The Good Dinosaur will be in theaters in less than three weeks and I can’t even tell you how exciting this is! Back in late September, after our exclusive tour of Pixar animation studios, we got to screen the first 30 minutes of the movie and all I can say is that the movie is amazing, the colors, the graphics, the story and the character are phenomenal! After the screening, we had the opportunity to sit down and listen to some of the research stories from director Peter Sohn, producer Denise Ream, supervising technical director Sanjay Bakshi and director of photography – Lighting Sharon Calahan. After listening to Peter’s stories, it was clear that a lot of research went into the pre-production process of The Good Dinosaur. However, after speaking to the movie’s production designer Harley Jessup, and animators, Kevin O’Hara and Rob Thompson, a clearer picture of how much animation went into creating this larger than life digital world that you will see on the big screen. Today, I want to share with you just another piece of how Arlo, Spot and this majestic what-if scenario world came to be.
Creating The Good Dinosaur World:
A Behind-The-Scenes Look from The Good Dinosaur’s Director of Photography, Sets Supervisor & Effects Supervisor
One thing you should know is that in The Good Dinosaur nature’s landscapes and vastness are, in lack of a better description, another character in this movie. The northwest regions of Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming areas to be exact, were actually the inspiration for the overall look of The Good Dinosaur. Sharon Calahan is the Director of Photography – Lighting for this production, having worked at Pixar for more than 20 years, her first movie with Pixar, was Toy Story. She was a huge force behind this movie, having lived in the Northwest and Canada areas most of her life, she brought some familiarity into the pre-production process of the movie. Plus, Calahan is a landscape painter, which came in really handy went trying to pin point the right look, feel and lighting for the film.
As I said before, in The Good Dinosaur, nature is front and center, unlike in other productions. However, to bring out nature in a animated film, you have to digitize all the different areas, such as, fields, mountains, open spaces, rivers, all the different seasons and terrains. Set supervisor David Munier, explained how in The Good Dinosaur, they used U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data to create the initial framework were the dinosaurs in the movie will interact. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data was used to the get the correct height measurements to digitize distances and cut some of the pre-production time. If you are wondering why so much time invested in such small details? Well, the answer is because director Peter Sohn, wanted the look and feel of wide opened spaces ALL the time, not once or twice like in other films. Just as if you looked at the horizon and saw miles and miles on end, he wanted at least 50 miles in each direction to be exact.
After getting the backdrop and settings for the movie, it is time to make the characters and details come to life via the special effects team. Jon Reisch and his team were responsible for creating an believable interaction between environment and the characters. The effects team is also responsible for heighten the film’s mood, atmosphere, and dramatic effects. Oh, they are also responsible for all weather effects, such as, rain, wind, fire, smoke, dust, mist, fog and the look and feel of WATER. If that wasn’t enough, all the small details that a film needs to make it believable, are also part of the effect team. In other words, they are responsible for breathing life into the film. One scene in particular that you should look out for in the movie is, after Arlo emerges from the river. The effects team is the one that adds the small rocks in the water and water edge. They are also responsible for the Arlo’s overall look and the effect that the river and water have on his skin and mood.
As you can see there are many puzzle pieces that go into creating the overall look, the terrain and the animated effects of a film. We have one more piece of this puzzle called The Good Dinosaur coming up next week, which is my favorite, so stay tuned for more!
The Good Dinosaur opens in theaters on November 25, 2015. More The Good Dinosaur adventures coming up soon, however, in the mean time check out the following The Good Dinosaur clips.
The Good Dinosaur Official US Trailer 2
The Good Dinosaur – Official US Trailer
Disclosure: I was provided an all expense paid trip to San Francisco to attend the #GoodDinoEvent, #MilesEvent, #Waltagram, and #InsideOutBloggers events. No additional compensation was received. I was provided with the information in this post by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.