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QuestChat

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 one's children.

[ 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 ]
RE: [flytrapTrilogyandifsoareyouplanningonturningitintoaTVminiseries] 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 Hurricane Georges?
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 made?
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 time!

[ 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 and archeologists.

[ 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 attacking us.

[ 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?
No

[ 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 advance.

[ 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" reception!

[ 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 important thing.

[ 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 ]
THANK YOU!

[ 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 the habitat.

 


 
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