WRECK OUTTAKES from GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS


Ken Marschall

Member
Jan 8, 2002
122
6
171
Hello all,

To all who are interested in what is left of Titanic today, I would like to give notice that I have prepared a 40-page, full-color article for the Titanic Historical Society's quarterly, "The Titanic Commutator," packed with rare "outtake" images not published in the "Ghosts of the Abyss" books. The designer of the film's two companion books couldn't pack ALL the interesting underwater views into them, leaving dozens and dozens of equally good pictures unseen. Some are new camera angles of things you see in the books, others are completely fresh images of rooms and spaces that haven't even been touched upon before.

After receiving kind permission from Walden Media, LLC, to reproduce unpublished views in a nonprofit venue, I considered posting them here on E-T. But I felt the images should be preserved in a more permanent, published record. My long-standing membership in THS (35 years) made the decision easy.

To whet your appetite, attached are three of the new pictures published in Part 1 of the three-part series. The first two are a then-and-now comparison showing Titanic's rotary disc discharger in the Silent Room as it appeared sparking with its lead-lined teak enclosure opened to view and motor at left (CG render by Parks Stephenson); and the same equipment as we found them in 2001. The third image shows the amazing state of preservation of the once white-painted mahogany woodwork and leaded-glass windows in the Reception Room.

This first installment of "Ghosts of the Abyss: The Outtakes" includes all-new images on dive planning, the MIRs, ROVs, Medusa, bow and forecastle, bridge, hull views, leadsman's platform, davits, gymnasium (3 pages), Marconi and Silent rooms (6 pages), Reception Room (8 pages), the bronze-grilled doors and surrounds (3 pages), and more, plus two archivals that were miraculously 3D-ified for the film and can be enjoyed with the viewers that came with the kids' "Ghosts" book.

Parts 2 and 3 will include unpublished views in first-class staterooms, Ismay's suite, the Dining Saloon, entrance vestibules, staircase foyers, elevators, third-class and cargo spaces, and much more.

Carefully selected "then-and-now" archivals and deck plans are matched with the wreck images. To meet the deadline for Part 1, Parks toiled diligently to update the Marconi suite computer renders, adding the latest research and information he's gleaned from studying the ROV video. His Marconi and Silent rooms are now light years more detailed than they were when the progress on them had to be arrested by the book's publication deadline last winter.

If you are not a member of the Titanic Historical Society (the first such society, founded in 1963), I would urge you to consider either joining immediately to receive these issues or ordering them separately. They will be an invaluable addition to your "Ghosts" books. If you wish to purchase the issues individually, they are $20 US apiece. Basic membership in the Society is $50 US per year, which includes four issues of "The Titanic Commutator." As this three-part article spans 2003 and 2004, I believe you'd have to be a member for both years to obtain the series that way. But it may be worth it to some of you for all the additional Titanic-related information packed into those issues.

For information on ordering these issues individually or joining the Society, and an illustrated preview of the article, please go to www.titanichistoricalsociety.org/membership/Issue163.asp

My sincere thanks to Phil Hind for allowing me to post substantially the same notice in two threads, and for his kind assistance.

I hope you enjoy all the new pictures.

Ken Marschall

80336.jpg

The rotary disc discharger, in the Silent Room, as it
once appeared...
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
55
308
!!!!

Absolutely sublime - even better than the bonus features on a DVD. From the images you've presented here and the outline of the material included in the article, it's very clear that these issues will be a welcome addition adding to the work of the movie and book. I'm particularly pleased to see Parks' work utilised, as we've followed with such tremendous interest the development of his reconstruction of the Marconi and Silent rooms as new information came to light.
 
Dec 8, 2000
1,288
6
223
Thank you for sharing the information and images. It's marvellous to see them after hearing and reading so much about this. Ah, ditto on what Inger wrote.
 
C

Christine Geyer

Guest
This is sooo great!! Can't add much to what Ing and Fiona already wrote. I think I will never get enough of those stunning images and I'm curious to see them all in the upcoming Commutators. Thank you so much for sharing those "additional" pictures with us!! I's wonderful that they don't just wander into the archives as they're just as special as those who made it into the book. Thanks !!
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
41
0
Ken and Inger,

Thank you for the compliments re: the Marconi images. I suspended work on my book about the apparatus for a couple of months in order to render the views that Ken wanted for the Commutator article, which in turn forced me to ask my publisher to extend the publication deadline. The next slot he has in his queue is Autumn 2004. A tad disappointing, so it's nice to know that the effort is appreciated.

