Your connection to the Video Section of the NSS

June 1998  Vol. 4  No 2

From the Editor

This year has been somewhat busy and both for work and play. A number of fun things conspired to keep me from putting out the Cavideo on time. I actually finished two cave productions with plenty of time for the NSS Video Salon. Burns Cave #2 is a 15 minute documentary on a very wet trip through 4 inch near siphons, along with some pretty formations. The other is titled "We’re Cavers and We’re Rescuers", and is an MTV-style caving music video.

The other fun project was finishing my basement office/video production room. This project has been going on for three years, and my family and I felt that it was about time I finished it. Now I am ready to have fun making more cave videos.

An item of interest here is that this new office contains some of the NSS AV equipment (since I am the Co-Chair of the NSS AV library), so the office and equipment is an official NSS editing suite. This means that any NSS caver can use this equipment to produce a caving or caver related video. If a caver wishes to supply the raw video, fairly detailed instructions, and any other relevant material, I may be able to do the production in an official NSS capacity (as long as such a project isn’t too time consuming). For instance, I am helping the year 2000 NSS Convention cavers (Elkins, WV) produce a short teaser video on the convention, and then a longer video for 1999.

But I better be careful, or I’ll be so busy I’ll never be able to get another Cavideo Newsletter out again.

In any case, hope you enjoy this issue and have a good caving year.

Dave Socky
Editor - Cavideo Newsletter

Dues are due

1998 Dues for the NSS Video Section are due by the time the NSS Convention rolls around (8/4 to 8/9). You can either pay up at the convention, or send a check to the following address. Make the check payable to "NSS Video Section" and send to:

NSS Video Section
c/o Dave Socky
6572 Woodbrook Dr SW
Roanoke, VA 24018-5402

I realize that things have been pretty sparse this past year as far as the Video Section goes, but I am going to try harder to make this section worth the $5.00 per year that it costs. Even though this is the first Cavideo Newsletter for 1998, I will still try to get a total of four issues out. A few articles from our members out there might help a little. (Hint, hint!)

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"In-Cave" Videography Workshop

At the 1998 NSS Convention in Wet Cave, Sewanee, Tennessee

Wednesday, August 5, 1998 from 8:30am to noon

On Wednesday, August 5, 1998, the NSS Video Section will hold an "In-Cave" Videography Workshop. This workshop will take place during the 1998 NSS Convention in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Whether you want to learn the basics of taking videos in a cave, or you would like to just bring your camcorder and use everyone else’s lights, or you want to garner the finer points of video cave lighting, this will be the workshop for you.

This will be an informal, in-cave workshop, which will take place in the lower portion of Wet Cave, which has a total length of about 6300 feet. There is no vertical work required, and only ankle deep water in the stream passage. Most of the workshop will take place fairly close to the lower entrance in large walking passage, so we won’t have to carry tons of video gear and batteries miles through the cave. The cave is only three miles from the campus, so a long drive is not required. Details on where to meet will be announced later.

I will have at least four 12-volt battery sets, along with four hundred-watt lamps, plus another three to four 75-watt lamps. My batteries (receptacle) and lamps (plug) use regular 110-volt plugs and receptacles. I will also have one Hi8 Sony TR910 Camcorder and a tripod.

The workshop will be informal. I have never been in Wet Cave, so we will be playing it by ear. We will probably concentrate on lighting techniques and action shots, since I don’t think there are a lot of formations in this cave.

Anyone is welcome to attend. You do not need to belong to the Video Section, or even have any video gear. You do need to supply your own basic caving gear, however. I am not placing a limit on the number of participants, but the workshop will not be effective if there are more than 12 or so cavers per video setup.

Note that the video that is produced during this workshop will be used in the "Casablanca Non-Linear Video Editing Demo and Workshop" which is being presented on Thursday morning from 9 am to noon.









8:30 to 9 am

    "In-Cave" Video Section work-    

9 to Noon

  Video Section Annual meeting shop in Wet Cave Non-Linear video editing

unabridged showings of video entries

Noon to whenever


unabridged showings of video entries continued

6 to 10pm

Howdy Party

    NSS Photo & Video Salon  



Demonstration and Hands-on Workshop

"Non-Linear Digital Video Editing with the Casablanca"

Presented by Dave Socky

At the 1998 NSS Convenition, Sewanee, Tennessee on Thursday, August 6, 1998 from 9:00am to noon

This workshop will explore the various aspects of non-linear digital editing of NTSC video clips using a DraCo Company Casablanca digital video editor. The Casablanca is an "out of the box" digital video editor which does not require a general purpose PC in any way. The only requirements to perform full digital video editing are the Casablanca, a TV, and source video (any kind of camcorder or VCR).

We will use footage produced from the Wednesday morning "In-Cave" Video Workshop in Wet Cave to demonstrate and practice with the Casablanca. The goal will be to produce a short video on Wet Cave while demonstrating the features and capabilities of the Casablanca.

Below is a list of topics which I hope to cover during the demonstration.

  1. Casablanca specifications, options, and costs (see related material in this article).
  2. Capturing video into the clipboard.
  3. Trimming and splitting video clips.
  4. Placing, moving, and removing clips on the storyboard.
  5. Insert editing (replacing all or portions of one video clip with another while leaving the original audio alone) .
  6. Transitions (special effects) between clips.
  7. Titling.
  8. Audio mixing.
  9. Producing the output.
  10. Questions and discussion.

I would like this to be a very informal and easy going demonstration and workshop. Exactly what is covered and how it is covered and discussed will depend a lot on who shows up and what the interests are.

