50 Things I Learned on the Set of Jurassic World

Jurassic World

The Sets

We got a tour of the raptor arena set, a Dino paddock where Chris Pratt’s character Owen houses the raptors and conducts behavioral research. The steel cage entrance has two holes in the wall where practically-built maquette raptor heads are sticking through with steel muzzles, allowing the actors to interact with the dinosaurs. Steel catwalks are constructed above the pen, which has a bunch of greenery in the middle. The paddock is surrounded by 20-foot-high metal walls on three sides, with the fourth side opening into what looks like an enclosed forrest. In reality the opening is to a real New Orleans swamp land not constructed for the movie.

We witnessed some filming on Stage 7, a scene from the beginning of the movie where Bryce Dallas Howard’s character checks into the master control center of the park in the morning of her day. The master control center set has rows of slanted computer desks in front of a huge display monitor. It’s fitting that a set like this was built at a NASA facility. Bryce is looking at a huge wall with multiple scenes projected including a huge park map showing system information, camera feeds from around the park, every visitor is tracked using RFid tags and more.

Jurassic World

The Jurassic World control center set was created after doing research at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando Florida. Production designers also based some of the set on the NASA control room. Colin Trevorrow was actually disappointed that the control room at Universal Studios was just a few guys and some small old monitors.

The big screen display features a variety of information, including: weather information maps, various bar graphs and charts monitoring attendance. Each of the dinosaurs have tracking devices, which display a location on the big park map, so park workers know where all of them are at any time. The display also features a bunch of cycling security camera feeds: they shot footage in Hawaii, at NASA and even obtained some footage from Universal Orlando to make it feel like the park was a living, breathing place with lots of backstage space and visitor areas. The top of the map has a restricted area that is where they do the research and development; we will see the area in the film.

There is a wall of blinking audio equipment and servers in a glass enclosed room in the back of the control center. Small plush Dinosaur toys sit on some of the work stations. In the scene, Jake Johnson’s character lists off some statistics about the day at the park: 6 kids are in lost in found, 28 people got heat stroke, and a kid tried to feed a triceratops ice cream.

New Jurassic World Photo Reveals Richard Attenborough Tribute John Hammond Statue

We got to walk through the new visitors center, which is not as cool as the old center if you ask me. It features displays of dinosaur bones and educational displays. Jack Horner helped design the educational display, and some of it was designed in his museum in Montana. There are a bunch of pods with hologram displays of actual dinosaurs (no need to display the real bones anymore) which will be added in post using CG. The new visitors center is multi-leveled, with a beautiful glass spiral staircase. The coolest thing is the statue of John Hammond out front with his cane, a tribute reminiscent of the Walt Disney founders statue at Disneyland.

Beyond the visitors center is the new DNA and research lab, a very high tech looking laboratory which you have seen in the viral marketing. Desks with advanced science equipment, walls of glass. They rented real scientific sequencing equipment for this set.

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Doctor Wu’s office features incubating dinosaur eggs, and each egg has a QR code so they can be “tracked”. After the eggs hatch the small Dinosaurs are put into stainless steel cage units on the wall. A wall in the back has shelves upon shelves of large chunks of lighted amber from samples all over the world. The chunks are much bigger than what we’ve seen before, sometimes almost eight inches thick.

Doctor Wu has been asked to ramp up one new genetically-engineered species. He has something going on that people don’t know about. At the back of his office a secret door leads to more equipment and a ton of aquarium tanks filled with rare reptiles which he uses to sequence DNA. They had a two-headed snake and albino snake in some of the cages. Pipes cover us above. The room is darker, concrete, less futuristic looking but more real and functional. There is a refrigerator unit with trays of DNA sample tubes. There are four circular tubes with spines in a clear fluid. The hidden genetics lab is in a back room so that tourists won’t see it when touring the facility.

We visited another set which is the remains of the old visitors center from the original Jurassic Park. This was probably the coolest set we saw as it felt like I was stepping into the same location from the first film. Years have gone by, and the visitors set has been completely abandoned. Greenery has completely taken over, and the bones of the T-Rex lay on the floor as do the dirty scraps of the banner, which we were told play into this story. Vines are growing around a piece of the scaffolding we saw in the first film. The stairs are overgrown with tree branches, vines and grass. The iconic doors are rusted and vines have taken over the archway entrance. The old visitors center is located in a part of the park which has dinosaurs roaming free. The boys stumble upon this location somewhere in the middle of the movie.

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