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Re: Jurassic Fight Club ep guide is up


This was yet ANOTHER show that I was supposed to work on and it did not work out. Its a joke around my household that if a job has to do with dinosaurs it will not work out for me. I think that when I talk to the production companies on the phone and mention my reverence for the fossil material it sends a signal that I'll be too difficult to work with. There is also a problem that many fx companies have mentioned to me. They have told me that when they send designs to "paleos" for comments, it can add almost an aditional 50% to the design budget. The added time to wait for approvals also adds up quickly as many paleos are off doing their actual jobs in far off places. If the initial bid from the fx company included a quick turnaround for incentive those extra days add up fast and entire departments (modeling,texturing,rigging,animation...) equal a huge overhead as they await designs.
Even if you have a designer who got everything right, as soon as its out of his hands its not uncommon for others down the line to cut corners. For example someone could put a Giganotaasaurus head on an allosaur body because it was deemed "close enough" . That kind of approach is perceived to save big$ as the dinosaur does,'t have to visit all those departments again. Changing the length of a dinos legs has a lot of consequnces.
The solution? A really dinosaur obsessed designer who will stay on top of the other departments. Consultation with paleos is needed, but at the designer's discretion, and he or she needs to pick those battles carefully. I firmly believe its impossible to get a 100% accurate peer approved show/design, although that doesn't mean its not worth trying!
Paleos do add a great deal of credibility to the shows, but its nice when what they say on camera is consistent with whats on screen!

My appolgies if this message is full of typos, I bouncing a newborn on my knee as I type with one hand!

David Krentz

On Jul 27, 2008, at 5:41 PM, tholtz@geol.umd.edu wrote:

For those who want to know, Carlos Huante ( of many ILM FX movies) was
involved in the dinosaur designs. They look pretty cool but... WTF?
Oh, that means "Wheres The Feathers". Its what the kids these days
text to each other.

David Krentz

Might I *STRONGLY* suggest that she coordinate with paleontologists for
season 2? The feathers I could almost maybe sort of forgive. But the
Majungas violate Holtz's First Rule of Restoration: if you can't fit the
skeleton inside the restoration, the restoration is wrong. (Specifically,
the legs are too long and gracile (esp. in the metatarsus), the
scapulacoracoid region is too poorly developed, and the forelimbs are
wrong in essentially every major aspect (incorrect shoulder articulations,
elbow too well developed, forearm FAR too long, hand too long and slender,
and palms are facing impossibly downward.)

I just wished they had consulted more of the paleos on this aspect: if
there is one thing we will happily do is criticize anatomy... :-)

I am still really looking forward to this, and the fact that it is only
relatively minor anatomical features that I am complaining about indicates
that they got most of it right!

I also just saw (today on DVD) a History Channel special I missed before:
How the Earth Was Made (2007). Again, I have a few technical problems with
it here and there, but overall an extremely good job at reviewing Earth
History and how we interpret it. (Also, a shout out to Reese Barrick,
whose team is shown collecting therizinosaurs out in Utah...)

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-405-0796

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA