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Saturday, March 7, 1998 Published at 04:13 GMT


Titanic filmed in 3D

Polarised lighting gives the film its 3D effect

A new film of the wreck of the Titanic has been shown in Washington, giving people a chance to see some of the most amazing under-sea footage ever filmed.

"I wanted the audience to experience the Titanic like I have, without having cold water drip down their backs," said Emory Kristof, maker of the 14-minute, three-dimensional, movie tour of the famous shipwreck.

[ image: Kristof:
Kristof: "It's dangerous to work around a wreck like Titanic"
The film opened on Friday at National Geographic's Explorers Hall and will be shown there until April 5.

To produce the special three dimension video, Kristof spent more than 50 hours in deep sea submersibles. He also narrated the bow-to-stern tour.

Polarised lighting provides the 3-D effect, seen through special grey lenses rather than the old coloured lenses used in previous films. And the effect can be startling as steel beams reach out to the viewer and rust hangs down in stalactites.

Kristof, a National Geographic photographer who was part of the 1985 team that found the wreckage, used a pair of Russian submersibles to light and film the wreck in the ocean's inky blackness.

[ image: The 14 minute video took over 50 hours to film]
The 14 minute video took over 50 hours to film
There are essentially three wrecks, he said. The Titanic's massive bow seems almost intact, looking as if could be cleaned up and displayed in the Smithsonian Institution, he said. Observers can even see a "great, gaping hole" near where it struck the iceberg.

That is followed by the "complete chaos" of the ship's stern that broke away and sank with all the heavy engines and equipment.

In the distance is the debris field of small items that spilled from the broken vessel - cups and dishes and other material that bring a human feeling to the April 1912 tragedy which claimed 1,517 lives.

[ image: 86 years on the different parts of the wreck can still be indentified]
86 years on the different parts of the wreck can still be indentified
There were moments, said Kristof, when he feared the toll might rise.

Once, his submersible got stuck for 20 minutes between a bulkhead and a railing before working itself free.

Another time, a sudden current pushed it into a tight area. The operator revved to full speed to escape, though they were unsure if their route provided enough clearance. Metal banged the top of the submersible during "a minute-and-a-half of sheer terror," Kristof said.

"It's dangerous to work around a wreck like Titanic, there are lots of things to get caught on," he said.

Film-director James Cameron saw portions of Kristof's work and included similar underwater vistas in his blockbuster, "Titanic."

Kristof helped Cameron adapt submersibles and lighting for the scenes.

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