I apologize for reprinting information that was published in December of ‘97, but I felt the info would be helpful when planning or considering attending the NSS Convention workshop.

The Casablanca

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Technical Data

Processor: 68040-25 or 68060-50

Data media: Hard drive for Video/Audio: FAST-SCSI II, 1 - 9 GB. Software on floppy diskette. Additional floppies for effects expansions and software updates.

Graphics: Integrated graphics, displays on TV. Additional TFT info display on front panel.

RAM: 16 MB system RAM integrated.

Measurements: 17.5" x 4.5" x 14.75".

Weight: Approximately 15 lbs.

Video Compression Method: Motion JPEG.
Data rate: .5 MB/Second to 3.5 MB/Second.
Compression Ratio: 12 settings from 40:1 to 5:1
Inputs: Y/C, FBAS on both front and back, optional IEEE P 1394 (Firewire, MiniDV)
Outputs: Y/C, FBAS, RGB. Optional IEEE P1394 for MiniDV.
Resolution: CCIR 601, > 400.000 pixels.
Video norm: Switchable for PAL or NTSC: 50 or 60 fields/second.


Principle: 3 stereo-tracks, max. 48 kHz, 16 Bit
Inputs: Stereo-RCA jacks, on both front and back, optional IEEE P 1394 (Firewire, MiniDV)
Outputs: Stereo-RCA jacks, optional IEEE P 1394

Cost Information

The prices below are DraCo’s recommended retail prices for the different major options of the Casablanca.

Hard Drive 040 Unit   060 Unit
4GB $3,995 $5,695
6GB $4,695 $5,995
9GB $5,195 $6,495
18GB $6,895 $8,195

The 060 Unit is Render Accelerated. It will render transitions 2 to 3 times faster than the 040 unit.


1998 NSS Video Salon Entries

By Alex Sproul

It looks like a good year for the Video Salon is coming up! The Salon received a total of 10 entries this year – 7 amateur and 3 professional. They clearly show that the state-of-the-art is gaining ground fast, with several more producers trying their hand at nonlinear editing, and the TV producers being sure to include all the needed safety and conservation messages. This year’s Thursday evening Salon is a must-see, and don’t forget the unabridged showings on Friday morning. The synopses below are from the next edition of the NSS A/V Library Catalog; these programs will be available for checkout immediately following the convention.

CAVE DIVING – THE NEED FOR TRAINING – A short primer on the dangers of cavern diving and the consequences that await the unprepared. By Mike Garman and Brett Hemphill. ©Hydro-Geo, 1997. V111/5:07/S/S

WAYNE’S WORLD SINK CAVE SYSTEM – Follow the explorers as they discover a new karst window linking several known underwater Florida caves. ©Hydro-Geo, 1997. V755/12:44/S/S

THE JEWELS OF THE DARK – Philippe Axell and a video team set out to document Europe’s finest caves on high-definition video – particularly those caves and passages which are never accessible except on very special occasions. A unique opportunity to visit the best of the best. Exquisite photography! ©Axell Comm., 1993 V633/50:17/P/P

CATHEDRAL CAVE – A tour of this very nicely decorated Missouri cave by Greg Small and Jim Padgett. ©Small/Padgett, 1997. V756/16:40/S/S

Also on this tape –

CATHEDRAL CAVE RESTORATION – The efforts of Missouri cavers to remediate and conserve this spectacular cave are highlighted. By Greg Small and Jim Padgett. ©Small/Padgett, 1997. V756/15:40/S/S

BURNS CAVE #2 – This West Virginia cave is only accessible during periods of extreme drought, and even then it’s a wetsuit challenge. Once inside, however, it’s large, dry borehole. A chance to see some very pristine cave. ©Hodag Video, 1997. V757/14:22/S/S

HAN: MYSTERY OF THE LESSE -- "Les Grottes du Han" is the most famous and extensive cave system in Belgium, and has fascinated man for centuries. Of its 14 km of passages, only 2.5 km are open to commercial tourists. Now you can see the rest, including excellent period reenactments and talks with the original explorers. A true caver’s video and a delight to watch. ©RTBF-ACE-PHL-SGHR, 1992.

TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES... – A group of Indiana cavers shows how to find adventure and fun, Hoosier style, while respecting nature’s handiwork. By Billy Pea. V929/27:44/S/S

WE’RE CAVERS AND WE’RE RESCUERS – It’s a caving music video! This tongue-in-cheek production is set to an original ballad (Dan McConnells’ Best of Show Cave Ballad at 1997 NSS Convention) and spoofs the rescue community by showing how not to rescue a caver. Lots of fun! ©Hodag Video, 1997. V930/8:35/S/S

DEPTHS OF WONDER – Episode #103 of the PBS series Anyplace Wild follows hostess Annie Getchell as she joins Arkansas cavers for trips to Copperhead and Fitton caves. Well done, and with all the right messages. ©Env. Rec. Group, 1997. V931/26:28/P/P

There are four awards that will be presented to cavers and producers who have entered videos this year. The top award, "Best of Show", is presented to the "Best" video production out of the amateur and professional category. Next is the Merit Award, then Honorable Mention, and finally, being accepted into the Video Salon is a reward in itself.

1998 Video Section Annual Meeting

The NSS Video Section Annual meeting will take place Tuesday, August 4, 1998 at the NSS Convention in Sewanee Tennessee. The meeting will be its usual 9 am to Noon timeframe.

The short business meeting usually starts things off, with reading of last years’ minutes, unfinished and new business issues, and election of officers. The meeting then goes into informal mode with lots of techo-rap, techniques trading, equipment show-off, and viewing/critiquing members' videos.

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