In a couple of weeks, the movie The Good Dinosaur will be in theaters – on November 25! I was able to go to the Good Dinosaur press junket last month (read more about this trip here), and while we were there, we were able to spend some time in Pixar Studios meeting with the amazing crew behind the scenes of the movie. We met with Sets Supervisor – David Munier, Effects Supervisor – Jon Reisch and Director of Photography and Lighting – Sharon Calahan. These three amazing and talented people spent time showing us really cool things about The Good Dinosaur.
“The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.
First my group met with Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch. He talked about how the Effects team created different environments using effects to support the storytelling. This was a big deal, because this is one of the most “nature” like films Pixar has made and there special effects were dealing with the weather and elements like the rivers, mountains, etc. Jon told us that FX are believable interaction between the characters and their world. He gave us a lot of information about how they accomplish this, but I am going to share my favorite top 10 facts he shared with us:
- They used a physical simulation software that understands they physics of how things move and behave – this allowed them to solve equations of motion for every from of an effect
- There are 24 frames each second
- They have 31 FX artists on The Good Dinosaur film – almost double of any other Pixar film
- There were over 900 shots in The Good Dinosaur Film – almost twice as many as a normal Pixar film
- Arlo over just over 18 feet tall, and his journey through the world needs to feel real so it was different to do FX on a dinosaur
- The river is used to parallel the emotional relationship between Arlo and Spot
- There are 200 shots of rivers in multiple locations
- They have upwards of 30,000 tasks at the peak of production
- They used 300 Terabytes (TB) of data just for the FX of The Good Dinosaur (just in case you were wondering 1,000 GB is equal to 1 TB – so 300,000 GB of data) WOW! That is 10 times as much for all of Monsters University. The scene swept away was about 17 TB of data on its own. The entire movie used about 1,000 TB of data (or about 1 million GB of data). I can’t even comprehend that!
- They did all of the FX for The Good Dinosaur movie in about 1 1/2 years.
In another presentation we were able to learn about creating the expansive world in the film with Sets Supervisor David Munier, and hear how the team used actual USGS data of the northwest United States to create the sets. It was really neat to see how they took the USGS data and incorporated it into the film creation. Since the movie is based in nature they needed to be able to make it look as real as possible and the data helped them accomplish that. I still can’t believe how lifelike the graphics in the movie look.
Here are 5 fun facts that I learned from David:
- They used the Ansel Adams picture from 1942 of The Tetons and The Snake River as inspiration for the movie.
- They used about 13,600 square miles of USGS data (4 tiles) when doing the movie
- The Salmon River was inspiration for the Canyon
- Zion National Park was inspiration for the terrain
- Overall they used about 64,000 miles of USGS data
It was really cool watching him show us how they design the layout, then add trees or other elements. It was really remarkable and it really shows through in the movie because the graphics are truly amazing!
Another amazing lady we were able to meet on our trip was the Director of Photography and Lighting – Sharon Calahan. She walked us through Creating the visual design of The Good Dinosaur and how it went from Color scripts to final picture progression. All of the photos she shared with us were really cool, you can see some of them above. She talked a lot about the film, and gave us some really fun stories and information about it. Here are my 3 things I will share:
- They wanted The Good Dinosaur to be authentic to a real location, and have truth and sincerity to the film. I was able to watch about 30-40 minutes of it and it is so good – it is a film that everyone will be able to relate to and will learn and grow from. Because of the familiarity of the locations that they used it brings it home even more and really puts you with the characters of the film.
- She talked about the challenges of using stylized characters in a real looking environment – and I really feel like they did an amazing job of integrating the two together perfectly.
- She also talked about Peter Sohn (the director) and his adventures into the wilderness, as well as his excitement. He always asked good questions, had good excitement and enthusiasm.
Her presentation was great and I really enjoyed learning more about the photography – which they did a lot of – and the lighting – because the lighting is so important to the way the character looks and feels to us.
You can learn more about The Good Dinosaur on:
Like THE GOOD DINOSAUR on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarTheGoodDinosaur
Follow THE GOOD DINOSAUR on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thegooddinosaur
Follow THE GOOD DINOSAUR on Instagram: https://instagram.com/thegooddinosaur/
Follow THE GOOD DINOSAUR on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/the-good-dinosaur/
Visit Disney/Pixar on Tumblr: http://disneypixar.tumblr.com
Follow Disney/Pixar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPixar
Visit the official THE GOOD DINOSAUR website here: http://movies.disney.com/the-good-dinosaur
Here is the trailer so you can watch it with your kids:
THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theaters everywhere on November 25th!
This trip is sponsored by Disney, Pixar & Disney Junior. This does not affect my opinions and they are 100% my own.