Date: September 23, 1998
Featuring: James Cameron
Film Writer, Director, and Producer
From the Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station, Key Largo, FL
[ Linda/NASAQuest - 3 - 07:12:09 ]
We're online a little early. If you're there and have questions, go ahead.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 4 - 07:12:34 ]
RE: [Linda/NASAQuest] This is
the place to chat with James Cameron on September 23. Messages may be
posted, but you will not see them until the time of the chat. Read James'
profile at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/challenge/team/cameron.html
before joining the chat.
Jim Cameron here, ready to talk.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 7 - 07:18:32 ]
RE: [valkryie] I have finished watching a tv spot
on the art of Folley, and was intriqued at the complexity of moviemaking
in this regard. I had assumed that with today's camera and recording equipment
that the movies were shot in total with sound and then the extraneous
noise was edited out. Now I come to find that the movies are shot silent
with diologue and sound effects put in. So my question is a two-parter:
Is this the rule for movies made today or the exception? How does one
get started in Folley work? I have looked up recording studio's in the
Dallas/Fort Worth area and only one listed Folley as an available resource.
valkyrie, that's a good tech question. All films are shot to optimize
the image primarily, which often compromises the production sound with
extraneous sounds (airplanes, windmachines etc). Only the dialogue is
ultimately used. All sound effects and the sounds of people moving, walking,
breathing etc.(foley) are added later so that each can be recorded using
optimal miking and recording techniques. Sometimes some of the dialogue
is compromised and must be replaced, a process called ADR (automatic dialogue
replacement) which most people, myself included, call looping. As to how
you get into a career in foley, I really don't have a clue.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 9 - 07:28:36 ]
RE: [Linda/NASAQuest] I'm curious,
Jim, about how your evening underwater went.
Linda, my first night underwater was very restfull. I always sleep really
well after a day of diving, and even though the habitat bunk was small,
I sleep like a stone. The sound of the air system is very soothing. We
woke up as the first green glow of abient light from the rising sun came
through the viewports. It was very much as I had imagined habitat life
to be, from my writing research for the Abyss, but it was a great experience
to actually do it. Even though I had already spent a day in the Scott
Carpenter Station, I did not really feel like was truly living underwater
until I woke up in the habitat (the nearby Marinelab, where the bunks
are) and then had to put on my dive gear and swim fifty feet to the station
to have breakfast. I have not been to the surface for 25 hours, and plan
on being down here for another five or six hours.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 11 - 07:35:40 ]
RE: [SherwoodElementary] How much research did you
have to do on the actual Titanic accident before production of the movie?
I did a tremendous amount of research on the Titanic disaster and the
related biographies before I actually started the writing process. I collected
every book and article I could find on the subject, and then made copious
notes, which I then synthesized into a comprehensive timeline of the events
of April 14 and 15, 1912. This timeline included the order of events and
the personalities involved in the launching of each of the 16 lifeboats
and the 4 collapsible boats. In the writing of the script no liberties
were taken with this historical timeline as far as I know. If anyone knows
of an apparent inaccuracy I would happy to discuss/ defend the position
we took on the film, and I am always ready to learn more/ be corrected
on such a complex subject.
[ Linda/NASAQuest - 14 - 07:38:57
RE: [SherwoodElementary] Are we still
connected. We are not seeing answers?
Don't forget to hit the refresh button every so often to see any new postings.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 17 - 07:43:36 ]
RE: [SherwoodElementary] What technologies that NASA
developed did you use in the underwater photography?
I know of no specific NASA technology that we used, but the impact of
space research on materials science in the last 20 years is so pervasive
that I'm sure we used something without really knowing it. The engineering
principles of building camera housings and deep submergence systems is
very different from those of space systems. Our camera housing was designed
to withstand external pressures of 6200 pounds per square inch, for example,
while the space shuttle hull is designed to withstand 14 psi internal
pressure against the vacuum of space. There are a lot of similarities
between diving physiology and space physiology. " For example, the astranouts
must "decompress" between the 14 psi pressure of the shuttle and the 4
psi pressure of their spacesuits before they can go outside on an EVA.
This is very similar the process a diver goes through to return to the
surface after a long dive in which his or her body has absorbed nitrogen
from breathing air under pressure.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 18 - 07:48:16 ]
RE: [Valkryie] Do you ever see a time when humanity
would be genetically altered to live under water? Would you volunteer
for such an assignment/
Genetically altering humans to live in extreme environments will certainly
be possible someday, and it's a cool idea. But if you think about it,
the most exciting aspect of being human is our adaptability. Technology
allows us to dive under the sea, to fly through the air, to go into space.
