Iceberg, right ahead!
April 17, 2016 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Cool jams! I’d also like a parody version that syncs up a paulstretched version of “My Heart Will Go On”.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:04 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's just like porn. After about ten minutes of watching from the start I'm fast-forwarding and saying "come on and sink already!"
posted by chavenet at 4:09 PM on April 17, 2016 [15 favorites]

This really is an amazing video. I can't imagine how much effort went into producing it. Somewhat related, here is an album of photographs of the Harland and Wolff engine shop building the engines for the Olympic-class liners.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:12 PM on April 17, 2016

Huh. I knew the lights stayed on for a long time, but apparently they didn't go out until literally the last minute of the sinking? I would have thought they would have shorted out by the time it was half under, even if the boilers themselves were still above water.
posted by tavella at 4:24 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had the same thought about the lights.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 4:33 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the full effect watch while taking a very cold bath.
posted by spitbull at 4:42 PM on April 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

The most transfixing two hours forty one minutes and nineteen seconds of fast forward ever.
posted by clavdivs at 4:43 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Has Neil deGrasse Tiresome weighed in on whether they got the stars right this time?
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:46 PM on April 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

This feels very ghoulish but I can't look away.
posted by bleep at 4:50 PM on April 17, 2016

Two hours and forty minutes? I have things to do, can someone just tell me how it ends?
posted by adept256 at 4:51 PM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Didn't fast forward it. I was born on April 14th, and decided to watch it while thinking about the sinking. The thing that fascinated me about it as a kid was the adventure and excitement of Robert Ballard's discovery of the Titanic, and the wonder of pouring over blueprints and charts and just imagining such a magnificent feet of ingenuity and engineering, only for it to be undone so quickly and so simply.

Now, as I get older, it becomes harder to think of anything other than the slow-building horror of those on the ship as the ocean liner slipped out from under them, taking them to death.

How unbelievable it would seem! Until is wasn't.

Screams at the end really did a number on me.

posted by durandal at 4:52 PM on April 17, 2016 [24 favorites]

needs da peeps
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 4:52 PM on April 17, 2016

The screams at the end are harrowing.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2016

My great-uncle was a Canadian railroad CEO (barons, I think we call them now) and died that night. His wife and daughter survived. We visit his vacation mansion in Maine almost every year (built a year or two before the tragedy), so I think about what it was like for him frequently. It's more than an Onion headline for me, not that I knew the guy personally, of course. But Uncle Charlie's picture is at the head of the stairs...
posted by kozad at 5:06 PM on April 17, 2016 [16 favorites]

I understand why they didn't try to animate passengers or anything, but the empty ship is kind of weird.

Another really good movie about a boat sinking is with Robert Redford.
posted by not that girl at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2016

It's crazy how between like 23:00 and 30:00 (and etc.), you can tell the ship is sinking by counting and watching the lights in the bow disappear below the water line.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:24 PM on April 17, 2016

Yeah, that was disturbing in a way that I wasn't expecting. I'll admit that, at first, I was mapping it to the movie and even checked to see if Jack and Rose banged before or after the iceberg hit (before), but then those inexorable captions (I skipped ahead to them) that showed the impending doom of many of the passengers and crew--that lifeboat that didn't make it out the hatch, the officers trying to summon the half-empty lifeboats back--and, of course, the screams at the end. Up until then, I was musing about some post-scarcity sci-fi utopia like The Culture building a perfect life-sized replica and trying to duplicate the crash, but not so much now.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:36 PM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I grew up with one of what was apparently a number of books rushed to press about the sinking in the first year or two thereafter. It included a reproduction of a sketch which depicted the hull breaking and a number of eyewitness accounts that both supported and contradicted the hull-breaking. Most of the accounts mentioned amazement at the sight of electric lights blazing underwater.

I apologize for a lack of citiation; a desultory scrub of did not, er, surface the volume.

I must have read that book ten times before I was ten years old. My family traveled *a lot* when I was a little kid, and as an adult I learned that both of my parents had separately undergone emergency landings due to gear failure on regular commercial flights. It's somewhat amazing to me that this then-65-year-old-book, innocently yet leeringly morbid, was left easily accessible to pre-adolescents.
posted by mwhybark at 5:38 PM on April 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

Wow, that was pretty amazing. There was something about the almost complete lack of humanity - no little people running around, very little in the way of replicated human voices - that made it almost more overwhelming. You could really focus on the tortured groans of the metal twisting, the boom of the exploding boilers, the vast surrounding silence of the freezing waters...

...and then, during the last minute, the terrified screams of the passengers, making it that much more chilling. Damn. That will stay with me for a while.
posted by Salieri at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I must have read that book ten times before I was ten years old. My family traveled *a lot* when I was a little kid, and as an adult I learned that both of my parents had separately undergone emergency landings due to gear failure on regular commercial flights. It's somewhat amazing to me that this then-65-year-old-book, innocently yet leeringly morbid, was left easily accessible to pre-adolescents.

