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    IMCA publishes review of digital video technologies

    Vessel & ROV News // June 18, 2009

    Continued rapid growth in the use of digital video technology in the offshore oil and gas industry, with technical advances in hardware, software and software/product integration has led to the revision of ‘Digital Video Offshore – A Review of Current and Future Technologies’ published by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).

    “We produced an initial review of digital video for the offshore market in 2005,” explained IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler. “Many developments have taken place since then, and digital video technology is now an established technology within the offshore inspection industry, so we reconvened our digital video workgroup to produce the revised document (IMCA R 012/S 008 Rev.1)."

    The workgroup is now developing a collection of case studies on use of digital video technology offshore, and is interested in hearing from anyone who would like to take part – they should contact my colleague Nick Hough at

    “In spite of the growth in the use of digital video, there’s an incomplete understanding of the new technology and its potential value given the perceived costs of implementation, training and the complexity of data management."

    "Our revised document is intended to educate and inform readers about digital video technology and its integration with other utilised software/hardware/IT and procedures. It also touches on issues such as the competency and training of personnel to handle digital video.”

    Digital video systems can be used for simple observation and recording – as used in diver safety; for the delivery of processed images and 3D models of either the seabed or the structures being inspected; or for providing geographical information systems (GIS) where all the viewable components/panes/ images update and interact with one another via ‘stamped’ time synchronisation.

    IMCA’s revised document has been written to provide an understanding of digital video technology, the benefits available over existing analogue video recording methods, the practical applications and some of the issues relating to the development of standards within the survey industry.

    It is also designed to enable the widespread use of digital video systems, and provides information on how data are captured, synchronised with traditional survey information and compiled into digital reports for delivery to the end client.

    There are sections dedicated to video data in offshore survey and inspection; current digital video technology; management and delivery of digital video data; rendering of data – integration with survey data (also covered in an appendix); and future developments, as well as appendices covering an explanation of digital video terminology; current recording media technology; and transmission systems and umbilicals.

    IMCA members can download the new publication via the members-only website with additional printed copies available at £15 for members and £30 for non-members (plus 20 per cent for delivery outside Europe). Further information is available at and from or from IMCA at 5 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1W 0NR, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44(0)20 7824 5521. 

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