Five Dives to film oceans' depths
A BBC film will explore the world's deepest ocean trench - one of the last great unexplored places, dropping seven miles below the surface of the Pacific - with help from Sir Richard Branson.
Cameras will plunge into the abyss as they join Sir Richard's Five Dives expedition probing the deepest points of five oceans.
High resolution equipment will capture 3D, Imax-quality images for a forthcoming cinema film Oceanic.
The Virgin Oceanic journey is the latest challenge to be undertaken by the billionaire adventurer. He and fellow explorer Chris Welch plan to make the dives over the next two years, alternating roles in a single-seater submarine.
The expedition will take them to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which is almost 36,000 below sea level. They will also visit Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic, Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean and Diamantina in the Indian Ocean.
Sir Richard will be executive producer of the movie which will be made by BBC Earth and will see cameras film at unprecedented depths.
The team will travel 28,000 miles across the seas.
Sir Richard said of BBC Earth: "Key to our expedition is taking our discoveries and story to the world and they are the world-leaders in natural history film."
Cameras will be carried on the main submarine, along with scientific equipment and sonar recording equipment. A second vessel will also be carried by the mothership which will also capture footage.
Neil Nightingale, creative director of BBC Earth, said: "Ninety four per cent 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."