Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

BBC Earth partners with Virgin Oceanic expedition to film the world's oceans

BBC Earth and Virgin announced today that Virgin Oceanic's Five Dives expedition will be joined by world-leading BBC film-makers to create new content for film and television. Camera crews will have unprecedented access to Earth’s greatest unexplored territory bringing new discoveries to audiences worldwide.

Sir Richard Branson, Executive Producer on BBC Earth's Oceanic theatrical film, commented, "BBC Earth is the ideal media partner for Virgin Oceanic's Five Dives project. Key to our expedition is taking our discoveries and story to the world and they are the world-leaders in natural history film."

"This project will unlock the world’s greatest wilderness allowing us to film underwater in a way that has previously been impossible," said Neil Nightingale, Creative Director for BBC Earth. "94% of all known life is aquatic and this expedition will uncover never seen behaviour and footage. Quite simply we don’t yet know exactly what we will find, but it’s potentially the most exciting project a wildlife filmmaker could work on."

The Five Dives project challenges the world’s deepest trenches covering five oceans, 28,000+ miles at sea and diving depths of 36,000+ feet. The Virgin Oceanic submarine will be a working research vessel carrying mounted and changeable pods on the wings with capability for autonomous video recording, high-definition sonar recording, science data collection and research science experiments created by leading oceanographers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A second submersible will be carried on board the mothership and be a camera platform at the start and finish of each of the dives as well as taking part in shallow dives en-route across the world. Footage will be captured with new ultra-high resolution cameras to generate 3D IMAX+ quality images.

The Five Dives:

  • Mariana Trench Pacific Ocean 10,945m (35,911ft)
  • Puerto Rico Trench Atlantic Ocean 8,605m (28,232 ft)
  • Molloy Deep Arctic Ocean 5,608m (18,399 ft)
  • South Sandwich Trench Southern Ocean 7,235m (23,737 ft)
  • Diamantina Indian Ocean 8,047m (26,401 ft)

BBC Earth's ambition is to capture the ultimate picture of these oceans, combining footage and new discoveries from the dives with new filmed footage across these territories.

Previous underwater filming has been confined to the top skin of the sea. For this project BBC Earth's cameras will be able to follow the action as it unfolds and film at any depth, a freedom that is second to none and unique to this project. "The theatric potential of this project is incredible, the story of human endeavour and exploration, the wonder of new discovery. This is set to be our greatest film project yet," said Amanda Hill, Managing Director BBC Earth & Walking with Dinosaurs.

BBC Earth
BBC Earth is the global brand for all the BBC's natural history content spanning the last 50 years. The BBC is the largest producer of natural history programming in the world and the BBC Earth brand highlights the vast scale of incredible content which is produced in this genre. Visible across all platforms; TV, DVD, licensing and digital, BBC Earth encourages engagement with current as well as classic programs such as Planet Earth and The Blue Planet. BBC Earth branding is only visible in the UK on commercial products, internationally the BBC Earth brand will appear across all platforms, including TV programmes. BBC Earth is from BBC Worldwide the main commercial arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Virgin Oceanic
Virgin Oceanic was formed by the Virgin Group to act as a sponsor of and partner on the Five Dives Expedition. Chris Welsh, though his company Deep Sub LLC, owns and will operate the submarine. The expedition will require various regulatory approvals, including export licenses, which Deep Sub LLC will obtain

Emma Finlay

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