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VFX Pro Who Dove to Titanic with James Cameron Discusses Titan Tragedy – The Hollywood Reporter



Following the voyage of the Titan sub that claimed 5 lives on June 18 when it imploded en path to Titanic’s wreckage within the North Atlantic, the sub’s developer and operator OceanGate Expeditions confronted criticism from James Cameron, who contended in quite a few interviews that the tragedy was preventable. He informed ABC Information on Thursday: “Many people in the community were concerned about this sub and even wrote letters to the company saying that what they were doing was too experimental and what they were doing needed to be certified.”

John Bruno — a VFX Oscar winner for The Abyss who did 4 dives to Titanic with Cameron in the course of the filming of the Oscar-winning 1997 movie and 2003 documentary Ghosts of the Abyss — echoed Camerons’s considerations concerning the Titan sub’s design. He tells The Hollywood Reporter that when he learn concerning the sub, “the worst thing for me was that the whole front end opened up. I mean, that’s a weak point. That’s all the way around the joint for that tube. And it was [a] carbon fiber [composite hull].” In an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, Cameron defined, “You don’t use composites for vessels that are seeing external pressure. They’re great for internal pressure vessels like scuba tanks, for example, but they’re terrible for external pressure.”

On Bruno’s dives with Cameron, they used Mir submersibles, which had been spherical, fabricated from titanium, and they might dive in pairs. “There’s two of them — one for safety. You go down, there’s another sub a half an hour behind you. You join up at the bottom,” Bruno remembers. “In this case, we were filming the movie Titanic. I had my shot list, and the first thing we were gonna do was cross the bow, and Jim was gonna film it.” This shot is featured within the opening scene of the film.

Relates Bruno, “it’s a very dangerous wreck because there’s hanging parts. It’s twisted wreckage. As you’re traveling, if you get hooked up on something, the other sub will come and talk you through where to move, where to go up, down, back to unhook yourself.”

He notes that Mir’s provider, the scientific analysis vessel the Keldysh, additionally carries an ROV (remotely-operated automobile) “and enough cable to come down and grab you.” He asserts, “That’s always the way you dive wrecks. What’s your fallback plan? You have to plan for it.”

As for communication, he relates that the Mir used hydrophones. “You could talk to each other. You could talk to the surface. You would be in communication.” He provides that the Titan didn’t seem to have that very same stage of communication with these on the floor.

In all, he mentioned of what he has realized concerning the Titan sub, “it just didn’t seem right to me. I wouldn’t have gotten in that sub to go that deep.” 

Bruno — who additionally directed 2014 doc Deepsea Challenger about Cameron’s solo dive to the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep — advises {that a} crew ”shouldn’t dive something that’s not licensed and doesn’t actually have a [safety and rescue] plan that they will clarify to you … I help going out; seeing the underworld is spectacular. But it surely’s gotta be licensed.”

Talking with THR, Kristin Romey — a shipwreck archaeologist and senior editor at Nationwide Geographic — voiced a associated concern particular to Titanic’s wreck, which she describes as a historic monument and a protected website. “I had heard rumors about all the tourists who had gone down,” she says, “literally banging into the wreck, damaging the wreck. And remember, people are leaving memorials on the wreck. Somebody got married on the wreck of Titanic in 2000. All of this actively works to help the wreck decay. All of our visits are not helping the wreck at all.”

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