EthoVision XT includes useful features for your entire experiment, from the set-up of your trial list to the publication of your results. So let’s start at the beginning.
Templates and trial lists
When starting your experiment in EthoVision XT, you can build it from scratch or use one of the predefined templates. These will save you a lot of time setting up, for example in the arena definition. Read more about templates here. (There are more things that make EthoVision XT easy to use, read about it here.)
Then the first step in your experiment is defining a trial list of all the test subjects. It will help you keep track of your experiment and it is also useful later, because all the independent variables you define here (age, treatment group, gender, identification number, and more) you can use in your data selection and analysis. You can copy this data from an existing database, such as Microsoft Excel and enter it manually.
Here is where we get to the core of EthoVision XT, because video tracking is only as powerful as the accuracy with which the animal is detected. The detection method is very important. There are several reasons why EthoVision XT detection is so powerful. One is that these settings are now completely automated. Another is that it is based on four different detection methods. Read more here.
EthoVision XT can track from a prerecorded video file or via live feed from a camera mounted above your arena. Of course you want to define the area where the actual tracking should take place so that EthoVision XT is not picking up the hand of a researcher walking by, or the mouse in the adjacent cage. You also might want to indicate certain zones of interest, such as an inner and outer zone, where the shelter is, a feeding or drinking area, arms of a maze, a novel object, etc. This is what we call arena definition, and with the intuitive drawing tools, this is easy to do. EthoVision XT uses all this information for data selection and analysis later on. Read more about arena definition here.
For DanioVision users, the definition of the zones of a well plate is done automatically. This means that for 6, 12, 24, 48, and 96-well plates (square or round) you don’t have to draw each arena separately.
Now you are ready to track!