If you liked the Silent Room images, then you're going to love the Marconi Room! It has evolved quite a bit since the last draft I showed you! I would post it, but there's still so much to be done and revisions to be made. I hate to say it, but even unfinished my current CG model makes my earlier version, as seen in the GotA book, woefully obsolete.

Parks
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
55
308
Even though I'm not in any way technically inclined I do enjoy following explanations from the truly knowlegeable who have the gift of making it accessible to laypeople - that's been the boon of Ken's work (the article he wrote on the expedition for the Marconigraph site, for example) and why I so enjoyed seeing that draft of your work you showed me last month. To be able not only to write about it but to have such a gift for showing it visually, albeit in somewhat different media, is something that as a visually orientated person I can particularly appreciate!

You might say your earlier work is 'obsolete', Parks (although still lightyears ahead of anything else on the subject), but that's what makes the ongoing work you and Ken have undertaken so fascinating - it's constantly evolving in response to new data!
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
21
223
South Florida
I received my Commutator and have been thrilled by the photographs and accompanying article, but at the same time disheartened by the rapid deterioration of this once glorious ship. Perhaps it's time to put the submarines in dry dock and remember her as she was and still is. I have to wonder if any further research is still necessary at this point. It certainly will prove more dangerous as the deterioration increases. It's like making medical decisions for a dear loved one - whether or not to operate or resuscitate. Seems like it's a flatline to me. So sad.

Kyrila
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
41
0
Kyrila,

>>>I have to wonder if any further research is still necessary at this point.

No offense, but my answer to this is a resounding "Yes!" Before 2001, no one today could speak to what the inside of Titanic's Silent Room looked like. If anyone had guessed, based on known facts, they would have been wrong. If you were thrilled by the images captured during the 2001 expedition, it was because the wreck was speaking to you. All of the new "finds" have been there all along and the technology has only recently gotten to the point where they could be found. In other words, with each new expedition, we learn more and more about the ship and the people who sailed in her. What else does the wreck have to tell us, but we haven't yet been able to hear?

I'm not sad, I'm excited. The information, the tale, that we have learned so far has been, and will continue to be, limited by our technological ability to "hear." But with every expedition, we are able --through technological advances -- to hear a little better. It wasn't until 2001 that we could significantly penetrate the interior. To finish the thought with my example above, no one in the years before 2001 could predict that Cameron would find the Silent Room intact and that the switch positions therein would help flesh out the Phillips's and Bride's last actions on duty. If we continue exploring the wreck, there's no way to predict what other stories will be brought to light. So, as long as that possibility exists, we should continue exploring.

However, your point about deterioration is a valid one. Explorers to the wreck must be even more cautious than they are now.

Parks
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
110
233
Hi!

I'd like to extend a large vote of personal thanks to everyone involved with the recent projects. I've received my Commutator, Ken, and thought that it was magnificent. I'm not ashamed to say that I was studying it for much of the night after I received it. Parks' recreations were also most impressive and interesting.

My particular favourites of the 2001 images have to be those from the reception room. It's always been one of my favourite interior areas and has an extraordinary beauty even now. I like to think of it as 'sunken treasure.'

My kindest regards and best wishes to all,

Mark.
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
23
123
Spectacular!
I eagerly look forward to seeing any and all unpublished glimpses of cabin interiors.

Of particular interest to me is the remnants of the gymnasium- I am still amazed that intact woodwork still remains within...

Great job Ken and Parks!

THANK YOU!

many regards

tarn Stephanos
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
23
123
Hi Ken
It seems to me that barring the occasional siltout from a falling rusticle, visibility inside the wreck is crystal clear.....

What is the visibilty inside the wreck- about 30 ft before details fade?

Im curious if Scotland Road is one day explored, an if it were free of rusticles, how far down that passageway could one see before details faded?

