MBARI’s video department, which includes the Video and Digital Laboratories (internal only), supports MBARI staff and colleagues in the research community by fulfilling video annotation, production, equipment usage, samples and other related data requirements. Internal and external ROV-video users will need to familiarize themselves with standard shipboard procedures prior to going to sea.

The primary charge of the video staff is the scientific analysis of underwater deep-sea video observations. Logging approximately 300 deep-sea dives per year, MBARI’s remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), Ventana and Doc Ricketts, record valuable high-definition (HD) video observations of the water column and seafloor communities. Regular video recordings began in 1989 and to date (2016), over 24,000 hours of video been archived. The Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS), which was developed by MBARI software engineers, includes knowledge management, video annotation and data query components. Animals identifications, behaviors, and interactions as well as geological features on the seafloor and experimental methodology are precisely logged using this program. Data of interest can then be retrieved using the VARS Query component; currently over 5 million individual observations have been logged. In addition to actual video observations, users can retrieve tape and time code, navigation, temperature and depth, physical and chemical variables, and digital still and moving images, when available.