This rather grainy still frame may not look like much of a technical leap forward, but it is just one frame of over 90,000 recorded on 18th June on the Drumnadrochit based vessel "Deepscan" as we lowered the amazingly tough System Q camera to a depth of over 300 feet in Loch Ness. What had been planned as a test for the modified halogen lights was changed into a progressively harsh test for lights and camera combined.
Bedrock below Urquhart Castle Tower
Previously we had considered 50 metres (165 feet) an extreme test of the equipment, but on this dive we decided to test test the equipment to its limits. The pair of 12 volt, 20 watt halogen lamps on 100 metres of cable illuminated the scene, and the sonar display showed the bottom falling rapidly away beneath us as we slowly tracked out from the ruined Castle tower.
The analogue video signal was fed directly into a Sony digital camcorder, and an excellent record was obtained of the entire dive. We lost visual contact with the bottom at about 95 metres after we had paid out all the cable.
The custom encapsulated camera on 1000 feet (300 metres) of cable is now ready for depth testing. The lamp unit was successfully tested to 230 metres earlier on 18th June 2000 from the new "Nessie Hunter". Within a week, I expect that no part of Loch Ness will be beyond the reach of our television cameras. From then on, we can explore anywhere we choose! We have our own submersible which can silently explore anywhere in Loch Ness and record the images in high quality digital format. More on this here.
More stills from the deep dive
In all of these pictures, which are only stills from the video recording, the camera is looking quite steeply down the slope ahead of it. I hope to be able to show some video clips on the site soon, but anyone wanting to have their own copy of the videotape can buy one from me. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement which will help to pay for the exploration.