Freelance journalist Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY PM: It’s been a busy week for James Cameron, who after emerging from the Mariana Trench 7 miles below the surface Sunday dashed off to London for the premiere last night of Titanic 3D at Royal Albert Hall. He also took the time out to confirm that he used some of his Deepsea Challenger submarines four deep-ocean HD cameras to shoot footage for a new 3D theatrical release. That’s in addition to the National Geographic special on the dive that the network announced Monday during its upfront presentation. He told the Associated Press that the film could be ready later this year or early in 2013. The cameras, he said were “a tenth of the size and weight of the 3D camera that I used to go down to Titanic depth” for his 2003 documentary Ghosts Of The Abyss, which explored the ship’s underground remains. ”We spent a fair bit of the development budget of the sub figuring out how we would be lighting it and how we would do 3D photography at full ocean depth,” he said. “We did tackle a lot of challenges, but always, the thinking was this expedition is going to get paid for by a film.”

UPDATE, 7:30 PM SUNDAY: James Cameron completed his journey back to the surface in about 70 minutes, National Geographic reported. Cameron became the first human to descend solo to the Mariana Trench. His specially designed vertical-cylinder submarine shot through the surface of the Western Pacific minutes ago.

PREVIOUSLY, 6:40PM SUNDAY: James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge “sub started return to the surface after a successful dive” according to a tweet by Paul Allen. “Welcome back to sea level soon!” As suggested previously, the filmmaker’s re-ascent may take about 75 minutes.

PREVIOUSLY, 3:27 PM: James Cameron has gone deep — deep into the Pacific Ocean. The Avatar and Titanic director tweeted around 3:10PM PST that he “just arrived at the ocean’s deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can’t wait to share what I’m seeing w/ you.” At the same time @DeepChallenge, the Twitter page for Cameron’s National Geographic sponsored sub, tweeted “@JimCameron is the first person in history to solo dive to the deepest place on Earth, a record 35,756ft/10,898m” — not quite 7 miles down.

Cameron, who is National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence, returned to Twitter after almost a year hiatus on March 25, 2012. “I only tweet when I have something worth saying. Today is the culmination of a 7 yr project. It’s finally dive day. Follow us,” he wrote. Cameron began the dive in early Sunday morning just southwest of Guam in a specially constructed 12-ton submarine to go down to the bottom of the massive Mariana Trench. Collecting samples, the Oscar winning director is scheduled to spend about 6 hours down the bottom of the trench. It’ll take the Deepsea Challenger submarine, which is outfitted with four deep-ocean HD cameras, about 75 minutes to return Cameron to the surface.

Related: James Cameron Heads To Oceans’ Deepest Point

(Photo by National Geographic)

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