Welcome! I’m Ed McNichol and I’m a communications professional with extensive experience supporting shipboard research. I’m hopeful that this site can provide helpful information about quality video operations on research vessels.

ROV and Shipboard Video Systems
Modern ocean research and science commonly requires the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles, or ROVs. These vehicles are now outfitted with high definition camera(s). With the significant investment in ship time and ROV costs, the video footage itself has become an important deliverable, but researchers and funding organizations frequently receive low resolution files with unreliable metadata. The proper management of these video signals requires a skilled professional well versed in the complexities of scientific video and best practices for video production, data management, content verification and digital asset protection.

Case Study: The University of Washington spent several expeditions mapping and characterizing the seafloor in advance of deploying the Regional Scale Nodes component of the National Science Foundations Ocean Observatories Initiative. This cabled ocean observatory required carefully selecting cable paths along an active submarine volcano. The video from these ROV dives had to be meticulously recorded and protected as a mission-critical resource. The embedded metadata was instrumental in choosing and recording the optimal route for the future cable lays.

Telepresence
In addition, high-bitrate satellite technology now enables a rich interactive connection to a global audience. Broadcast Operations are now found on many research vessels as scientists reach out to colleagues, stakeholders, students, funders and the general public. Indeed, such outreach activities are now broadly required by the National Science Foundation. Scheduled, hosted events with shore-based aquaria and other centers are also standard fare for state-of-the-art deep-sea operations. All of these outreach efforts are dependent on qualified personnel with a broad skill set and the proper attitude for extended operations in tight quarters. With limited berthing spaces and even tighter budgets, many researchers have a need for a well rounded communications professional to generate and manage their public facing content.

Case Study: The team at Ocean Networks Canada has grown to the point where there are far more individuals involved in shipboard activities than can sail on the vessel. For the 2014 Expeditions, all of the Loggers and Scientists were on shore. They directed and logged all ROV operations through a high-bitrate satellite connection that included an intercom connection to shipboard operators. This enabled them to participate in real-time with ROV operations so as to select instrument and sample collection sites.

Experience Counts
I have 30+ years of global video expertise, with specific expertise in designing, building & operating complex shipboard video systems that support deep-sea research using ROVs. I’ve spent the past three decades gathering a wealth of experience, including eleven years as a Trainer for Sony Broadcast. My first work with oceanographic clients came in 2005 when I supported the University of Washington Visions’05 Expedition as Post-Production Supervisor. Since that time, I’ve worked on numerous vessels with multiple ROVs for a variety of clients.

I offer a wide range of services, each tailored to meet the specific needs of individual clients. The overall goal is to meet three primary goals of this community;

1. Perform scientific recording of video from ROVs

2. Create and manage live streaming video and webcasts

3. Serve as Video Producer and Mission Photographer

You can learn more about these service offerings as well as examine work samples on this site. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or if I might be able to assist you in any manner.

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