As many of you know, back in 1999 Coast Guard Channel Co-Founder Tam O’Connor Fraser fulfilled a childhood dream when we sailed from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, California on America’s Tall Ship, the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. We weren’t simply guests of the Coast Guard. We were on board with an HD camera and crew to document the journey and to lead the tall ship parade as it sailed through the Golden Gate and into San Francisco Bay leading the way. It would be Commandant, Admiral Papp’s last tour as Captain of Eagle. Our voyage, in fact, ended with Papp’s Change of Command ceremony.
It took another nearly eight years and our support of the motion picture The Guardian, which premiered in September of 2006, for us to finally finish On the Wings of Eagle. Why so long? Because the initial interest in the documentary by the cable networks had waned so there was no budget for post-production.
So what did The Guardian have to do with our Eagle project? In return for our support of the project, including providing most of the video that brought Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner as well as Disney on-board, the producers of the motion picture offered to link from the film’s web page to an on-line store where our DVDs (at that time, our Discovery Channel specials) could be sold. Thus the Coast Guard Channel (originally called Coast Guard Rescues…but that’s another story) was born and a way to fund post-production of Eagle materialized.
While we had shot on HD, we opted to release only a standard definition version at first. Why? Because n 2006, when we started post-production, the high definition format wars were still in full swing. Who would win? Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? The battle and the lack of high definition programming kept many consumers on the sidelines. And with our limited funds, jumping into that battle would have been costly. Today though, we have a winner and high definition TVs fly out of Costco every weekend, like the bats out of Carlsbad Caverns at sunset.
So here we go again…into post-production on the Blu-Ray version of On the Wings of Eagle. And on August 5th, the Blu-Ray version will start shipping. Until then, the Coast Guard Channel is offering a pre-order sale price of $28.95. On the Wings of Eagle has only been seen in high definition at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Before we know it, it will be enjoyed by Eagle enthusiasts around the world in the comfort of their own living rooms. And it all began…with a childhood dream.