Tragedy has struck the production of “Galapagos: The Enchanted Voyage,” an Imax 3-D film produced by Mandalay Media Arts for the Smithsonian.
Noel Archambault, the film’s camera operator/stereographer, was killed in an ultralight aircraft crash along with the pilot, William Raisner Jr., while filming in the Galapagos Islands.
The two men became missing Friday while filming aerial shots over one of the islands’ volcanoes.
After a six-day search in the remote archipelago that involved local townspeople, the film crew, the scientific expedition crew, chartered aircraft and the Ecuadorian air force, their bodies were recovered Wednesday on the island of Isla Isabella, the largest and least inhabited of the Galapagos.
The men were found at an elevation of 3,000 feet on Cerro Azul, one of the two most active volcanoes in the archipelago.
Archambault, an expert and pioneer in the large-format 3-D process, has worked on every Imax 3-D film made to date. The Canadian most recently served as stereographer/camera operator on the upcoming Imax 3-D film “T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous,” and as additional photographer/stereographer on Sony’s new Imax 3-D release “Mark Twain’s America.”
His d.p. and camera operator credits additionally include “The Imax Nutcracker,” “Into the Deep” and “Across the Sea of Time.”
Raisner, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was a retired Air Force pilot and a veteran ultralight pilot. This was his third trip to the Galapagos for filming projects. His last trip was for a film produced by Dave Clark (also a producer on “Galapagos”) for the Discovery Channel. Raisner was married with two children.
Mandalay is “assessing the impact (of the accident) on production,” according to Barry Clark, co-chairman of Mandalay Media Arts and exec producer on “Galapagos.” Clark said they are trying to determine “how quickly or if (at all) to go forward (with production).”