I'm not sure you see how very, very touching this anecdote is, mwhybark.
posted by jamjam at 5:52 PM on April 17, 2016


I don't follow. If you would be so kind, please expand.
posted by mwhybark at 5:54 PM on April 17, 2016

The ending sounded like something Dante would come up with for the Inferno--the shrieks, the ship's own tortured groans. Very effective. Anyway, it got me to download their demo, so.

I frequently teach Thomas Hardy's poem about the sinking (note that the stanzas are shaped in such a way as to evoke both the ship and the iceberg), which is a darkly ironic epithalamium.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:58 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I realize the humans weren't rendered into the animation because of the limitations of the technology, but somehow after seeing from the ship's inhuman standpoint for so long at the very end, yes, the suddenly audible screams of the trapped victims were harrowing.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:10 PM on April 17, 2016

As a fan of James Cameron's 1997 "Best Picture" film Titanic (but just skip to the second VHS tape; the first half is hamfisted class rage and sex), I have to say that starting at around the one hour mark, this really does rival the second half of the film in its cinematic allure. I am transfixed. Really, so well done.
posted by likeatoaster at 6:14 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I skipped ahead through big chunks of it to get to the parts with the captions, and it was still eerie as hell and I found myself a little too upset by the screams at the end. As others have said, the lack of visible human beings on the ship is horrifying in its own way. It's kind of like watching the news footage of 9/11, just this slow, unstoppable awfulness on an unimaginable scale, huge things falling apart and every shudder and lurch you see means more lives lost.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:34 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Titanic sank? You could have added a spoiler alert?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:37 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

One of the things this points out is how entropy always catches you out, and human nature will do the rest. If your ship holds 2000 people, you need safety gear for 4000 just in the hopes that half of it will work, and anything which is "this will hold 50 people" needs to have added "but only 15 will be in it, so we need another four of them".
posted by maxwelton at 6:38 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you start the "Interstellar performed on a church organ" video from a few posts down at the same time, and then let YouTube auto-play in the background, you reach a piano cover of "My Heart Will Go On" by about 1:00:00.
posted by john hadron collider at 6:41 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also, there were captions throughout, just more frequent toward the end.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:14 PM on April 17, 2016

The lack of human animations may be due to limitations of software, but I think it makes it more effective. A bunch of little tiny animated figures running around can easily become comedic, but the austere emptiness lets you fill in with your own thoughts more effectively.
posted by tavella at 7:34 PM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think the screams are from the people in the lifeboats watching? I figure that by the time the ship is near-vertical there aren't many of the trapped who can still scream.

I, too, fast-forwarded and found it really chilling and way more touching than the blockbuster movie.
posted by TwoStride at 7:48 PM on April 17, 2016

I found this oddly mesmerizing, and oddly moving. I think the absence of people, then hearing the screams at the end, allows for your own imagination to fill in the banks, so to speak.

I found it much more affecting than Cameron's histrionic pile, which I wasn't expecting.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:59 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

At one point I was writing a play about the inquest into her sinking. Surrounded by Titanic lore, I sat one night from 11:40 to 2:20 to get a feel for the duration. It was a somber experience pondering the timeline ("Okay, Murdoch has now done this, but Lightoller is still back here; now the eighth and final rocket is going up; now the last boats are away and 1500 people begin to realize there will be no boat for them.") I did not have the wailingof the damned suddenly surround me after end of my vigil.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:20 PM on April 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

I found myself curious about why exactly Titanic didn't enough lifeboats and wikipedia came to the rescue.

The details read like a modern engineering management and operations failure. Titanic was actually designed to carry a enough lifeboats for everybody but White Star cut the number for various reasons, having fully bought into the supposed sink-resistance of the design. The reduced number actually exceeded the requirements of the time, although the requirements hadn't kept up with the dramatic increase in ship size of the era. Training was almost totally lacking. You can almost imagine the conversation between White Star (the customer) and Harland & Wolff (the builder):

White Star: You want us to cover the 1st Class promenade with 64 life boats, totally obscuring the view? I thought you said this ship couldn't sink.

Harland and Wolff: It's designed to handle any conceivable situation and stay afloat long enough for passengers to be evacuated to another ship, yes.

White Star: Are you saying that you don't trust your own design?

H & W: No, not at all.

White Star: Will 16 boats meet the legal requirements?

H & W: Yes, barely.

White Star: If we needed more than 16 then that would be the requirement, wouldn't it? We'll go with 16.

H & W: Fine.

I work on a large engineering project where management has effectively declared that only certain types of failures will happen, and that we don't need all the safety capability we used to have, so this is all very familiar.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:35 PM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Not to be a jackass, but can we get a warning that the clip's TRT is 2:45:00?

I love my hubris porn as much as the next person, but I have to go to work in the morning. Now I'm on the couch eating late night ribs.

