Jurassic Park Video Reveals How The Dinosaurs Went From Stop Motion To CGI

T-Rex in Jurassic Park
(Image credit: (Universal))

There are big blockbuster movies, and then there are all-out cultural phenomena, industry-changing movies like Jurassic Park. The 1993 Steven Spielberg film is still talked about today and continues to be an ongoing franchise with the Jurassic World movies. Of course, Jurassic Park also sent shock waves throughout Hollywood for its groundbreaking effects.

At the 1994 Oscars, Jurassic Park earned three nominations and won all three in technical categories for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Effects and Best Sound. In retrospect, The Academy is sharing a look back on the incredible story that allowed dinosaurs to roam on the big screen with computer technology. Take a look:

See more

There’s an incredible story behind the dinos in Jurassic Park, and it remains relevant as CGI technology remains an omnipresent medium in moviemaking. As the filmmakers explain, Steven Spielberg’s original vision for Jurassic Park was to make it using only practical effects. He worked closely with Stan Winston Studios to make elaborate puppets of the different dinos, and he met with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), asking if they could simply implement “motion blur” into scenes he’d capture through stop-motion technology with Tippett Studios.

Co-animator Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams and co-visual effects supervisor Mark Dippé became excited and fascinated with the idea of using the technology they had used in The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgement Day to create CG dinosaurs, but the idea didn’t catch on right away with the Jurassic Park filmmakers. Characterized as a “Frankenstein shop” that was constantly experimenting with innovation in that day and age, the ILM guys decided to secretly make the dinosaurs anyway.

What they created was a groundbreaking “skin test” of a T-Rex roaming around that blew the minds of the few people in the room, including the current Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy. After that, CG was implemented into Jurassic Park in breathtaking ways that still stand the test of time.

27 years later, audiences are somewhat desensitized by the CG technology that has become familiar to big-budget blockbusters. But for many of us who remember our first experiences with Jurassic Park, we remember the jaw-dropping awe we felt when viewing the movie. It’s the kind of film that inspires one to look at the behind-the-scenes material and become truly immersed in the filmmaking process.

Jurassic Park also stands out for its use of practical effects as well, and the franchise still implements a mix of the technical and practical to this day. Jurassic World: Dominion is currently being filmed ahead of its new June 11, 2022 release date. Dominion will see the return of Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, BD Wong, Justice Smith and will officially bring back the original trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. While we wait, check out what movies are hitting the big screen next year with CinemaBlend’s 2021 release schedule.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.