How James Cameron Changed the Sky in Titanic

Sometimes you hear little background tidbits of how and why things happen in film, and I just love to hear those stories. I scour the Triva sections on IMDB for my favourite films.

Worst Previews shared a video clip of a conference held that included reknown Astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson where the conversation digresses into the topic of “Wrong Science in Movies” and despite a thousand movies with wrong science in them, one that struck a nerve with him was the Sky in James Cameron’s Titanic.

See now that kind of story fascinates me. I wouldn’t have noticed the sky was “wrong” but perhaps an astrophysicist would. There were stars, a moon and it was dark. It was a sky. Made no difference to the rest of us and like he quotes “The movie made 1.3billion dollars. Imagine how much more it would make if the sky was accurate”

But Dr Tyson is right. The man sponsored an expedition to the ocean floor to get all the details about the Titanic right, so why not make sure the position of the stars and moon were right in the sky shot on the day and time of the sinking.

An inconsequential moment in the post production of the film was then altered for the 10th Anniversary release just to add one more tiny shred of credibility to the accuracy of the tale (despite the artistic liberties he took with the rest of the story and people involved)

15 thoughts on “How James Cameron Changed the Sky in Titanic

  1. As far as noticeable glitches go, I can really notice when they use the same recorded sound 2x in a row.

    A real person never makes a sigh or similar sound exactly the same twice, but in movies sometimes they play exactly the same sound 2x in a row. I bet it is done in post-production to “improve” the effect of crying or similar, but it is a very noticeable and cheap trick. Used all too often.


  2. The only thing that bugs me about that flick was that they use flashlights near the end when flashlights weren’t around at the time, but they had to light the scene somehow, so I gave Cameron a pass.

    We need to be more worried about those blue cat-people in Avatar…

      1. I mean, they didn’t have flashlights on the Titanic’s lifeboats. I remember reading Cameron saying it in the making of Titanic book. He said that they didn’t have flashlights out there in the lifeboats, but they had to find a way to light the scene, so they cheated and used flashlights.

    1. I think there’s like a backlash now, I’ve met a lot of people who never saw it and are now carrying the “I am proud to have no interest in ever seeing it!” torch

  3. What really bugged me about the movie was that when I was on the Titanic, the bars lining the ship were the passengers can overlook the ocean, were bronze! In the movie, they weren’t bronze! That really pissed me off…

    (sarcasm waves being emmitted from this post)

  4. Luckily he focused more on getting the Titanic right, than the sky. I’d rather see a movie from whom’s primary centerpiece is the Titanic to be as accurate as possible, then worrying about an accurate sky that 99% of the audience will not notice as being wrong. Now if the movie was centered around the sky being a major focal point, I might see this as a concern.

    Sure, 99% of people might not know whether something was accurately depicted of the Titanic; however, with all the featurettes and buzz about the meticulous detail put into recreating the Titanic, it was more easily acceptable from a larger audience that it was accurate for the most part.

    May the movies that focus on the sky and/or space be accurate as can be in regard to such subjects, and those that focus is elsewhere be just as accurate on whatever that focus may be. If time allows, and the need is there, then worry about the accuracy that only 1% or less of the audience will notice so all are appeased.

    I look at it this way. I’m taking an art class in high school. We are told to draw a balloon with a string hanging from it. Some people draw a solid wavy line to represent the line. The teacher says, “Now look at this.” She draws a similar wavy line that has breaks in it. When we look at this line, our mind does the work and connects the line together. Much like in reality, if you see a balloon with a string hanging from it, we may not be able to see the whole sting; however, our mind fills in the gaps. Take this into the movie industry, something like the sky in this case does not need to be accurate as our mind will fill in the gaps and provide us the illusion it is real despite the inaccuracies.

    Good read, though. Shows an example of how different minds see things that others might, and will most likely, miss.

  5. Whats funny to me, is I work in effects, and i can totally see someone calling him up and saying “hey i heard you have a sky we can use?” Why create more work for yourself, when someone else has done it already.

    Of course he wouldn’t have a sky they could use persay… but as an artist sometimes you only get half the story, so you look like an idiot when calling people up.

  6. I’m the same way, I love reading all the background stories and trivia for any movie or tv show. I also got a rainman quality where I remember all of them and every movie and every episode of every tv show I’ve seen.

    The sky thing, one of those tidbits that only someone who really knows their thing would know. I bet 99.9% of people wouldn’t have ever considered even looking at the sky let alone wondering if the stars were out of place. But kudos for going back and altering it and making it right. Shows what kind of perfectionist Cameron is.

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