DINO KING 3D/SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS Production Notes
In January 2012, the 3D computer animated feature film SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS (점박이: 한반도의 공룡 3D, Jumbagi: Hanbandoui gongryong 3D) was released in Korea by CJ Entertainment. Produced by Dream Search C&C, EBS and Olive Studio, the movie portrays the life of a dinosaur growing up in the Korean peninsula of 85 million years ago.
Retitled DINO KING 3D for its US release, the film will be available on 3D/2D Blu-ray, DVD and digital June 18th from Well Go USA Entertainment.
Well Go USA has provided SciFi Japan with the English language production notes created by CJ Entertainment for international marketing of SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS…
KOREANOSAURUS (한반도의 공룡, Hanbandoui gongryong, Dinosaurs in the Korean Peninsula) was a top-quality, three-part documentary first broadcast on the Korean TV channel EBS (Educational Broadcasting System) in 2008. Recreating the Cretaceous Period with computer-generated imagery technology — produced entirely by Korean FX companies — the piece proved popular with the public, recording the highest ratings for an EBS documentary. It also received the Korea Communications Commission’s top award in recognition of the program’s cinematic value.
To repay the public for its support and to take the story to a wider audience, KOREANOSAURUS has now been recreated as a 3D animated feature film with a more gripping storyline and improved CG technology. The latest work — entitled SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS — was created by adding CG dinosaurs to location footage filmed in New Zealand. This allowed the creators of the movie to amplify the experience of an adventure in the Cretaceous Period.
Collaboration of the country’s top paleontologist and modelers! A realistic recreation of the Cretaceous Period with over 80 animals from 17 species!
SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS was created based on the research of the country’s leading paleontologist, Professor Huh Min. He gained renown after discovering the rare fossilized footprints of a pterodactyl in Uhang-ri, Haenam County in South Jeolla Province in 1996. Professor Min described the species as Haenamichnus uhangriensis in a paper published in the Geological Journal. He has also been at the center of the recent dinosaur-fever in Korea, where the topic had previously attracted little public interest. Building from the EBS documentary, his research and his passion for the project helped bring the film to life.
The combination of accurate scientific knowledge and the creative efforts from Korea’s top modelers brings near-perfect dinosaurs to the screen. In addition, the film offers the most diverse range of dinosaurs to be seen in a single movie with more than 80 individual dinosaurs from 17 different species appearing including Ankylosaurus, Hypsilophodon, Charonosaurus and Tylosaurus. With a variety of dinosaurs ranging from the famous Tyrannosaurus and the Tarbosaurus that was at the top of the food chain in Asia to the large herbivore bearing the Korean name Pukyongosaurus and the flying reptile Haenamichnus, the filmmakers expect SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS will become a cinematic bible for dinosaur enthusiasts.
The birth of a state-of-the-art 3D movie created by Korea’s top visual effect teams including KASIT and ETRI.
In January 2009, one year before the movie AVATAR started the current wave of 3D-fever, SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS went into production, overcoming the obstacles of Korea’s lack of experience and knowledge in creating three dimensional video images. However, the producers overcame such difficulties by working with dinosaur experts as well as modelers who developed their own plug-ins. With the know-how and technological capabilities accumulated through such efforts, the production team brought a new 3D animation to the big screen.
The team was supervised by director Min Byung-chun, who has received wide acclaim for his outstanding cinematography and production of the documentary KOREANOSAURUS along with his work on PHANTOM: THE SUBMARINE (유령, Yuryeong, 1999) and NATURAL CITY (내츄럴 시티, Naechureol Siti, 2003), and Professor Noh Jun-yong of KAIST Institute for Entertainment Engineering who has taken part in numerous Hollywood movies including SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006).
As the first Korean animation to be produced to completely resemble real-life images, the aim of SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS was to create the optimal 3D movie with depth and 3D imagery that are less tiring for the eyes. The movie’s 3D technology has also received recognition from international experts. “It is astonishing that [the producers] are successfully carrying out works that have not even been attempted in China and Japan,” said Jim Chabin, chairman of the International 3D Society, when he viewed clips from the film during his visit to Korea in April 2011. “I watched the 3D trailer for SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS and it is a world-class piece. I hope that everyone sees the exciting and wonderful SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS that was created through such an exceedingly beautiful process.”
Backgrounds filmed in New Zealand’s pristine environments.
The location footage was filmed independently of the dinosaurs, which are entirely digitally created, in New Zealand.
New Zealand, which gained fame as the location for THE LORD OF THE RINGS series, is home to an environment that closely resembles the earth in the time of the dinosaurs. Against the backdrop of such an environment, dinosaurs were added using chroma key compositing and digital simulation techniques. The production team’s efforts at recreating the fantastic world of the past, using the combination of real-life locations and digital creatures, will take audiences a step further into the Cretaceous Period.
A three-year journey to create a photorealistic 3D film!
January, 2009: Planning began for feature-film production following the possibilities displayed by the EBS documentary KOREANOSAURUS.
April, 2009: The scenario is completed, and 3D pre-visualization simulation begin to review the film’s overall flow, tone and manner.
May, 2009: 3-D geometric modeling (Maya) is carried out, and character modeling is conducted under strict scientific guidance from Professor Huh Min of the Korea Dinosaur Research Center.
August, 2009: Locations filmed on three occasions in New Zealand to capture the pristine prehistoric environment of the Cretaceous.
January, 2010: Animation process begins; dinosaur models that have undergone mapping are motion captured and other R&D processes are carried out.
July, 2010: The backgrounds filmed in New Zealand are edited to match the movement of the computer-generated dinosaurs
2010: Selected for the Korea Creative Content Agency’s support in the “Feature-length Global Animation” category.
2010: Selected for the Korea Creative Content Agency’s support through the “3D production and rendering SW” project
January, 2011: Geometric extraction is performed for 3D background and 3D video imagery.
Cutting edge technologies at work.
① Creature mob technology: In collaboration with ETRI — a government-funded organization established for the purpose of developing new technologies in information, telecommunications, electronics, broadcasting and other related convergent areas — 3D mass movement simulator technology was implemented to enable the dinosaurs to move in groups.
② Automatic 3D landscape program: The key CG technology developed by Professor Noh Jun-yong of KAIST Institute for Entertainment Engineering automatically extracts data on the movement of the camera to superimpose a digital creature to the selected background. KAIST previously took part in creating visual effects for numerous Hollywood movies including THE GOLDEN COMPASS (2007) and THE CHRONICLE OF NARNIA (2005).
③ Animatronics special filming: In order to make the combination of real-life footage and computer generated images more refined, life-sized dinosaur models were filmed separately to create near-photorealistic images. Related works are being carried out by Wizard, which was responsible for animatronics and special makeup in numerous Korean movies including MEMORIES OF MURDER (살인의 추억, Salinui Chueok, 2003), OLDBOY (올드보이, Oldeuboi, 2003) and TAEGUKI (태극기 휘날리며, Taegukgi Hwinallimyo, 2004).
Global content that will go beyond Korea, beyond Asia and into the world! A film with proven international appeal as shown by $1 million in pre-release export sales!
Dinosaurs are a theme that fascinates people all around the world. They are the subject of curiosity and interest for all people regardless of age, gender, time and trends… negative opinions about dinosaurs are virtually nonexistent anywhere in the world.
The Tarbosaurus and Tsintaosaurus that appear in SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS are species whose fossils are found mainly in China, Mongolia, Korean Peninsula and other East Asian nations. As such, the film provides a chance to meet new species of dinosaurs that are not seen in previous dinosaur movies produced in Europe or the United States. In addition, the film’s international appeal has been widely recognized and SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS was selected as the recipient of the Korea Creative Content Agency’s support in the “Feature-length Global Animation” category.
The previous EBS documentary version, KOREANOSAURUS, also proved successful on the international market. The film was exported to 14 countries including Germany, Italy and the United States, bringing in $256,300. In particular, the film was sold to the Super RTL, a broadcaster with Disney investment, for $100,000… setting a new licensing record for a Korean documentary.
Through active international marketing efforts at Cannes International Film Festival and American Film Market, SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS was quickly exported to 13 countries, bringing in about $1 million. The international premiere took place at the 2011 AFM, presenting the film to buyers from key markets across the world.
An emotionally engaging documentary with a storyline! A spectacular battle between the emperor of Asia — Tarbosaurus — and the ruler of North America — Tyrannosaurus!
In order to overcome the limitations of the documentary genre that has the potential to be tedious, the makers of the film adopted a storytelling style using the life story of a carnivorous Tarbosaurus named Speckles. Therefore, the producers were able to create a film that not only informs the audience of scientific facts about dinosaurs such as their appearances and ecology, but also appeal to their emotions.
In addition, the cinematic portrayal of a battle between two distanct species — Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus — will be comparable to a fight between Superman and Batman in its capacity to ignite the imagination of enthusiasts.
