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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:43 am

There's an Amiga 4000 on Ebay up for auction this week that was used extensively in the making of James Cameron's Titanic. The machine is pretty rough looking from an aesthetics point of view, and the motherboard is damaged to where it won't power up. But the data on its hard drives has been saved and backed up, including extensive Titanic footage.
It's what's on the inside that counts.

How Perifractic from Retro Recipes got his hands on it I'm not sure. He does live in LA and work in the industry. Regardless I'd love to read that story some day (maybe he'll make a video about it). UPDATE: Turns out he did make a video about it.

There's an actual photo taken from the set of Titanic that shows the computer, too. That's pretty wild to ponder when you consider the movie was released in 1997.

According to the listing, the machine was used in the following manner:

  • Record from the "video tap" for instant playback of test shots on set. A number of these never-before-seen test shots are still on its 1.02GB hard disk.
  • Interface with the "motion control" camera on set using Amiga ARexx scripts, so as to coordinate repeat camera movements for adding multiple layers of the same moving shot, such as people, then fog, then effects, etc. More info on this process is in the video linked above, but essentially the Amiga would tell the camera when to start moving, the camera would tell the Amiga when to record, then the Amiga would tell the camera when it was done and to continue moving/tracking for that shot. This machine was integral to the making of Titanic, Apollo 13, etc.
  • Using this machine, the Directors (James Cameron/Ron Howard) were able to immediately watch shots back, which otherwise would only be possible after waiting to develop the film reel from inside the camera. This technological leap was imperative on the set of these special effects laden movies.

Pretty cool, huh?

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Posted Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:10 pm

WOW! That's quite a track record.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:57 pm

This thing is going to go into the stratosphere! Already at nearly $2000. Too rich for me.

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Posted Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:16 pm

Amazing.. Wow I am glad it sold as I may have done something drastic. I hope it goes to home where it will be saved...

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Toronto, Canada

Posted Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:28 pm

damn that's so awesome to see how important that A4000 was back in 97 for those hit movies <3 even better to know the A4000 wasn't accidentally thrown out as old PC parts are routinely thrown away today in dumpsters...hope to see this beauty freshly cleaned up on this site of one of the other Amiga forums one day ;)

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