of such good quality you will be able to zoom in during the editing phase.


I am by no means an expert editor. For a while, I used Windows Movie Maker but this software main limitation is that it does not allow you to zoom in. I now use Filmora. One day I spent several hours researching Video editing software and I ended up choosing Filmora. Right now I cannot tell you exactly what set it apart from the rest. I paid 60 dollars for a lifetime subscription (otherwise your videos will have a watermark) and so far it has been totally worth it. It is very easy to use, but most importantly allows you to zoom in. For the purpose of surgical videos you probably will never use all the special effects, transitions etc. The main function you will use are:

  1. Cut clips
  2. Change Speed
  3. Zoom

If you want you can add a narration but before you do that, consider the IKEA approach: images are worth a thousand words. A well-edited video can be self-explanatory, or if something needs to be highlighted you can include a picture edited on pixlr/paint/photoshop pointing at the important element.



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