LONDON — A mother and son set out on an epic journey in search of dinosaurs for a recent Nescafe Goldblend coffee spot. Directed by the Park Pictures duo of Christian McKenzie & Patrick Chen, and filmed amongst the stunning scenery of South Africa’s Royal Natal National Park, the :60 spot was a huge undertaking for the visual effects team at London’s MPC (www.moving-picture.com), requiring multiple dinosaurs to be created from scratch and several matte paintings, including an animated lava-spewing volcano, to be designed as backdrops.
Jon Park supervised the 3D team in the creation of the Jurassic creatures, with a main focus on the T-Rex and her babies. He explains, “Each dinosaur was treated individually, with the team modeling and rigging herds of brachiosaurus, pterodactyls, stegosaurus and the iconic T-Rex. As there was no stand-in reference on-set (save from various crew members undertaking dinosaur role play), the lighting, measurements and even crocodile skin references acquired by our shoot supervisor Jim Radford were indispensable.”
VFX supervisor Dan Sanders led the team in creating a prehistoric look and integrating the CG dinosaurs. In addition to the matte-painted volcano and corresponding reflection seen in the canoe scene, the team added extra waterfalls, clouds and mist, and altered the appearance of the sky and time of day. The dinosaurs were integrated using multiple techniques. “For the T-Rex scenes, we used gobo techniques, to create a dappled light effect over the dinosaur’s skin, which quickly draws the eye to the animated creatures,” says Sanders. “The mother’s mouth features some pretty extraordinary saliva, which we actually shot at MPC playing around with soap suds and an aerosol spray can. This was then composited into her mouth for the final menacing effect.”
The team relied on a combination of Autodesk Maya and Flame, Adobe Photoshop for the matte paintings, Mari for 3D, and Nuke for compositing to complete the spot.