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ANSI shines a spotlight on Standards in action as they support safety, efficiency and well-being in interesting aspects of everyday life.

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New Expeditions Bring Tourists to the Titanic and Capture High-Resolution Videos of the Wreckage


Since its disastrous collision with an iceberg in 1912, to the discovery of its wreckage in 1985, to the countless book and film renditions and analyses of its journey, people have long been fascinated by the Titanic. One of the largest and most opulent ships of its time, the vessel boarded 2,200 people on her maiden voyage before the tragedy that took the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Over 100 years later, newly shot footage of the wreckage has recaptured the public’s interest. The footage was taken by a commercial exploration company, OceanGate Expeditions, in 8K resolution, offering a clear, never-before-seen look at the ship’s remains. The company also takes tourists deep into the sea to view the remains in person, for a $250,000 fee per traveler—money that funds the expeditions and makes it possible for the company to capture videos and conduct research.

Undersea travelers are taken to the site of the wreck in a submersible, 2.4 miles down to the ocean’s seabed. Submersibles—small watercrafts that operate underwater while supported by a surface vessel—are guided by international standards for their safe use and functionality. ISO 22252:2020, Manned submersibles - Breathing air supply and CO2 adsorption systems - Performance requirements and recommendations, applies to manned submersibles where the internal pressure of the manned compartment is normally maintained at or near to one atmosphere. Another relevant standard, ISO 21173:2019, Submersibles - Hydrostatic pressure test - Pressure hull and buoyancy materials, applies to the pressure structure of manned submersibles and unmanned submersibles, including the pressure hull, its accessories (such as viewports, hatches, and connectors), and buoyancy materials. Both of these standards were developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 8, Ships and marine technology, Subcommittee (SC) 13, Marine technology. The U.S. Coast Guard is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to this TC and SC.

While the guests view the decaying ship firsthand, videographers accompanying them capture footage for the rest of the world to see. Underwater videography naturally requires watertight casing for camera equipment, but there are also unique lighting and lens considerations taken into account. A wide-angle lens is necessary for shooting something large—like a shipwreck—and a high power LED light is recommended to provide a bright foreground light that matches any background light, for optimal color and contrast. LED luminaries for use in a wide array of applications are addressed in ANSI/IES LM 79-19, Approved Method: Optical and Electrical Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products. This American National Standard was developed by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

The videos of the expedition were taken in 8K resolution, making them remarkably detailed—although most televisions and computer screens are lower resolution and not able to show the finest details of 8K video. The successor to 4K resolution, 8K resolution was developed with the support of standards. IEEE 333.1.2, IEEE Standard for the Perceptual Quality Assessment of Three-Dimensional (3D) and Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) Contents, and IEEE 1857.4, IEEE Standard for Second-Generation IEEE 1857 Video Coding, are standards developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer IEEE that guide ultra-high definition technology including 8K resolution.

Read more about the new videos of the Titanic wreckage, and the tourist expeditions that fund them: New Titanic Footage Heralds Next Stage in Deep-Sea Tourism.