We can't do any of these things through direct biological ability, but
we can do all of them through intellectual adaptability. to adapt biologically
to one environment over another, is in a way limiting. But it would definitely
be a cool experience to be able to dive like a dolphin. By the way, one
does not get to "volunteer" for a genetic adaptation. One can only volunteer
[ JimC/SCSAS - 20 - 07:55:48 ]
RE: [JASPER] WHAT KIND OF COOL THINGS HAVE YOU SEEN
UNDER WATER? ALSO, HOW DID THE NASA PEOPLE GET YOU FROM THE SURFACE DOWN
TO THE UNDERWATER HABITAT?
Jasper, I have seen many awesome things in my underwater travels. Besides
the Titanic wreck, which was definitely a peak experience, I have visited
many wrecks, including a large number of sunken Japanese warships in Truk
Lagoon, in Micronesia. There are even submarines and airplanes on the
bottom there. I have seen all kinds of sharks, rays, mantas, jellyfish,
eels and every kind of coral and fantastic marine invertebrates. Truly
the wildest alien beings we can imagine are already here on earth, beneath
the seas. I have seen emperor penguins "flying" underwater beneath the
ice at a research station in Antarctica. I have seen fish and crabs and
eels living over two miles down on the seemingly barren bottom of the
Atlantic, where the light of the sun never reaches. As to how NASA got
me down to the station, it was very simple. I put on my normal diving
equipment and used a hookah, which is a surface-supplied airline, to go
down to the hatch of the station. Then you surface inside and climb up,
take off all your equipment, and make yourself at home.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 23 - 07:59:14 ]
RE: [SherwoodElementary] Have you ever been under
to the actual Titanic wreckage?
Yes, I've been to the wreck of Titanic 12 times, using the Russian Mir
submersibles. Each dive lasted from 12 to 17 hours. We only explored and
photographed the forward or bow section of the wreck (remember that it
broke in half at the surface as it sank). The stern section is really
an unrecognizable pile of junk, so we concentrated on the part that still
looked like a ship for photographic reasons. We even sent our robot vehicle,
or ROV, inside the wreck to explore rooms on B deck and D deck.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 26 - 08:01:41 ]
What types (genre) of projects will you be looking to produce under your
new television company?
We are going to start with a one hour dramatic series. We have not decided
on the first show yet. Science fiction is not out of the question, but
the appeal for me of the TV medium is the opportunity to write great characters
and give them an evolving life of their own over weeks and hopefully years.
I'll save the spectacular visuals for the motion picture screen.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 28 - 08:06:29 ]
RE: [SherwoodElementary] We are 4th graders in Missouri.
Are you aware of any special precautions being taken due to the approaching
We have been monitoring the hurricane with interest, since we seem to
be in the path. There has been a mandatory evacuation from Key West up
to Marathon Key, which is just south of us, and the debate has been going
on since yesterday whether we should stay and continue the mission or
evacuate ourselves. So far, we are staying, with plans to pull out later
in the day, if necessary. This all reminds me of The Abyss, my 1989 movie
where the main characters are all underwater in a habitat while a hurricane
rages overhead. It is so peaceful and serene down here it's hard to imagine
the bad weather up above.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 29 - 08:07:21 ]
RE: [dennis] Mr. Cameron, what was the best film of
1997-98? (Be honest, as if someone woke you up at 6:25 AM and asked you
that cold, what would you say??)
I think you know the answer I would give already.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 32 - 08:09:18 ]
RE: [Valkryie] Would you have any plans to contribute
to Nasa Deep Space exploration, as a private citizen, in exchange for
"first right" use of materials gathered, (if such a thing is possible)
You are right about the use of one's children, thank you.
I have always supported and will continue to support NASA's efforts in
every way, without expectation of any quid pro quo. Our efforts in space
are the single most heroic thing our society is doing.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 33 - 08:10:38 ]
RE: [danny/russellelem] What was the first movie you
I was hired to direct a film called Piranha 2, but I got fired after 8
days of shooting, so I consider The Terminator to be my first film as
a writer and director.
[ Linda/NASAQuest - 37 - 08:13:22
We have only about 15 minutes scheduled for this chat. We have some questions
in queue, but if you have one last terrific question to ask, now's the
[ JimC/SCSAS - 38 - 08:13:31 ]
RE: [flytrap] When will you shoot your first feature
using all digital cameras (DV)?
Unknown. The technology is not as cheap and as durable as film cameras,
so even when it is mature enough for feature use (which George Lucas tells
me is now or very soon) it will still remain primarily a studio tool for
a while. I need to be satisfied that the look and feel of the image is
equal to what I would expect using the best Kodak stocks and high end
cameras. When those criteria are satisfied, I would do it.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 39 - 08:16:19 ]
RE: [flytrap] Would you very much like to see a human
piloted mission to Mars in the next fifteen years?
