Return to Jurassic Park

Making ripples...

December 8, 2020

To promote the release of Jurassic World Evolution on the Nintendo Switch, we were challenged to recreate, arguably, one of the most iconic cinematic scenes of all time. The brief from Frontier, the developers of JWE, required us to produce a video game trailer that took viewers back to that tense moment in 1993, that forewarns of the approach of the T-Rex.

Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about…

But then… we pull back to reveal the Nintendo Switch, and take a swift tour around the world of Jurassic World Evolution instead. Lovely.
 
 

Lighting The Scene

 

The whole commercial hinged on nailing the feel and aesthetic of that iconic scene in those first few seconds. So our first step was to revisit the film and remind ourselves exactly how Dean Cundey ASC approached it.

On set Dean learned to simplify by working with less light to solve lighting problems, without making things more complicated. The idea was to improve a scene by subtracting light. Instead, shadows are used throughout the film to conceal, just as light is used to reveal. On this particular scene Dean used a 20k incandescent light to give a single source and a single shadow.

From this a lighting plan was formed so we could replicate the shot as faithfully as possible.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get hold of a 20k tungsten unit. Instead we opted for a 2.5k HMI to give us our big source. Bouncing the HMI through a 12×12 silk softened the source, simulating the soft moonlight in the original scene. Additionally, an interior Litepanel, bounced off the car’s ceiling, gave us a controllable ambient light for the Nintendo Switch and actor’s hand.

Wrapping the vehicle in duvetine cut all additional light from entering, giving us the very soft, single source.

With the lighting nailed down, we installed a rain-tower in the Norwich studio to simulate the rain storm. The resulting combination set the scene perfectly.

Filming in the Norwich Studio

Challenges

 

Filming within a (circa 1990’s) Land Rover, we then had to address a couple of practical issues…

Our first challenge was simply one of space. In the original film, there is no track back from the glasses. Once we factored in tracking from the glasses to a full Nintendo Switch, we realised we needed a dashboard approximately two-feet deep. Yeah…they don’t exist.

Our solution was to fabricate a dashboard from scratch. This was then built into the rear of a Land Rover to take advantage of the generous boot space, and rear window. This provided us with the physical area on which to frame two glasses and a Switch. Needless to say this left little room for the crew and camera rig…

Our second challenge was another key ingredient in selling the scene; the ripples.
Through several tests we discovered that thumping the dashboard would not result in concentric ripples. Instead, we attached a guitar string to the base of the cups, fed it through a hole in the dash and secured it to an anchor and turnbuckle for ‘tuning’. When the string was plucked we achieved the iconic concentric ripples.

The resulting video game trailer seemed to work its magic; with a hugely positive online reception, and viewers making all the right noises when it came to feeling the nostalgia of the first film.
 
 

THE FINAL FILM

 

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