Last Mysteries of the Titanic Discovery Channel


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Mar 3, 1998
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Tomorrow, the first of the TV and print promos will begin to run for the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary, "Last Mysteries of the Titanic." The telecast will air on 24 July and document James Cameron's final visit to the Titanic wreck.

More information will be forthcoming in this thread as it is approved for release.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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You hold your dive planning sessions. You prioritise the targets that you want to hit and the strategy for accessing each. You argue the relative worth for each target. The producers are present during these discussions and later write their ad copy from what they've heard.

I hope that we can live up to expectations. Cameron sets the bar high and if anyone can deliver, he can.

I hope that we can reach the Turkish Bath, Swimming Bath, Scotland Road and Boiler Rooms...that way, my CG re-creations won't be for naught.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I hope that we can reach the Turkish Bath, Swimming Bath, Scotland Road and Boiler Rooms...that way, my CG re-creations won't be for naught.<<

Those are ambitious goals to reach. I hope the expedition can get to them. If nothing else, getting to the boiler rooms could go a long way towards answering some long standing questions.
 
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Michael,

Maybe. We expect that the impact with the sea floor may have obliterated or obscured the forensic evidence that we would need to completely reconstruct the damage wrought during the collision. Also, if Britannic's BR#6 is any indication, it will be very tricky to maneouvre in there (and we certainly don't expect the interior of Titanic's boiler room to be as clean and orderly as Britannic's). If the gods smile on us, though, then there is potential to explore some areas of interest to see if we can find some answers.

By the way, it's interesting to note that the boilers in Britannic's BR#6 are still in their foundations, even though the ship took an extreme nose dive and is now lying on her side. Still don't know why both WTDs in the firemans' vestibule are open, though.

We leave two weeks from today. If I have satellite Internet connectivity aboard the Keldysh and permission from the Discovery Channel to send dispatches from the ship, then I will attempt to post them here.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>By the way, it's interesting to note that the boilers in Britannic's BR#6 are still in their foundations, <<

It is indeed. That would tend to indicate to me that the mountings were a lot stronger then previously thought. I don't know how badly torn up the Titanic's boiler rooms are if at all. Hopefully, not too badly. By the same token, it's a moot point if the ROV's can't get in there in the first place. I recall that the attempt to get down by way of the spiral stairtower 4 years ago didn't go too well, and the other options are kind of slim.

>>Still don't know why both WTDs in the firemans' vestibule are open, though.<<

Perhaps they were never closed to begin with. I recall that the Britannic was changing the watch at about that time and the doors may have been open to speed things up. *If* this is true, they paid a damned high price for the convenience. I'll be looking forward to those dispatches if you can make them. If not, hope you have fun. I know you've been hoping to go out there for some time now.
 
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Michael,

What intrigues me about Britannic's WTDs is that they were supposed to close automatically when water raised the safety float. I don't believe that the trim angle at the time that BR#6 flooded exceeded the design limits of the safety system. So, why didn't the doors close? Maybe, as I think, they were jammed by the mine explosion.

There's no way to Titanic's boiler rooms via the spiral staircase or Fireman's Passage, thanks to the impact with the bottom. We have to look for other ways in. I've come up with four possible routes in the process of building my CG model of BR#5 and #6, and we're going to discuss the subject more Monday evening. All it takes is one open door and we're in. For all you techies out there, the main reason for our entering the boiler rooms is to ascertain how and why Bulkhead E failed. We'd like to see iceberg damage, too, but the impact with the bottom may have contaminated that evidence.

Parks
 
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I would also like to add that the expedition leaving later this month represents a serious penetration and documentation effort of Titanic's bow section. The primary targets were selected because of the challenge that they represent...Jim doesn't like covering the same ground that he's covered in the past. Like any of us, he wants to delve deeper and reach those places that have been previously thought unreachable.

Along with this expedition are two marine archaeologists, who are tasked to properly map the wreck and any artefacts discovered. As with the past two expeditions, Jim is not recovering artefacts...his sole concern is to document as much of the interior as possible and to look for forensic evidence that sheds new light on the ship's demise. This is his last visit to the wreck and he wants to satisfy his curiosity (and ours) before he leaves. He also wants the wreck to be treated as the archaeological site that it is and lay the foundation for a legacy database of images of and information about the wreck, for use by public researchers.

However, shortly after DSC sent out their press release, the scoffing began. There have been some who have expressed their opinion that Cameron sees the wreck as a cash cow or is intent on raping the wreck. They couldn't be more wrong. Anyone who doubts Cameron's sincerity has never sat with him during a planning meeting and witnessed first-hand his passion for the ship. Any of Cameron's critics in the Titanic community who think they would act differently in his shoes are only fooling themselves. He's another Titanic geek, just like any of us, with the means to actually go to the wreck. He certainly keeps me on my toes...he pulls info out of his head while I am scrambling through books, plans and photographs for answers. The man is completely taken by the wreck, the ship and her story.

Something often overlooked...Cameron has re-enacted the sinking on a facsimile of the ship. He knows how difficult it is to lower a collapsible from the Officers' Quarters roof, he has witnessed the Grand Staircase breaking loose from its foundation, he has timed Olliver's walk from the compass platform...the list goes on. His background in physics and his experience around the ship -- both mockup and the actual wreck -- makes him a valuable resource for a Titanic researcher like myself.

Having said that, Jim is responsible mostly for the expedition and exploration of the wreck. He is not the director of the show...a very capable director by the name of Gary Lang is in charge of the show. Gary comes off a well-received documentary about the Kursk, so he is no stranger to shipwrecks. The Discovery Channel people will of course have the last word on the actual telecast, since they're funding the expedition. Jim Cameron will shape the actual exploration of the wreck, Gary Lang and the Discovery Channel will shape the telecast.

