Advanced Media & Visualization Lab

Imaging For Science and Education


John McCord, CSI scientific diver, documents the shipwreck Liberator.

The Coastal Studies Institute’s Advanced Media and Visualization Laboratory specializes in high quality scientific photography and videography for research and education audiences.   Data collection and post processing is done with the latest imaging technology, including High Definition and Ultra High Definition (4k-6k) capture, 3D and stereography processing.


  • Photography and videography topside and underwater to depths up to 330ft on open circuit and closed circuit rebreathers.
  • Custom imaging system design and development for ROV and AUV deployment to depths in excess of 200 feet.
  • Post production image processing and acquisition of HD, Ultra-HD and 3D footage for distribution on a wide variety of platforms.
  • Documentary style production, development and distribution.
  • Live broadcast for television and web distribution.
  •  Field-ready imaging systems for topside and underwater use.
  • Live broadcast and production equipment
  • A variety of lighting systems and associated grip for video production

For more information on the Advanced Media and Visualization lab, please contact , John McCord at or via phone at 252-475-5450.


The Advanced Media and Visualization lab works closely with CSI scientists, engineers and our partners to produce high quality digital research and education content.

Battle of the Atlantic Archaeological Expedition 2008-2016

CSI, along with partners from East Carolina University and NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, have been documenting shipwrecks from WWII and WWI in an annual expedition off the North Carolina coast.  The data obtained from this annual expedition provides a baseline for future scientific research and management, while giving the scientists and archaeologists a detailed look at at the current state of the sites.  The project has documented over 50 sites off the North Carolina coast, with plans to continue the project into the future.  The following video provides a look into these amazing cultural resources, and the organisms that call them home.


Faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute are using photogrammetry to document natural and cultural resources, both above and below the water.  Photogrammetry is a process where photographs are used to create measurable three dimensional models.  When used on cultural material, it is a process that provides away to capture the current state of an archaeological site.  Creation of these models over regular intervals are valuable as they can be used to track change over time. CSI archaeologists and researchers are using this process to document cultural remains such as shipwrecks both on the beach face, as well as underwater.

The following model of the U-85, a German Type VIIB u-boat was created from over 800 photos.  Click on the image below to load the model.

Spot the Rip: Rip Current Documentation for Education and Research

The Coastal Studies Institute, in partnership with NOAA’s National Ocean Service and KDH Ocean Rescue, is documenting rip currents as part of a new national re-branding of rip current messaging for the public.

Rip currents are among the leading causes of beach injuries along coastal United States waters.  While there have been significant outreach efforts (e.g., “Break the Grip of the Rip”) related to informing the public on methods for self-rescue and survival once in a rip, relatively little effort has been placed on educating the pubic to identify rips in advance of getting into the water.  This proactive, preventative approach could limit the number of instances of beach-goers entering the water in dangerous conditions and subsequently result in fewer injuries and rescues by lifeguards.

Identification of rip currents can be a difficult task for the untrained eye.  Subtle differences in water texture and color, wave formation and shape are just a few of the telltale signs that are difficult to identify from ground level. While an aerial view allows for easier rip current identification, it is not a perspective that most beach visitors will have the opportunity to see.   Training the public to identify rip currents with imagery that juxtaposes these different perspectives of the same rip current (ground level and aerial) would allow for easier identification of the rip current indicators from typical beach viewing angles.  This project uses a comprehensive documentation of rip current events with high definition video and photography from a variety of typical visitor views and aerial views are being used in educational collateral as part of a nationwide educational campaign to “Spot the Rip” and prevent instances in which beach visitors get themselves into potentially dangerous swimming conditions.

The Coastal Studies Institute worked closely with NOAA’s Ocean’s Today to produce a series of videos on Rip Current Science.

Archaeological Surveys within Wind Energy Areas

Archaeologists and scientific divers from the Coastal Studies Institute, NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, East Carolina University and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have been performing archaeological surveys within the federally designated wind energy areas off Virginia and Maryland.  The results of this survey will provide energy developers with information on the valuable cultural resources found within the wind energy areas, and strategies to avoid impacting these important maritime heritage assets.

Virginia Collaborative Archaeological Survey

Maryland Collaborative Archaeological Survey

Ecological Hard Bottom Surveys within North Carolina Wind Energy Areas

In addition to the archaeological surveys described in the project above, the Coastal Studies Institute has been working with Institute of Marine Sciences and NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to perform ecological surevys of hard bottom sites within the wind energy areas off North Carolina.