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Inspection: IMCA puts together work group on digital video

Posted on 27.10.2005 - 05:38 EDT in INSPECTION NEWS (Subsea) by Rons_ROV_Links

IMCAThe advent of digital video brings with it a new era for the offshore oil and gas industry, notes the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), which has established a new work group to look at the issue in detail.

Digital methods of data acquisition have now permeated most offshore survey techniques, with satellite transmissions, acoustic positioning signals and most forms of sonar being generated and recorded in digital form.

The adoption of digital encoding and recording of video data has been gathering pace in recent years, and many annual inspection campaigns now include digital video deliverables. This step has been dictated either by client specification or by sub-contractors seeking more efficient processing and delivery techniques than can be realised with analogue video.

A workgroup established by the Offshore Survey and Remote Systems & ROV divisions of IMCA has developed Digital Video Offshore: A Review of Current and Future Technologies (IMCA S 008/IMCA R 012) for the benefit both of offshore contractors and their clients.

“The new publication has been written to provide an understanding of digital video technology, the potential benefits available over existing analogue technology, practical applications and issues relating to the development of standards within the survey industry,” explained the IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler. “The aim of our new publication is to encourage the widespread use of digital video and to provide information on how the data is captured, synchronised with traditional survey information and compiled into digital reports for delivery to the end client."

“The document is not intended to be a specification or an instruction to follow, but is published to de-mystify the subject and aimed at the three very broad categories of user defined in terms of complexity of digital video system they use – an off-the-shelf or ‘black box’ digital video system; some form of bespoke, possibly multi-channel, digital video systems with time stamp indexing; and, last of all, integration of multi-channel digital video with other forms of data – merging of video and complex data streams," Bulger explained. “Obviously, digital video systems, like all technology, will continue to develop, and it is our intention that this review will be updated on a regular basis to keep abreast of change.”

Within the review there is discussion of the many factors affecting the quality of recorded digital video data, including the quality of the hardware from the camera through to the recorder; the method of data transmission, and the environment in which the camera is used. In addition, the document addresses the alternative approaches or philosophies taken by different clients to the acquisition and use of digital video, including selection of media storage options and integration with GIS systems. “This is in order to provide a basis for further discussion on agreement of standards for the implementation of digital video within the offshore pipeline/structural inspection industry,” added Bugler.

IMCA members can download the review from the IMCA members-only web site; additional hard copies are available to members at £15.00; copies for non-members are priced at £30 and are available from IMCA at; by email at or from IMCA, 5 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1W 0NR, UK; Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 824 5521.

October 27, 2005

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