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Here are photos that Eric Schmitz took when we worked on TITANIC. The first photo is of one of the two subs that was used to shoot the 2 perf 35mm footage—it's either Mir 1 or Mir 2, not sure which. The second photo has Mike Cameron on the left, and Jim Cameron on the right. Between them is the 35mm rig that was used to shoot the actual wreck of the ship. Right photo shows the rig in profile. There is a titanium tube that houses the camera. The main portion of it was turned from a single, solid block of titanium—which, besides being very strong, is the most corrosion-resistant metal. The camera is inside and is pointed to the left in this photo. Mike designed the housing and also the glass dome, which was made at Benthos, where we also pressure tested the rig. I think we tested to about 6,000 psi, which is the pressure at about 15,000 feet or so, if memory serves me. Underneath and around the titanium tube is the pan tilt rig that Eric and I designed. We used a Sea Stallion pan/tilt rig as a starting point, and redesigned it, building new housings, structure, controls, and adding a hydraulic locking system that could be operated by the Russian sub. We replaced the top and bottom tilt motors with a single large spindle and drove it with a stainless chain. Eric built the pan tilt controls to work just like a geared head, with a wheel for each, which Jim prefers over joysticks. I designed the hydraulic lock system. This keeps the rig from flailing around in rough seas during launch. I tried about four different locking designs, and they all worked fine until I dumped salt water over them. Then they all slipped! Finally I made a large aluminum clamp, like a nut cracker of sorts, and used a toothed belt around a toothed pulley like a tire inside this clamp. This worked. Whew! The funny looking bags are bladders that hold the mineral oil that we used to fill the motor housings. They equalize the pressure inside and out. All the hoses and wires to and from the head and camera were wrapped with tubing and filled with oil also. The hydraulic locking pressure was tested at about 3,000 psi and used stainless marine cylinders. Eric did all the electronic work. He went on to do most of the software and electronic work on GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS, too. You can see him in that film in the Russian sub, at depth, next to Jim. He's the one who says, "Whoa—we're losing power!"



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Here's an underwater housing that I made for Bruce Wodder's Arriflex 35BL2 and Transvideo monitor. It was made out of 12mm (about 1/2") plexi. It has both domed and flat ports, a remote on-off switch on the left, grab handles on top and bottom, and a remote focus on the right. You can view the monitor from the top or the back. I haven't depth tested it, but I think it's good to about 50 or 60 feet, which is where 99 percent of the action is. Nice thing about clear plexi and polycarbonate housings is that they don't corrode and if they leak, you can see exactly where the water is and how bad the leak is. With stainless and aluminum, you just get a dampness alarm and you have to surface. Often a leak is very slow and you can get a shot or more done with some water in the bottom of the housing if you can see it. This unit was made with about 1.5" of space between the camera and base. The cam sits on a shelf that pulls out on two full extention ball bearing slides to make it easy to reload and change the battery. More pics of this on the way.



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This is 180 degrees of our curved track and a customized Long Valley Dolly used at the University of Pittsburg Craniofacial Dept for 3D imaging. They screwed the track to the floor permanently. They sent us drawings and we did the rest.



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Chris Albert, a cameraman for CBS News, recently used the Seven Jib for a 60 Minutes segment on Birdmen—those wild guys who jump off of mountains with bird suits on. Here's the Seven hanging out over a bluff in Norway. The video (link below) is pretty terrifying especially if you have even a small fear of heights!

60 Minutes episode: The Birdmen (October 11, 2009)