Seventeen filmmakers, including producers Deborah Dickson and Jeff Dupre as well as field producers Matthew Akers , Michelle Smawley and Pamela Yates, shot 1,600 hours of footage to create the series. The series and its companion film were the first documentaries to ever be produced on a . Naval warship on active duty over an entire mission. This was accomplished by David Kennedy (Captain, US Navy, Retired) and Block who spent two years obtaining permission to embed on the Nimitz.  In 2008, the series was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography Reality Programming by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in recognition of the work cinematographers Axel Baumann, Ulli Bonnekamp, Mark Brice, Robert Hanna, and Wolfgang Held did on the episode Rights of Passage .