Before things start ramping up in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, audiences get a taste of what’s to come thanks to a dramatic prologue sequence. Here, mercenaries visit Isla Nublar and quickly encounter the infamous T. Rex in the main street, and then later a leaping Mosasaurus. The sequence includes both a submarine arrival and an attempted helicopter exit that does not go so smoothly.
Many of the scenes involved fully digital creatures, but several helicopter shots featured either a real aircraft or a ‘buck’ chopper attached to a crane. Visual effects studio Important Looking Pirates was brought on as a partner to ILM for the prologue, its work overseen by visual effects supervisors David Vickery and Alex Wuttke. vfxblog visited Wuttke at ILM in London where he outlined how the sequence was pulled off.
vfxblog: How was that sequence in terms of any live action tackled?
Alex Wuttke: We shot it over a course of a couple of nights in the UK at a waste ground that they found, that they built a huge part of main street on. So, it was a big practical set, and they pretty much built the run all the way from one end of main street to the other. And they built lagoon wall. We brought in an actual Huey helicopter which was flown by David Paris. So we had that through most of the sequence. We also had a Huey buck, a buck which was suspended on a big construction crane. And that was flown in for various different beats of the action as well.
vfxblog: At some point one of the guys is on the ladder, how did you film those parts?
Alex Wuttke: We would shoot action out of the practical helicopter or the buck down onto main street. Then, we would do a second pass with a static ladder with the merc acting suspended on it and we’d just match up the cameras and rig them above him and get the rain going. Then we’d composite those two pieces of action together.
vfxblog: And what about the T. Rex, and the kind of beats and things that T. Rex does? One of the coolest is pushing the car away.
Alex Wuttke: Paul Corbould, the special effects supervisor, came on and he rigged the car with a flipper rig, a big hydraulic ram under it to flip it over. We basically used all of that pretty much as it was shot. Then just animated into it with the T. Rex.
vfxblog: So, ILP handled this sequence (VFX supervisor: Pietro Ponti) – what sort of things were you discussing with them in terms of the behaviour of the T. Rex and its animation?
Alex Wuttke: I think the animation and the behaviour of the T. Rex is pretty well established from the first film, all the way through to the Jurassic World. There’s been a sort of commonality of it’s the presence. The gate. The movement. The speed. Various mannerisms. The way it roars. The way it’s head moves and opens up.
There’s a rich history that we have to adhere to in terms of what the T. Rex looks like in motion. Jance Rubinchik, who is our animation supervisor, he spent a lot of time with ILP, just taking them through the various paces in terms of when T. Rex is kind of at full pelt. We often gave examples to them. So we just animated a T. Rex running through various actions, just in a default generic environment that they could then use and look at from different angles and understand the way that T. Rex should move.
Stay tuned to vfxblog.com for more Fallen Kingdom articles during #jurassicweek Mark II.