Guys…….We are just a few weeks away from the opening day of The Good Dinosaur! Aren’t you excited! After visiting the Pixar studios (which you can check out our exclusive Pixar animation studio tour here), and meeting with all the fabulous people behind this heart warming movie~ I feel soo connected with the film and proud to say I was part of it (even if I didn’t do anything). Be sure to catch up on our coverage of The Good Dinosaur soo far:
How the Dinos got their swagger– Inside the animation of the dinos
Interview with Director Peter Sohn- Where nature is one of the main characters!
One MAJOR part of this film is nature and the landscapes. That big sky feel of the Northwest is perfectly captured in this film, and that came out of tons of research! We met with Sets Supervisor David Munier for a great presentation called“The View from Above”, and talked about how they got that perfect landscape!
The Good Dinosaur is presented in a way that is out of the norm for Disney Pixar. Most films are shot with the character being the focus, lens zoomed in on the character fading out the background. Not here. The Good Dinosaur film features wide landscapes…miles on miles of landscapes all of which had to be perfect throughout the entire film. Here nature is a main character and shines throughout the film.
Peter Sohn, the director, and his team went to the Northwest states to study the land and experience it……But another great thing that the team did was study satellite images of the land from the US National Geological division! From there they were able to study landforms, height data, and layers of depth. They used the USGS to layer in trees and rocks to create a real environment for the dinos.
One place they used throughout the film(easily recognizable) as a backdrop is Clawtooth mountain, inspired by the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Look at the
differences from real world to dino world.
The team also used Google Earth to visualize the environment in 3D form. After finalizing the scene, the creators painted in clouds and then put animation at work to create wind and mood. How much wind is based on mood- just like how the raging waters match Arlo’s mood throughout the movie!
FUN FACT: There are 24 frames per second- in a 90 minute film- and EACH frame took 1-2 days!!
Next up, we met with Sharon Calahan~ Director of Photography and Lighting to discuss “Creating the visual design of The Good Dinosaur“. I seriously could have sat and listened to her for HOURS! This woman is truly passionate about her job. She said “I have to draw quickly whats in my head even if you can’t make it out because I have sooo many ideas…I just have to get them out! “. Creativity just spewed out of her! She was part of the many research trips (Read about them here!) the team initially went on over a 2 year span to study the land and environment. The teams visited Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming to immerse in the Northwest feel and bring back that “Big Sky” feel. Everyone we met said the same thing over and over……they wanted us to be drawn into the scene, wanted it to be real, and authentic to a real location!
Sharon spoke of other inspirations for the film including topography maps to extend the world with volumetric clouds, and even other films! She used 7 years in Tibet for scaling, Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf for landscape inspiration, Dances with Wolves for the Bison scene, and Heaven’s Gate for the NorthWest layout. They were determined to not leave a thing out- it was all about creating “Visual Poetry“. Here are a few things I learned about this visual poetry.
- Weather is used to highlight the emotion of the moment.
- Color is EVERYTHING. If a scene is very emotional, it needs to be supported with color both highs and lows.
- They aim for haiku moments (It’s okay I had to look it up)
- The river- as mentioned before was used to highlight Arlo’s emotions. The “Yellow Brick Road” of The Good Dinosaur.
“How can I make devastation as beautiful as I can”- Sharon Calahan
Now we have beautiful back drops, lighting to support emotions, and last but certainly not least we have effects. Effects Supervisor Jon Reisch, walked us through what the effects team is responsible for…….all the details pretty much!
What exactly is effects responsible for?…..I know I said everything but let me break it down further. Effects:
- Create a believable interaction between environment and characters.
- Heighten mood, atmosphere and drama with effects
- Add WOW with visual complexity!
- All weather…..from effects!
- Highlight the small details.
- Spends HOURS day with the artists!
One of my least favorite scenes is when Arlo emerges from the water, shaky and stumbling over the land. He takes a traumatic fall that makes me want to cry! The fall is a very big effects scene though, heighten with rock and dirt shifting around him. The scene makes me want to cry because it is…..believable. I believe that Arlo is struggling and physically hurt. That’s effects.
If you haven’t already watched the trailer…check it out! Look for the things we have been talking about~ including the sad fall scene!
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 11 yr old Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend named Spot (who acts like a dog). While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.”
IN THEATERS THANKSGIVING