I think a manned (or womanned) mission to Mars is the next great challenge
of the human race, and should be met with vigor and excitement by the
whole country. Unfortunately with all our social and economic problems,
people may have a hard time seeing the value of this, but to land a human
on the surface of Mars in my lifetime would make me very very happy.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 40 - 08:19:38 ]
RE: [Valkryie] My daughter feels very strongly about
bringing artifacts up from the various wrecks (being very conscious of
her Native american heritage)and thinks it is a violation of the peace
of the dead, how do you feel on this?
I don't believe in the removal of artifacts from shiprwecks of this century,
since it serves no archeological purpose and is primarily souvenir hunting.
We took nothing at the Titanic wreck site except pictures. Removal of
aritifacts from ancient wrecks is however very valuable to historians
[ JimC/SCSAS - 44 - 08:21:09 ]
RE: [JASPER] IS THE UNDERWATER HABITAT SECURED AND
STATIONARY? IF NOT, WILL THE HURRICANE LURKING CLOSE BY CAUSE IT TO ROLL
AROUND? IF SO, WILL YOU NEED TO 'GET A BUCKET'?
The habitat is quite secure on the bottom but a major storm surge could
probably move it. However, by that time we will be quite far away and
dry. Nothing however can save us from the giant squid which is currently
[ JimC/SCSAS - 45 - 08:23:08 ]
RE: [MrLasterrussellelem] Which movie did you have
the most fun making?
The most "fun" was had on True Lies, because it was a blast doing comedy
with Arnold, Jamie Lee and Tom Arnold. But by far the most satisfying
experience, even though it was very hard, was the making of Titanic, especially
the opportunity to dive to the wreck and see it for myself.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 46 - 08:23:46 ]
RE: [flytrap] Do you ever accept unsolicited scripts?
[ JimC/SCSAS - 51 - 08:26:17 ]
RE: [flytrap] How much freedom do you give your storyboard
artists in terms of designing the shots in your films?
I work closely with the storyboard artists in designing the film, which
is my way of saying they are on a short leash. Actually I use video and
CG previsualization as my primary tools for figuring out the shots in
[ Linda/NASAQuest - 52 - 08:30:55
I want to thank you, Jim, for joining us and answering all these questions.
We have some more in the queue if you are willing, but I see that we've
reached the end of this scheduled chat, and I know your day is full of
activities. Thanks again for your time.
[ Mr.Boyd/SherwoodElementarySchool - 53 - 08:31:18 ]
When you are in Missouri, come visit us. We will give you a "Titanic"
[ JimC/SCSAS - 55 - 08:33:02 ]
RE: [JASPER] WOULD THERE BE LONG TERM PHYSICAL AND/OR
EMOTIONAL EFFECTS TO LIVING IN AN UNDERWATER HABITAT FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD
OF TIME? HOW DOES THE SPACE RESEARCH TEAM COMPINSATE FOR LACK OF NATURAL
LIGHT AND THE NEED FOR HUMAN BEINGS TO HAVE IT TO SURVIVE?
The long term effects of living in an underwater habitat are mostly psychological
as a result of lack of space to move around (running is right out) and
lack of contact with people other than your crew ( whom you had better
get along with really well). At the depth we are at, there is plenty of
natural light so that's not a big factor. There are a number of life-sciences
similarities between being in an underwater habitat and being in space.
The confinement and lack of exercise must be dealt with. Air must be supplied
or scrubbed of Co2 in some sort of closed system. Fire and electrical
safety are major issues in both environments, as well as resupply and
waste management. Safety in any extreme environment is of course the most
[ Linda/NASAQuest - 56 - 08:35:16
RE: [Linda/NASAQuest] Weather permitting, we are planning
a webcast for this afternoon (eastern time). See http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/challenge/events/9-23.html
for details. Thanks for joining us!
Scratch that! I just got the word that we need to be prepared to evacuate
this area around 2:00pm so we are going to have to cancel the Webcast.
Look for a video of an interview with James Cameron to appear online soon.
[ JimC/SCSAS - 57 - 08:35:50 ]
RE: [flytrap] Are you and your brother developing
any new camera technologies?
Looks like time is up. I'll do this last question. My brother Mike and
I are currently designing a new ROV which will be very small and autonomous,
specially designed to explore the interiors of sunken ships and submarines.
We plan to use it to explore several famous wrecks and get some interesting
broadcast quality video.
[ JASPER - 58 - 08:36:14 ]
BYE JIM, I HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL NOW. THANKS FOR THE GROOVY ANSWERS! YOU
ARE ONE COOL DUDE!!! HAVE FUN! LOVE J&S
[ JimC/SCSAS - 59 - 08:37:15 ]
Thanks everybody for connecting with us here in the underwater world.
This is Jim Cameron signing off from 25 feet down, in the Scott Carpenter
Station, Key Largo.
[ SherwoodElementary - 60 - 08:37:19 ]
[ flytrap - 61 - 08:38:53 ]
Thanks very much Jim for taking the time to answer our questions. It's
been great chatting with you. Hopefully you will not have to evacuate