My fault for loving the disaster stuff so much, but the late night rib decision was several orders of magnitude better than Edward Smith's.
posted by Sphinx at 9:16 PM on April 17, 2016

Not gonna lie, was really hoping that would play out to be a 2 hour + lettuce joke.
posted by iamabot at 9:23 PM on April 17, 2016

I knew the lights stayed on for a long time, but apparently they didn't go out until literally the last minute of the sinking?

They built things to goddamn last back then, really big unsinkable boats excepted.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:47 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by james33 at 3:54 AM on April 18, 2016

Regarding the lights:

The state of the art for marine wiring of the day would have probably involved a DC system powered by a dynamo and very large battery pile.

However, the key point would be the (presumed) gutta-percha insulation. Gutta-percha was an amazing marine grade electrical insulator since it would resist and harden in the presence of salt water, which is why it was used for transatlantic telegraph cables.

And they would have used gutta-percha everywhere on the Titanic. A brand new DC marine-grade electrical system insulated with gutta-percha would pretty much work under water.

When the Titatnic's electrical system failed it was probably due to the battery room or the batteries themselves finally getting flooded and succumbing to sheer water pressure. The failure would have been primarily a mechanical one, IE the battery boxes themselves imploding or the electrolyte becoming diluted and inundated.
posted by loquacious at 4:55 AM on April 18, 2016 [19 favorites]

That was really compelling; didn't have time to watch it in one sitting but would like to. I noted the comment above about the stars and wonder how hard it would be to put the correct sky in the animation. I'm not an astronomer, but I am able to find Polaris and so seeing the stars move as the perspective changed would add a little extra realism. Really a minor quibble, though, given the research and work that obviously went into this. It should be played at one of the museums that has a Titanic exhibit. I think it would be an excellent addition to the maritime museum in Halifax, for example. Also, as I was watching it I thought it would be cool to read A Night to Remember as the events unfolded.

As for the people screaming towards the end, I recall seeing a PBS documentary (I think) that mentioned many of the survivors had a difficult time going to sporting events and other activities with crowds and cheering because the noise of the crowd reminded them of the screams of the doomed passengers.
posted by TedW at 6:22 AM on April 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

LastOfHisKind...There's also the cultural/institutional attitudes toward the lower classes, which made it fairly easy to devalue their need for survival.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:30 AM on April 18, 2016

There really is no Magnificent Obsessiontm like Titanic obsession. The term for people obsessed with the technical details of the Olympic-class liners is "rivet heads," and their thirst for minutia is quite breathtaking.

This video appears to be a project of the Titanic: Honor & Glory crew, which is virtually rebuilding the Titanic in painstaking detail.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not to be all, "actually," but in fact Titanic had about twice as many lifeboats as needed by law. Shipbuilding had advanced hugely in the late Victorian/ Edwardian era and the requirements were yea many for any ship of greater than 10,000 tons displacement, which had been pretty much as big as it gets when the relevant regulations were written ~30 years earlier (Titanic and her sisters were about 45,000 tons). The principal purpose of lifeboats was seen to be a way to ferry passengers to another ship in case the stricken ship lost propulsive power.

Captain E.J. Smith, who later commanded Titanic, gave an interview with a shipbuilding magazine around 1910 where he stated with industrial-grade irony, "I cannot conceive of any modern vessel foundering. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:09 AM on April 18, 2016

IIRC, the minimum required for Titanic was 16, but she actually had 20 (16 rigid hull and the four collapsibles ever-so-usefully stored atop the officers' quarters). The davits were designed to handle more, but they didn't want to lose the deck space.

That said, more boats alone wouldn't have made a difference; they were barely able to launch the boats they had before the ship sank.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2016

Regarding the screams at the end:
Up to that time no one in our boat, and I imagine no one in any of the other boats, had really thought that the Titanic was going to sink. For a moment a silence seemed to hang over everything, and then from the water about where the Titanic had been arose a bedlam of shrieks and cries. There were women and men clinging to the bits of wreckage in the icy water... It was at least an hour before the last shrieks died out. I remember next the very last cry was that of a man who had been calling, loudly: 'My God! My God!' He cried monotonously, in a dull, hopeless way. For an entire hour there had been an awful chorus of shrieks gradually dying into a hopeless moan until this last cry that I spoke of. Then all was silent. When the awful silence came we waited gloomily in the boats throughout the rest of the night.
posted by milk white peacock at 5:59 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The parts that really got to me were the interiors. Despite the somewhat clumsy water animations (in the podcast the creators say this is the old model and rendering, and that the actual one in the game will be awesome) I found it viscerally disturbing, making my heart pound. Like at 1:16:05, the porthole whose view is half water, half stars. The creepiness of the 1st person POV walking around, opening doors and looking around at 1:19:55. The hall filling up around you at 1:24:19! And the view of the chairs on D Deck at 1:49:22, inundated and slowly floating... like bodies.
posted by tomboko at 7:34 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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