"Titanic" for The Discovery Channel's expeditions to the wreck site


Working with production company, Stardust Visual, and a team of scientists from the 1996 and 1998 Discovery Channel expeditions to the wreck, Home Run Pictures created realistic scenes of the famed oceanliner striking an iceberg and eventually sinking to the ocean bottom. In all, there were six programs on the Titanic for Discovery.

Based on new found evidence at the two and a half mile deep Titanic wreck site, various simulations were generated by our animators. Scenes show the ship sinking bow first and then breaking apart as it dove to its present resting place. Since a clear understanding of the "breakup" theory was just recently defined, the underwater simulations were the first time these scenes have ever been visualized.

Animation director, Tom Casey worked together with animators Dawn Lohmeyer, Patricia Whittington and Wendy Jobe to produce five minutes of animation which aired as part of the second two hour documentary, April 13, 1997 on The Discovery Channel's 1996 expedition. At that time, the show pulled in the highest viewer ratings ever for The Discovery Channel and has been a popular rerun for the past five years. Clips from the animation sequences were also screened at the 1997 Siggraph Show.

The fifth program followed the 1998 expedition to the site. The team of scientists involved hoped to determine the true details of the sinking... why did the steel plated ship's scrape with the iceberg deal such a strong blow... why did she split in two... how high did the stern section really rise during the sinking... and why is the stern section so much more destroyed than the bow? Home Run Pictures was once again called upon to create animated scenes depicting the details of the sinking as determined by the team of scientist-experts.

This time, animation director, Tom Casey worked with animators Dawn Lohmeyer, Brian Schutzman and Desiree Roy to create over ten minutes of simulated visuals. Almost eight months of rendering was accomplished using SGI Origin200 multi-processor servers. Working with documentary production company, Stardust Visual, scenes were created concurrently with the off-lining of the program with revisions being made as the scientific team's theories developed during the six months time frame from expedition to finished show... the show first aired Sunday, April 25, 1999 on The Discovery Channel and earned viewer ratings in Discovery's top ten list. Two of the previous Titanic shows, at that time, already held the number's one and two ratings positions as the most watched programs on the network.

 

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