In the mid-1980s live-cell imaging was changed by the introduction of video techniques, allowing new ways to collect and store data. The increased resolution obtained by manipulating video signals, the ability to use time-lapse videocassette recorders to study events that happen over long time intervals, and the introduction of fluorescent probes and sensitive video cameras opened research avenues previously unavailable. The author gives a personal account of this evolution, focusing on cell migration studies at the Marine Biological Laboratory 25 years ago. genesis 49:484–487, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.