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Data Deliverables and Media

Alvin users will receive about six DVCam video tapes per dive. Scientists may use the science duplicating system in the Atlantis Main Lab to make additional copies of these tapes to a variety of media. A description of this system and instructions for its use can be found in a document on WHOI's web site (see link below). The science program must provide all media and manpower associated with the use of this duplicating station.

Using the science duplicating station digital tapes (DVCam or MiniDV from the sphere camcorder) can be cloned or copied to DVCam/MiniDV tapes and also copied to VHS, SVHS or DVD-R media. A deck is also available for limited Hi-8 use. There are Macintosh computers available for video editing. During editing a pre-defined data set can be burned onto the copies as an overlay if desired.

A filled DVCam tape will exceed by a few minutes the capacity of DVD or VHS media. To avoid complications from these capacity mismatches, Alvin pilots routinely replace DVCam tapes in the submarine's recorders at slightly less than two hour intervals.  Investigators are encouraged to bring extra media to ensure complete duplication capability. High quality DVD-R is the preferred media as inexpensive ones don't always work. Note:  science station DVD video recorders will not accept DVD+R media. Well-regarded brands of DVD media include Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim.

If you want to make copies of the tapes for other PI's and/or your science party, bring plenty of your preferred media. Occeasionally the science party will make a great cruise highlights DVD but not bring enough media for everyone to get a copy. Atlantiscarries (June 2008) a general use DVD duplicator that can perform bulk disc copying.This unit offers more media flexibility than the science station DVD recorders, accepting DVD+R and DVD+RW media in addition to DVD-R.

Atlantis SSSG technicians are now (late 2010) copying Alvin and shipboard data files to a single external hard drive for the chief scientist. Sharing of the content of this drive can be done using a variety of technologies such as DVD, flash memory drive, or another external hard drive, all of which must provided by the science party. Any copying of the chief scientist's hard drive is work done by the science party.

On an average Alvin cruise the Chief Scientist will be given 30-60 GB of cruise data. For a 15-dive cruise these include approximately:

  • 6 GB of Alvin data
  • 4 GB of Alvin DLVnav data
  • 20 GB of external still camera images
  • 8 GB of science data

If the Reson multibeam sonar will be used storage requirements change dramatically. Raw ping data is produced at about 350 GB per hour.

The correct blank DVCam media is:

  • Sony PDV-124N (two hour)
  • Sony PDV-184N (three hour)

Please remember that if you are backing up to mini-DV tapes the only type allowed in the duplicating system are Sony and Fuji. Panasonic tapes cannot be used because they are formulated differently and will damage our tape heads.

Please pass this information to your cruise participants.

Useful URLs:

Science Duplication Station Manual