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Re: Questions about two restorations

Dan Varner wrote:
> > In the Tippett sequence there was a brief
> > shot
> > of a sauropod model I have not seen in any film to date. It resembled a
> > camarasaur or titanosaur more than anything else-the neck being nowhere
> near
> > as long as a brachiosaur or diplodocid. Does anyone know what I'm
> > about here? It was really a very superb sculpture and I certainly hope
> will
> > be animated someday.
Truett Garner wrote: 
> Dan , I believe Phil made this model for a short ( unreleased , as far as
> know ) film on dinosaurs , prior to his involvement with JP .
> I think some of the footage is in the  'Making of JP' video  , featuring
> Daspletosaurus , Centrosaurus and  some Dromaeosaurids .I can't remember
> the name , But Phil mentions it in the video. Hope this helps !

I'm not sure that this is what you're looking for, Dan Varner, but I
definitely know what Truett Garner speaks of, and if you haven't seen it,
you must!

Following the completion of his visual effects work on "Return of the
Jedi," Phil Tippett wanted to make his own kind of film, a short
stop-motion film featuring a few dinosaurs, and produced on a low budget. 
Created during the years of 1983 to 1985, the result was the
twelve-minute-long "Prehistoric Beast."  It featured a _Tyrannosaurus_
pursuing and killing a William-Stout-like _Monoclonius_ (which eats
flowers) and was included in one of the touring "Festivals of Animation." 
Additional stop-motion footage of a _Maiasaura_ family, a _Deinonychus_
pair, _Struthiomimus_, unidentified *sauropods* eating conifer twigs, and
asteroid impact effects were also filmed and incorporated into the one-hour
CBS television special, "Dinosaur!" which debuted in 1986.

The host is Christopher Reeve, and other material includes talks with
paleontologists (including Jack Horner), a segment on welded dinosaur art,
and scenes of kids who love playing with dinosaurs.  I believe that it is
readily available on video in VHS format.  (I've seen it for sale at

The stop-motion footage is remarkable, usually playing out against a
combination of miniature model scenery and painted backdrops or
front-projected slide photographs of natural settings.  By mounting
"running" stop-motion models on rods covered with front-projection
material, and moving the rods as frames of film were exposed, Tippett was
able to impart a motion blur to the animals for a more naturalistic effect
(a similar technique to Tippett's limited "go-motion" work on the running
taun-tauns in "The Empire Strikes Back").  For some shots, it was necessary
to project motion picture footage of moving backgrounds a frame at a time
behind the animation models.

The footage was designed to look just like a contemporary nature
documentary, with lens flares in the camera, and the camera searching for
the animals as they moves in and out of the frame.  The filmmakers studied
such documentary programs as "Wild Kingdom" before planning the shots, and
the footage is, basically, the sort of dinosaur footage of prehistoric
animals going about their business that many on this list would enjoy
seeing some day in a feature film.  Tippett consulted Rob Long and other
paleontologists at U.C. Berkeley. 

As everyone probably knows, Tippett went on from "Dinosaur!" to create
dinosaurs for the two Jurassic Park films.

Mandell, Paul, _Phil Tippett's Dinosaurs_, American Cinematographer, April
1986, pp. 42-48.

So... was that the stop-motion sauropod model about which you inquired?

-- Ralph Miller III     gbabcock@best.com