The making of a dinosaur

That is just what the Jurassic Park special, telecast by STAR Plus, was all about

STEVEN Spielberg's latest science fiction blockbuster, Jurassic Park, has already broken records at the box office. It is a thrilling tale of humans encountering dinosaurs. Though the film may take some time to reach India, last month, STAR Plus telecast an hour-long special programme on the making of Jurassic Park, or more precisely, the making of the dinosaurs that feature in it.

Research was the key element in making the dinosaurs look realistic. The scientists assisting Spielberg studied computer images of the dinosaurs to reproduce the movements and skin texture and colour of the huge animals. A whole lot of research also went into reproducing authentically the sounds made by these animals. And the improvisation that was used in order to get every detail of the animation right is symbolised by a researcher's description of how a dinosaur's sneeze was simulated: by shooting pureed spinach through a blast of air.

The Jurassic Park special stopped short of actually spelling out the technique that made the dinosaurs come alive on screen, and left the viewers with their curiosity aroused but not satisfied. For example, the dinosaurs themselves were rarely shown in the film so as to preserve the essential mystery of the film for those who haven't seen it.

As with any Hollywood blockbuster, Jurassic Park, too, spawned a related industry of toys and souvenirs. At the shop on the film's sets at Universal City, you can get almost any kind of dino memorabilia.

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