Not long ago boat-deployed underwater video systems were expensive pieces of equipment used primarily by the military, oil and gas industry, and oceanographic institutions. Today these underwater cameras are being employed by a wide range of users that includes commercial diving companies, law enforcement agencies, public safety dive teams, professional fishermen, and even recreational scuba divers. They are affordable, easy to operate, and available in a variety of configurations such as helmet-mount, diver-held, drop, and towed. One problem encountered in using these systems around a marine environment is viewing the picture from the underwater camera. Standard TV sets and video monitors have a metal or plastic shell lined with openings for air circulation to cool the electronics; not a good setup for use in an open boat on the ocean. It's also hard to see the picture on the screen on a sunny day. To overcome these difficulties, JW Fishers designed the VRM-1 video recorder and monitor.
The VRM-1 is a rugged console in a waterproof case with built-in 10.4 inch flat screen monitor and digital video recorder (DVR). The monitor's ultra bright display is easy to see, even in sun light. The DVR records up to 12 hours of high resolution video on a 16GB SD card. The console's control panel has all the switches necessary to operate the lights, camera and the complete system, along with input jacks for a microphone and external monitor. Attach the microphone, which is included, and record audio with the video. Connect a cable to the console's video output jack, and the picture can be viewed on an external monitor. A GPS interface option allows a GPS receiver to be connected to the VRM-1 to capture position coordinates. Time and date can also be displayed on the screen and recorded with other inputs. Remove the SD card from the DVR, insert it into the USB port of a computer, and play the video on the PC, or burn it onto a DVD.
The VRM-1 is designed for use with Fishers MC-1 mini camera, DHC-1 diver-held camera, DV-1 drop video, and TOV-1 towed video, but can also be used with other systems. The MC-1 mini camera is compact and lightweight, excellent for helmet mount or strapping to a pole handle and lowering underwater for inspection of seawalls and other structures. The DHC-1 is carried by a diver and the perfect tool for any of the numerous underwater inspection operations performed by today's commercial diver. Law enforcement has found this camera useful to check ship hulls for bombs or contraband. It is also ideal for videotaping an underwater crime scene or evidence. The DV-1 drop video is popular with fisheries departments and marine biologists for studying benthic habitats as well as the size and health of fish and shellfish populations. The DV-1 and TOV-1 are both in widespread use by police departments and public safety dive teams the world over. They dramatically reduce the need to dive in difficult or dangerous conditions when searching for a sunken boat, submerged vehicle, or a drowning victim.
JW Fishers Mfg. underwater video systems -(clockwise from top left): MC-1 mini camera in helmet mount, DHC-1 diver-held camera, TOV-1 towed video system, DV-1 drop video.