Welcome back to Jurassic Park.
Source: Universal Studios
With the 20th anniversary of one of Universal Pictures’ most enduring hits approaching, the studio decided to reissue the film in theaters across the world, approaching theater owners with the idea of a 3D post-conversion for one of Universal’s favorite adventures, stunningly restored in 4K.
As technology shifts and changes the manner in which filmmakers are able to tell stories, 3D has provided the ability to bring audiences into the Jurassic Park that STEVEN SPIELBERG was subconsciously shooting. This type of design not only allows for an unexpected, nostalgic journey for those who embraced the film in 1993, it offers the chance for new audiences to take an unexpected ride alongside STAN WINSTON’s and INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC’s (ILM) brilliant creations.
Although an entire generation has watched on the small screen while Lex and Tim outsmart cunning Velociraptors and stared in awe as Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant stumble upon the herd of graceful Brachiosaurs, they’ve been unable to wholly immerse in the sights and sounds of the lush and deadly Isla Nublar about which MICHAEL CRICHTON and DAVID KOEPP dreamed. Until now.
It was critical to all to ensure that Jurassic Park continue to be enjoyed through the ages. Truly, when it’s done well, 3D completely brings the movie into the theater. The audience shouldn’t head home saying, “That scene had a great 3D effect!” Rather, you deserve an experience that envelops your mind in powerful visuals, soaring music and surround sound. To ensure this happened with the translation, the filmmakers led with one question: What does it feel like to sit in the middle of an orchestra?
As Spielberg collaborated with STEREO D, the team who designed the 3D conversion for Titanic, they went shot by shot through Jurassic Park to figure out how to evolve the movie and expand your senses within a new dimension. Now, when you hear the footfall of T. rex and see the glass of water tremble, wait for the baby raptor to hatch and vault with the Explorer off the barrier, you will feel as if you’re entering Jurassic Park for the first time.
Universal hopes that audiences enjoy Jurassic Park in 3D as much as the 700-plus-member team did painstakingly recalibrating it. To our fellow movie lovers, we eagerly await the moment you hear JOHN WILLIAMS’ epic score bringing us back to where it all began. As adventure seekers and honorary paleontologists, we share in the wonder of dinosaurs roaming the Earth once again…and in the awe of Man being there to greet them.
ABOUT THE CONVERSION
When Steven Spielberg originally shot Jurassic Park, his cast and crew were fortunate enough to be surrounded with a stunning 3D backdrop of Stan Winston’s dinosaur creations to inspire them on set. Coupled with ILM’s groundbreaking CG and the film’s dramatic human moments, Jurassic Park naturally lent itself to an immersive experience in conversion.
Whether it was in action-heavy sequences such as the epic Velociraptor/T. rex fight or the thoughtfully quiet scene in which Dr. Sattler and John Hammond talk over ice cream about the ramifications of Hammond’s vision, Spielberg framed those original shots to make them feel quite multidimensional. When it came to this process, the director’s past choices proved to be of enormous assistance for Stereo D as the studio converted Jurassic Park’s content into stereoscopic 3D imagery.
To evolve this epic action-adventure, it took more than 700 artists to isolate each small detail inside of every frame, add depth to the shot and then redimensionalize into 3D to stretch the screen.
Purists fear not! During the conversion, Spielberg was cautious not to significantly alter scenes from or add new sound effects to the original. Rather, the goal was laser-focused format enhancement. Whether it was Spielberg’s addition of rain in the foreground when we first see T. rex or splinters breaking toward our eyes as the Explorer hurtles down the tree, his objective was to make us pay attention to what’s in front of and behind the camera.
The conversion of Jurassic Park into 3D took nine months to complete. So how did the team do it? Stereo D received assets in the form of original 2D plates and performed an ingest into its proprietary asset and pipeline management system.
After extensive spotting sessions, Stereo D’s Rotoscoping and Depth teams began their work, breaking down and working with the components contained within each frame of the movie. The Depth team utilized Stereo D’s proprietary software, VDX. Then, if the shot needed it, the in-house VFX team added 3D augmentation for elements including (but not limited to) smoke, sparks, rain or any type of particle.
Last but not least, Stereo D’s paint team added the very final polish to each shot to ensure a beautiful end result by filling in the missing information revealed by making the shots 3D.
With current films, most often the conversion occurs in tandem with the production, and Stereo D receives its elements on an hourly or daily basis. On archival titles such as Jurassic Park, the length of time to convert varies based on many factors—among them: the condition of the original negative, the length of the film and the relative difficulty or detail in the content.
Because such natural elements as rain and leaves in a forest are considered some of the most difficult things to re-create in conversion, Jurassic Park in 3D provided quite an interesting academic exercise for the hundreds of team members. In fact, more raindrops were converted in this movie than have ever been created in 3D, ensuring that our moviegoers will feel like they’re knee deep in the adventure with our heroes.
The additional perspective of adding planes of foreground, middle ground and background to Jurassic Park in 3D will make you feel, for example, like you’re in the car with Tim and Lex as the T. rex attacks. Indeed, the conversion enhanced the scales on the dinosaurs to the point that you feel like you may and should reach out and touch them.
Bringing moviegoers further into Jurassic Park is just as important audibly as it is visually. The footfall of a T. rex racing toward the audience in 3D would inherently sound more expansive than in 2D, so the sound design team took advantage of today’s technology and modern theaters to give the sound greater depth and more dynamics.
For the audience, not only are the mournful lowing of the Brachiosaurs more beautiful than ever, the roars of the angry T. rex are even more terrifying. Interestingly, for the original T. rex roar, the sound designer modified the recording of a baby elephant’s yell. Cut and pasted, played backward and stretched, this sound was a layer in the main vocals of our hero dinosaur. To thrust moviegoers into the middle of this 3D scene, the sound was pulled even further toward the audience.