Thanks

Tarn Stephanos
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
41
0
Tarn,

It is never crystal clear inside the wreck, at least whenever a camera is there. The propulsion units in the ROV stir up silt, so much so that the pilots often have to set the ROV down onto the deck, turn the lights off (to save battery power), and wait for the silt to settle. But even when the camera is looking ahead to an area that is yet undisturbed, there are things floating in the water that reduce visibility. There is also the matter of light...how far will the intensity of the light remain above the threshold of the camera lens before darkness takes over? There are times, though, when you can see relatively far; for instance, I have seen across the breadth of the Officers' Quarters. However, that was due more to the fact that the topside areas had sufficient lighting...light from Medusa and the Mirs outside pouring in through windows and holes in the roof provided ambient light that augmented the light on the ROV.

To answer your question about Scotland Road...visibility down there is going to be tough. It's a confined space, so silt avoidance is going to be tricky. In addition, there will be no ambient light down there, so what the camera sees will depend on how far the ROV's light reaches. Lastly, the corridor might be blocked, either by accumulated debris/marine growth or, like the Dining Saloon, the collapse of a deck. No one really knows what to expect...the only choice is to plunge ahead and see what we can see.

Thanks to all for the kind words...I think that I can safely speak for both Ken and myself when I say that they are truly appreciated.

Parks
 
Jul 9, 2002
119
2
171
What absolutely increadable work you have both done! I have been trying to find my own words to express to you both how the images moved me, however I am at a loss. All of the good words have been used up! Keep doing what you both do,your work is loved, admired and greatly appreciated by those of us who will never see her in person. How envious I am of the both of you!
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
23
123
Hi Ken and Parks..
Im curious, in regards to crystal clear images like the Reception Room stained glass windows...
Was there any computer enhancement done on those images, or are they depicted 'as is'?
Its just that im stunned by the crystal clear clarity of some of the reception room photos...
regards

tarn Stephanos
 

Jeremy Lee

Member
Jun 12, 2003
1,374
5
161
In my opinion, I don't think there were any image enhancements done to the pictures. There weren't many things that would dirty the windows down there.
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
41
0
Ryan and Tarn,

Thank you once again for your kind words. It's really nice to know that our work is appreciated.

All of the still images that you see of the interior of the wreck are actually screen grabs from the video taken by one of the ROVs. The camera in the ROV was never really still, as the ROV continually hovered over the deck. Therefore, no one single "frame" of the video returned a crystal clear image.

What Ken and Ellen did was composite several "frames" of video together so that the information represented by the pixels in each frame combined together to create a sharper image. What I would do (for some Marconi images...Ed Marsh at Earthship did most of this work) was run the video on my computer and look for an interesting subject. If the camera paused for an instant while looking at the subject, then I would take a series of screen grabs for as long as the camera paused, the more the better. Once the camera started moving again, the screen grabs became unuseable because of blur. I would send the series of consecutive images to Ken, who would composite them together into one image. During the compositing process, some unwanted information, like floating silt, could be cancelled out of the image. Also, brightness and contrast were adjusted to bring out as much detail as possible.

If the camera moved too quickly past an object, then I couldn't pull useable frames from it. Fortunately, Cameron is an experienced ROV pilot and had a sense for what might make for a good image. He also made multiple passes, so that what might be missed once was caught later. I don't know of too many subjects that cannot be shown because the camera moved was too quick past an object. The unidentified object in Stateroom Z is a good example. Cameron had no idea what it was (and to this day, nobody else does, either), but he spotted it, recognised it as an item of interest, positioned the ROV for the best viewing/lighting angle, and then held the ROV steady against the currents (yes, currents do run through the interior of the wreck in places) long enough to allow us to pull off a good series of images.

So, was there computer enhancement conducted on the images? Yes. No one would have been happy with simple screen grabs from the video. It would have been nice to have a single-frame camera down there, but there was no such thing. The only option was to enhance the video grabs as much as possible so that we could deliver the clearest, sharpest image possible. Everything you see in the image was actually there...there was nothing added in or altered by visual effects. Just two people working in Photoshop.

Now, here's the bad part...some of the images printed in the both the GotA book and the Commutator came out darker and/or more pixellated than Ken intended. My CGI, for example, came out much darker in the Commutator than it appeared on my computer screen. I had adjusted the lighting in my CG model so that it looked realistic, but also illuminated all detail. When it was printed in the Commutator, I was dismayed to find that the room looked gloomy and much detail was lost in darkness. This is one of the risks you take when you hand your images over to someone else's publisher.

In other words, the images you see now are the result of a lot of care and attention given to them by a team of people intent on documenting the wreck as best they could.

Parks
 

Similar threads

Similar threads