In all of earth's four and a half billion year history, dinosaurs are by far the most spectacular awesome creatures that ever lived. When I was young I collected animal skeletons and ran around outside. I have an endless wonder for the natural world and I'm absolutely fascinated by dinosaurs. It is amazing that there was a time when the world was completely dominated by dinosaurs.
In four and a half billion years of existence there have been no creatures more dramatic or scarier. Whether they would be as popular if they existed today and were stomping down the high street, I don't know, but they're perfect for films because they are more spectacular, more awesome than most animals today, more like monsters, and yet they are real. They are also extinct, so I think there's some magic there. And although they are fierce and dangerous it's "safe danger", especially for children, because they're no longer around and so you're not going to meet one in an alley on a dark night.
Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie was an amazing opportunity to take audiences on a prehistoric adventure and immerse them in a world that really existed 70million years ago. It was hugely enjoyable. We were inspired by all the science of the real dinosaurs but, of course, that evidence is only partial. Many of the clues have been lost over 70million years. So there was lots of room for creative interpretation and that was brilliantly enjoyable.
We used several new aspects of computer technology to recreate the dinosaurs even more realistically than ever before. The muscle systems and skin were particularly advanced, giving a really life-like feel when the dinosaurs moved. Probably the most challenging aspect of the production from a technical point of view was combining the photo-real but animated dinosaurs with the real world backgrounds in 3D. This took a huge amount of painstaking work, and we used many different kinds of environmental visual effects, like fire, water, dust and snow to make the two aspects of the images seamless and totally believable. Watching on the big screen in 3D you should feel as though you're really there, as if you've travelled in a time machine.
This is very different to the original BBC series although, of course, that was an inspiration for us. At the time it was the most ambitious project ever on dinosaurs and changed people's views of them. This is not a documentary but an entertaining, character led story, about a young dinosaur growing up, and all the adventures he has though his life.
Patchi is our hero and we follow him from the first few days in his nest. We are with him as he grows up, we are with him on his adventures, with the friends he meets and the dangers he encounters. We discover that there's far more to him than we ever thought when he was being kicked around in the nest. He is overshadowed by his older, arrogant brother Scowler who seeks to dominate him throughout his life. But Patchi is very curious, he doesn't give up, he's caring towards his friends and eventually those qualities win through.
So I hope audiences, especially kids, will find it really fun. But it is all inspired by real dinosaurs and what we know about them, so you also learn a lot, and also go on an amazing adventure to a time long gone. The 3D on a big screen definitely gives you the experience of really being there.
Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie is released in UK cinemas 20 December