Watch: How the CG Effects of JURASSIC PARK Changed Movies Forever

by     Posted 194 days ago

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Jurassic Park is undoubtedly one of the most influential films ever made, and not just for it’s impeccable direction and execution.  Along with T2: Judgment Day, Steven Spielberg’s “dinosaur adventure” ushered in the era of CG effects, making films like Life of Pi and Avatar possible.  As part of a new digital series from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the 9-minue program “Moments That Changed The Movies: Jurassic Park” has been released online.  It’s a fascinating video that delves into how the decision to craft Spielberg’s dinosaurs digitally instead of with stop-motion animation came about, complete with retrospective interviews with the very people involved with the film early on—including producer Kathleen Kennedy.

With the sequel Jurassic World on the horizon, this is certainly a fun look back at the groundbreaking first film, especially given the overwhelming amount of CG used in today’s movie landscape.  Hit the jump to watch the video.

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  • K

    Interesting how there isn’t a single mention of the fact that George Lucas took over post production while Steven was filming Schindlers List in Poland. Another example of how under appreciated Lucas is.

    Source: The Making of Schindler’s List: Behind the Scenes of an Epic Film by Franciszek Palowski et al

    • NorCalJ

      He only oversaw the scoring process, Spielberg still approved shots and the edit, George was basically a glorified baby sitter.

  • K

    Interesting how there isn’t a single mention of the fact that George Lucas took over post production while Steven was filming Schindlers List in Poland. Another example of how under appreciated Lucas is.

    Source: The Making of Schindler’s List: Behind the Scenes of an Epic Film by Franciszek Palowski et al

  • NorCalJ

    Am I the only one who still thinks that some of the shots in Jurassic Park are far more photo-realistic than most shots today.

    • Hey

      No you’re not, I was just thinking the same thing…it’s as if now in most movies they’ve become lazier and so much “cgi-dependant” that there’s no more creativity or passion like what these guys had when they did it

    • gph-artist

      They were desperate to prove it could work; they had Phil Tippet’s brilliant work in front of them and worked to exceed it and they had real environments to mesh with.
      They used CGI for what it is – a tool, not a crutch.

    • pk

      it also helps that it was shot on film with real anamatronic models to give it a realistic vibe. hopefully colin treverrow can capture the magic of the first film

      • rad

        and the film was shot near POV in a lot of instances – that helps realism so much- its hard to buy a camera that is floating in space doing 360′s from an angle that no one can relate to-

        that is one of the huge mistakes that is made with films today- I really hope Treverrow plans to make JW feel real. JP 1 and 2 felt real – 3 didn’t, but that was really the least of 3′s problems-

      • rad

        and the film was shot near POV in a lot of instances – that helps realism so much- its hard to buy a camera that is floating in space doing 360′s from an angle that no one can relate to-

        that is one of the huge mistakes that is made with films today- I really hope Treverrow plans to make JW feel real. JP 1 and 2 felt real – 3 didn’t, but that was really the least of 3′s problems-

      • Pk

        Well treverrow is shooting it on film using 65 mm camera. It would be cool if he shot most of the action on an imax camera like Nolan

    • Oolie zool

      Some of them, definitely, but I think a lot of that is the craftsmanship that went into it. It wasn’t just building up a model, slapping a skin on it and throwing it in the scene. It shows that the technology, the lighting, animation, skinning, etc is only part of what makes good CGI. It still needs the same magic that other special effects need to really be great.
      The reveal of the brachiosaurs still gets me. I was 19 when I saw it in theaters and I teared up. My entire pre-teen life had been consumed by dinosaurs and never imagined I’d see something like that, something that felt real.

    • Migz13

      Amen to that. I think the folks back then at ‘Industrial Light and Magic’ actually achieved the ‘sweet spot’ of creating CGI for movies: not too detailed, not too simplistic, just the right amount for it to look real for audiences. Now, almost everything looks like a frikkin VIDEO GAME!:P

  • Caren Joy Wernet

    Of course, there’s also the fact that this was done in an American design studio, using American ingenuity, not in a Chinese “mill,” as most CGI is done now. Very little creativity, but lots of computers being run very cheaply, very quickly. That’s very sad…

    • Snake

      If you’re looking to poke fun at the runaway VFX industry, you might want to know what you’re talking about first. Most of the work is done in Canada, England, India and Australia where labor is cheap or there are good tax incentives – not China.

      Nice try though!

  • DEADP00L

    Stan Winston’s stop motion and animatronic is what made this movie the stand alone classic that it is. Ad what led to it aging as well as it has. While I do agree the SFX did contribute, that entire T-rex scene attacking the tour vehicles – the foot fall, the head, the head panning to Grant and the girl, the breath , the eyes reacting to the flash light, turning the car and most importantly the Triceratops – all Stan Winston.

    Jurrassic World won’t age well nor do well if they deviate from this formula of old school SFX, stop motion and animatronics JP3 is proof enough of that.

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