Earthship Productions is the activity handling the expedition. Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox are handling the "Titanic" SE DVD. There is no connection between the two efforts...I know, because I have been dealing with both camps and have been frustrated at times by the lack of synergy between the two. That's showbiz.

Parks
 
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Thanks for the info Parks, all tantalising stuff! I'm suprised anyone doubts Cameron's intent or sincerity with respect to Titanic. As far as I can see, he's done more than enough to establish his credentials as a serious researcher in the field.

Cheers

Paul
 
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>>So, why didn't the doors close? Maybe, as I think, they were jammed by the mine explosion.<<

Parks, that's an opinion I've held for years. Having 300 pounds of high explosive going off against the hull tends to do more then scratch the paint so it's not that much of a leap.
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Maybe somebody can give the thing a closer look in the future. The advantage here at least being that the Britannic is accessable to trained scuba divers.

I just hope that this expedition does not ultimately turn out to be Jim Cameron's last one to the Titanic. His previous expedition was groundbreaking in my opinion and points the way to how it needs to be done.
 
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Now that I've had a good night's sleep, I can see that my post above has some poorly-worded descriptions (as usual).

>I've come up with four possible routes in the process of building my CG model of BR#5 and #6

I should have said that I'm studying at least four possible routes into the boiler rooms as I construct my virtual model (Jim has had ideas for years about how it might be possible to access the boiler rooms and Ken and I have been adding to the list of possibilities). I don't want to insinuate that I'm coming up with all the bright ideas.

>shortly after DSC sent out their press release

I may not have used the right acronym here...I meant to say "Discovery Channel."

>He is not the director of the show...a very capable director by the name of Gary Lang is in charge of the show

Jim and Gary are both listed as "co-directors." It has been my practical observation that Gary is drawing the show together, while Jim has been mostly concerned with the expedition itself. Gary and Jim talk constantly and I'm not privy to those discussions, so I can't really say how much Jim influences Gary's work. I do, however, think that the omission of Gary's name from the press release is unfortunate, because he's doing a lot of good work.

Parks
 

Mark Draper

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Very Interesting. I'm looking foward to this when it happens. Infact 2 events in July have me hooked, Titanic and the soon Return to Flight of the space shuttle with STS-114, Discovery launching sometime between July 13 and 31. I just hope Discovery launches before the Cameron LIVE expedition airs, so I don't miss either one.

Parks is Roy Mengot on the expedition? I haven't got any answer from him when I asked. If it's ok, I would also like to suggest some locations on the wreck to see. Send the ROV below the D deck framework to E deck and see what's down there.

Are there any spot picked out that weren't accessable during GotA?
 
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Lisa,

Thank you for your good wishes. We'll need good luck to keep rough weather away during our time at the wreck site.

Mark,

I gave Roy the point of contact at Earthship. I don't know if he applied or not. Roy's name doesn't show up on the crew roster.

The target list is based on locations that weren't explored during the 2001 expedition, with one major exception...the Marconi Silent Room will be revisited, this time in more detail. You can get an idea of the potential target list by reading the press release posted on the URL indicated above. Other targets of opportunity will depend on the situation on site. The main target list is being assembled by Jim, Gary, Ken, Don and myself, along with the two professional archaeologists brought on board for this expedition, Mike and Emily.

Chris, I'll repeat what I stated at the beginning of this thread... the live telecast will air on the Discovery Channel on 24 July.

Parks
 

Lisa Kraner

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Parks, your welcome (I added a reminder to my outlook so I don't forget it!).

Mark, I too am also anxiously awaiting the Shuttle STS-114 launch....I work for a company that makes a big part of it......so everyone at work is VERY anxious about it. (FYI - Also on July 20th it will be 36yrs since Apollo 11 landed on the the moon.)

So lots of EXCITING events to look forward to in July
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Lisa
 

James Smith

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I'm not sure if you're at liberty to disclose this, Parks, but I'll ask anyways:

1) So will this expedition result in another IMAX movie, or just the TV special and some "bonus material" for the re-release of 1997's Titanic?

2) Will Jake and Elwood be along for this trip, or does Cameron have new (smaller?) ROVs?

--Jim
 
Mar 3, 1998
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James,

This expedition is funded by the Discovery Channel. I know of only the telecast. It's possible that the Discovery Channel might use the material at some point in the future to create something new, but I have heard no plans for anything like that.

Because the expedition is Discovery Channel property, it is an entirely separate project from the Fox issue of the "Titanic" SE DVD. People often make the mistake of assuming that since James Cameron's name is on both projects, he owns the rights to everything he has produced. This is not how it works.

In the standard employment agreement for productions of this kind, an Employee has to agree in writing to turn over all rights to anything he/she produces to the project's Producer. The Producer then becomes the "author and copyright owner thereof for all purposes throughout the universe" (exact wording of the agreement). In other words, once my CG renders are shown during the telecast, those renders no longer belong to me...they belong to the Discovery Channel forever, to do with as they will. If I ever want to use them -- my own work -- again, I have to negotiate with the Discovery Channel for their use, for I am no longer the author. If Cameron wants to borrow footage from "Titanic" to use in the Discovery Channel telecast, he has to negotiate with and pay money to Fox for the right to use that footage. This agreement is not unique to this project or Producer, but is fairly standard throughout the industry. I had to sign similar agreements with the History Channel and Walden Media when I worked with them.

The same agreement restricts what I can talk about. Since your second question requests specific information about this project that has not yet been approved for release, I cannot answer it.

Parks
 
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