Prime Survival Pt III - The New Sounds...
Updated: May 23, 2020
Perhaps one of the harder lessons to learn from this film was what it means to bite off more than you can chew! There was a lot of work to be done on this project sound wise which I found unfortunately often conflicted with my ability to work on music. Having been recorded over many years with different cameras and equipment and varying degrees of ambient sound, taking the final product sound and crafting it into a final form was a bit of a feat and unfortunately would never be 'perfect.'
No project is without its difficulties though, so I did what I could with what we had. On the other hand, one of the exciting parts of this production was the inclusion of some new animals to give voice to! Perhaps one of the most interesting concepts that unfortunately didn't fully make it into the film was something hinted at in the final teaser: a camo Carnotaurus!
Teaser 4 included a test shot of the camo Carnotaurus transitioning out of its camouflage.
Having collected many of the films SFX over the years, ambient nature CD's, and several SFX libraries, I worked to develop new sounds for the film and its new character the Carnotaurus. As the animal had not yet been seen in the films, there were no SFX designed for it so I had to start from scratch. The bulldog like snout made me think of a snarling dog, and some of the early animation tests showed a sort of 'snapping' bite effect. This became my first insight into the character.
Above you can see one of the early concept arts provided by Joshua Malone for 'Prime Survival.'
Originally introduced during a scene where Elliot wanders the island at night, he hears it moving through the dark but cannot see it. "That's no raptor" is our only clue before the sound intensifies and Elliot sprints off to hide. The film, a shorter cut of the full scene, plays it off a bit like a dream while the full scene would have shown Elliot trying to get into the building to hide from the animal as it quickly approached. Looking for unique sounds that had to be simultaneously mysterious and unknown, I ended up finding recordings of a Bobcat snarling and worked primarily with those. I adjusted them and added in some other animals like a bear and alligator to craft the final sounds. Together, these recordings created a snarling bite and a guttural purr that allowed for a unique character that was unmistakable for any other animal in the films.
This was not to be the last we saw of the Carnotaur either! Later, a scene taking place directly after the group calls the military for help, we see the group running through an abandoned area, playing a deadly cat-and-mouse with the creature.
This scene, although never making it past the early test cut phase, would have been the main sequence with the camo Carnotaurus!
As the creature toys with them, it interacts with the environment but not being clearly seen. This day-for-night shot would have ended with the characters using a flashlight to ward off the creature.
Another creature that was included in 'Prime Survival' was the dilophosaurus.
We barely saw the animal in Jurassic Park, which meant that all the sounds and behavioral cues we had for the animal were VERY limited in scope.
In 'Prime Survival,' we get a sneak peek at a very different behavior as the animals are performing a sort of courtship dance! This meant that although the frill would be out, it would not be in a defensive or even offensive manner--at least not initially. Having experienced the Dilophosaurus sound in person when a small owl was nearby and being sufficiently scared, my first instinct was to look for more owl like sounds! In the end, three Australian owls produced vocalizations that fit the needs of the film. -The Eastern grass owl was used for the main display with the frill shaking. -The Australian masked owl provided hissing and communicative sounds. -The Lesser sooty owl was used for the screeching calls. All together with the already existing sounds, it felt like one creature and added a wonderful new colour to the character of the Dilophosaurus.
Sound wise, these would all begin to take shape in the full 5.1 mix. Yes, Prime Survival was originally mixed in 5.1! But we can talk more about that next time... continued on Pt IV...