Jurassic World Live has very life-like dinosaur animatronics

The Jurassic Park movies were loved by people of all age groups because they took something out of this world and made it real. But the magic of Jurassic Park isn’t just limited to the movies. Animatronic models have allowed the creators of the Jurassic World Live Tour to bring lifelike dinosaurs to audiences across the US.
T-rex animated in the show
The impressive animatronics used in the show includes an T-Rex weighing in at 8,000 pounds. Photo: Feld Entertainment

Most films nowadays use CGI to create out of this world characters and special effects. But before the days of computers, film producers had to use models whenever they wanted to introduce the audience to a monster or alien landscape.

While CGI has progressed to the point where it is indistinguishable from reality, there are still some situations where it can’t quite beat the use of physical props.

The progression of animatronics over the years

Animatronics in one form or another have been around for a long, long time. A basic example is hand puppets, which have been used in cultures across the world to bring children’s stories to life.

As cinematography took off, the need for realistic special effects forced filmmakers to get creative with the models and methods they used.

A whole industry popped up around these moving models, known as animatronics. A golden age of sci-fi horror films, including John Carpenter’s The Thing and Basket Case, made use of terrifying moving props which chill in a way that CGI never could.

The film industry’s need for realistic props has pushed the field of animatronics forward. Photo: Cliff via Flickr

From the creative horror movie animatronic models of the 80s, techniques became more advanced. Although CGI became more prevalent, there was, and still is, a need for hyper-realistic physical models and movie props.

Companies like Animax Design now create high-tech animatronic models for films and exhibitions. These creations are more similar to what we typically think of as robots, due to their complexity and focus on realistic movements and expressions.

Jurassic World Live Tour

The Jurassic Park films made great use of a mix of CGI and animatronic models to create lifelike dinosaurs. Close-ups often used animatronic models to give the impression that the dinosaurs interacting with the human cast were completely real.

Now, animatronic models are being used to bring the Jurassic World experience to audiences across America.

The highlight of the show is the gigantic T-Rex that reaches an eye-watering 42 feet tall at 8,000 pounds. According to Animax Designs, the iconic dinosaur took two years to complete with a team of 42. Not bad going considering how real it looks.

The Jurassic World Live Tour is currently making its way across the country, and so far it’s got stellar reviews.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Orlando, Florida
Animatronics have come a long way over the years. Photo: Marco Becerra via Flickr

The show brings many different types of dinosaur to life using animatronics. But it’s not just the usual animatronics you might see in a film.

Alongside mechanical animatronic models, such as the giant T-Rex, the Jurassic World Live Tour also makes use of human actors.

Wearing special animatronic velociraptor suits, the actors walk around the arena, interacting with the audience, even peering over the seating barriers, giving the audience a glimpse of what it might be like to come face-to-face with a real dinosaur.

When it comes to real-life interaction, CGI will never be able to replace physical models. Luckily, the field of animatronics has progressed to the stage where physical models are thoroughly lifelike.

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