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About The Production
"When you're a kid growing up, you think of Titanic as a myth, a story, something Hollywood might have created,” says director James Cameron. As the director of "Terminator,” "Terminator 2,” "Aliens,” "The Abyss,” "True Lies,” and "Titanic,” Cameron has captivated audiences with amazing tales of ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. "But when you're down there, and you can point at the wreck and say, ‘That's where the band played, that's where First Officer Murdoch would have been loading people into boats,' it gets very personal. You can imagine and understand the event much more clearly. 

"People have seen Titanic before,” Cameron acknowledges – after all, the director himself brought audiences to the wrecked vessel in his 1997 film. But this time, the experience is profoundly different, intensified by the visceral nature of the new 3-D technology and made more personal by the fact that the focus is on the wreck and its history and not the dramatic retelling of the event using traditional Hollywood storytelling techniques. "You're really there; you're experiencing it close-up. It's only then that you truly see what a magnificent artifact this is.” 

Deeply affected by his visit to Titanic in 1995 (footage of which Cameron incorporated into his Oscar®-winning 1997 film), Cameron wanted to bring that experience to audiences around the world. "When I first went to Titanic, I was so in awe of just being there that I couldn't really think beyond that. Having had a few years to think about it I knew that if I ever went back it would be with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose was to do the most beautiful imaging that we could of the ship, and to do the most thorough investigation of that ship that was possible.” 

Cameron knew that such a mission would require new technology to explore the ornate interior spaces that had been just beyond the limits of his cameras and remote operated vehicles six years earlier. "I got to go back and do all the things I really wanted to do in 1995,” says the director. Time was of the essence because Titanic is collapsing. Biological formations known as "rusticles” are eroding Titanic's steel, breaking it down layer by layer. Comparing photographs of the wreck now with the wreck when it was first discovered in 1985 have allowed scientists to estimate that the standing sections of the wreck will collapse sometime within the next twenty to thirty years. Some observers estimate that in less than a century the wreck will no longer be recognizable as a ship. Cameron decided that a definitive photographic expedition of the site was needed in order to capture Titanic as it is now, and in late summer of 2001, Cameron and his hand-picked crew of explorers, scientists, artists, and historians headed out to the North Atlantic. 

"Ghosts of the Abyss” was the maiden voyage for the Reality Camera System™, which Cameron invented in collaboration with Sony and director of photography Vince Pace. (Pace had collaborated with Cameron on "The Abyss” and "Titanic” and had received a technical Academy Award® for his efforts in designing a unique underwater lighting system for "The Abyss.”) Previously, large-format capable cameras weighed hundreds of pounds and could only shoot a few minutes of film at a time. By embracing the advances of digital technology and by repackaging Sony's formidable CineAlta™ imaging capabilities into a custom 3-D system, Cameron could shoot for hours at a time and then deliver the final product in practically any release format imaginable, including 3-D IMAX®. 

"Movies are artificial,” says Cameron. "We all see in 3-D. We're used to seeing the world that way. With movies in 2-D, flat on a screen, that's an artificial experience. That's not how we experience life. With 3-D, we're taking away the screen. You are looking through a window into a reality. That's why we call the camera the ‘Reality Cam


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