Speckles: The tragic emperor who never gave up hope
“Speckles the Tarbosaurus,” who was named for his spotted face. He was born as the youngest of an emperor’s family, but a terrible mistake leaves him without his family. At only 10 months old, he has to face a tough world where only the fittest survive…
One Eye: The schemer who plots to take over Speckles’ empire
Tyrannosaurus — the predominant predator of the era of the dinosaurs. The wanderings of the schemer One Eye brings him to the forest ruled by Speckles’ family. He causes the downfall of Speckles’ family and continues to present a danger to Speckles as the young Tarbosaur climbs to the top of the forest’s food chain.
Blue Eyes: The wife who loved and was loved by Speckles
Chance brings Speckles to Blue Eyes, who had been in a similar situation, and the two form a new family. Blue Eyes and Speckles rely on each other to build a happy life together despite the dangers that threaten the pair from all sides. Blue Eyes’ maternal love also comes into play when she tries to save her and Speckles’ young.
Velociraptor: The hyena of the forest
At 2 meters in height, the Velociraptors are by no means among the largest of the dinosaurs. But they do show supreme cunning and speed. Roaming the forest in a pack like hyenas, the Velociraptors are formidable predators that allows no obstacle to stand in their way.
DIRECTOR & STAFF
Director: Han Sang-ho
Director Han Sang-ho graduated from the Seoul National University with a degree in Korean language and literature, and gained a masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London. Han says that he is driven by his passion for recreating bygone eras and forgotten civilizations in his work as a documentary maker.
In 2008 Han, who produced numerous documentaries for EBS, created KOREANOSAURUS. As Asia’s first documentary on dinosaurs the production received opposition from all sides. The result, however, came as a surprise not only for Korea but for the world.
2002: Directed the PD OF THE MONTH (문자) award show from the Broadcasting Producer Association of Korea
PD OF THE MONTH named Program of the Month by the Korea Broadcasting Commission
PD OF THE MONTH named Program of the Month by the Citizen’s Coalition for Democratic Media
2003: PD OF THE MONTH received Samsung Media Award for Visual category from the Samsung Media Foundation
2004: Directed MICRO WORLD
2005: MICRO WORLD received the “Experimental Spirit” award, and “PD of the Month” award from the Broadcasting Producer Association of Korea
MICRO WORLD named Program of the Month by the Korea Broadcasting Commission
MICRO WORLD receives Ministry of Science and Technology’s Science Culture award
2008: Directed 3-part EBS documentary KOREANOSAURUS
2009: KOREANOSAURUS received the highest honors in Korea Communication Commission’s Broadcasting Awards
2011: Children’s book Dinosaur Warrior Bin (공룡 전사 빈) published
Natural history research: Huh Min, Director of the Korea Dinosaur Research Center
Paleontology Professor Huh Min gained renown in 1996 when he discovered the fossilized footprints of a new species of pterodactyl, and described the species as the Haenamichnus uhangriensis.
In November 2010, after seven years of painstaking research, he recreated the species Koreanosaurus boseongensis that lived on the Korean peninsula 85 million years ago.
He continues to engage in active research into dinosaurs’ skeletal structure, behavior and habitat by conducting excavations and reconstructive work across the Korean peninsula.
1979: Chonnam National University, College of Natural Sciences – Geology
1983: Seoul National University, Graduate School – M.Sc in Sedimentary Petrology
1987: Korea University Graduate School – Ph.D in Paleontology
2011: Received commendation at the 44th Science Day
Named one of the Great Minds of the 21st Century by the American Biographical Institute
Production Type: 3D digital animation
Running Time: 90 minutes
Produce by: Dream Search C&C
Co-produced by: EBS / Olive Studio
Presented by: Dream Search C&C
In association with: EBS / Olive Studio / CJ Entertainment
Distributed by: CJ Entertainment
Production Time: 33 months (January 2009 – October 2011)
Budget: ₩7 billion
Korean Theatrical Release: January 26, 2012 (Winter School Vacation 2011)
About Well Go USA
Well Go USA, Inc. is a theatrical and home entertainment distribution company that specializes in bringing top content, including the best in Asian Cinema to North America. As a leader in independent film distribution, Well Go’s titles can be seen across a variety of formats and platforms including in theaters, on DVD, Blu-ray, digital (video-on-demand, electronic sell-through and streaming) and broadcast television through cable and satellite. Since 1994, Well Go has acquired and released over 2,000 titles worldwide. In 2005, Well Go expanded its distribution to North America where five to ten titles are released monthly.
Well Go USA’s corporate headquarters are in Plano, TX with offices in Taiwan and China.
For more information on DINO KING 3D/SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS, please see the previous coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- New Korean Films TARBOSAURUS and MY WAY to Receive US Release
- Meet SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS in 3D
- Korean Dinosaur Movie SPECKLES THE TARBOSAURUS Coming to America as DINO KING 3D