James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge


From the Director who gave us the greatest love story in cinema history with Titanic, groundbreaking visual effects in 2009’s Avatar, and one of the most memorable one liners in modern cinema, Terminators “ I’ll Be Back’’ comes Deepsea Challenge 3D.

Born in Ontario, Canada in 1954 James Cameron was initially a truck driver before he pursued a career in the film industry, soon becoming one of the biggest names in Hollywood history. Directing and editing films since the 1978 film Xenogenesis he was soon catapulted into worldwide recognition with the 1984 film ‘’The Terminator’’. He has since given us films such as Aliens and True Lies and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, Slyvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis and Leonardo DiCaprio.

His passion for science-fiction is clear to see with the blockbuster films he has delivered in a glittering career. In addition to making blockbuster films he has also shown his passion with the underwater documentaries Expedition: Bismarck (2002), Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005).

The Deepsea Challenger expedition in particular was more about a personal goal than anything else. Most people would be happy with being one of the most respected film directors in history but in 2012, Cameron set out on his biggest challenge to date. Deep Sea Challenge pits Cameron against a 36,000 feet dive into the deepest known location on Earth in The Marianas Trench, a dive which put his life at high risk.

The last previously recorded deep sea dive at the location was the 1960 U.S. Navy bathyscaph Trieste which reached a depth of 35,800 feet, piloted by Lt. Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard. If Cameron was to overcome that feat he had to make sure that his vessel was ready and able.

Built as an aquatic rocket ship, the craft had to dive fast enough to allow Cameron to explore the depths of the seafloor but had to also rise quickly to allow for an extended exploration time. The first test was to be filmed by Andrew Wight, an Australian director who had previously worked with Cameron as his documentary partner and cinematographer Mike deGruy in a helicopter, and was to be piloted by Ron Allum, the Deepsea Challenger’s co-designer. The initial test however soon ended in tragedy as the helicopter carrying the film crew of Wight and deGruy crashed and killed the occupants.

Knowing that Andrew wouldn’t want to stop the expedition, James continued two weeks later but the second attempt didn’t go to plan at all. As soon as the craft hit the water the electrical system failed and the carbon dioxide scrubber fell off leading Cameron to abort the dive once again. With a reputation of delivering a high standard in everything he purses, Cameron went for the third dive which again was aborted, but 24 hours later he managed to succeed with a test dive.

With bad weather on the horizon, time was running out for the dive. He finally managed to successfully dive on the 26th March 2012. His body cramped into the 43-inch-diameter steel ball which is the pilot’s chamber or as Cameron described it ‘’like a walnut in its shell’’. Reaching the depth of the Titanic in only 35 minutes, the dive is reaching incredible speed, soon diving deeper than any manned submersible in the world, the Chinese Jiaolong. The Deepsea Challenger reaches 35,756 feet in just under 3 hours since it first departed at 05:15. Cameron now has five hours to explore.

Diving truly into the unknown, James Cameron had to build a submersible which could survive the crushing pressure that is exerted at 36,000 feet below sea level. He had to source the highest quality components which would mitigate the risk of failure as far as possible. After an extensive search for such components, Blanson Limited was chosen as the supplier of the submarine viewports for the Deepsea Challenger.

James trusted us to supply the highest quality material that wouldn’t be defeated at the deepest point in the world, and we clearly didn’t disappoint. If you would like to discuss our high-quality pressure rated acrylic submarine windows or any other products in our range, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the team.

James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D is now in cinemas worldwide watch the trailer below.

Image sources: NGM & NY Daily News