James Cameron has logged more than 3,000 hours underwater, is a veteran of 85 submersible dives, most of them to depths greater than two miles, and of eight oceanographic expeditions. Beginning with his film The Abyss in 1989, Cameron has advanced underwater cinematography and robotics during the production of numerous features and marine documentaries. In 1995, he made 12 manned-submersible dives to the Titanic wreck for his movie of the same name, which won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and broke the record for global box office hits. (Titanic’s earnings have only been surpassed by Cameron’s 2009 film, Avatar, still the box office leader.) In May 2002, Cameron piloted his robotic cameras inside the wreck of the DKM Bismarck, at a depth of 16,000 feet, for the documentary Expedition Bismarck. He has continued to evolve and improve on innovations in fiber-optic-spooling mini-ROVs, deep-ocean lighting, and photographic technologies for subsequent underwater documentaries including Ghosts of the Abyss in 2003, Aliens of the Deep in 2005, and the forthcoming DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D. The film utilizes and builds on the 3D technology and camera systems Cameron and engineering partner, Vince Pace, developed in 1999 that form the basis of their 3D technologies and services company, the CAMERON | PACE Group.
Cameron is an Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic and a member of the Deep Submersible Pilots Association. He has contributed to a number of robotic space exploration projects and, for three years, served on the NASA Advisory Council. Cameron is the founder of the Avatar Alliance Foundation, a non-profit aimed at addressing climate change, the destruction of the natural world, and the loss of indigenous land and culture.
Photo credit: National Geographic / Mark Thiessen