Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Every Once in a While, I get a Crazy Idea


Don't ask my why I love them. They're just neat. I know, I know, they don't look like the ones in Jurassic Park (you're talking to a geology and paleontology nerd, I know they had feathers, and I think it makes them look like oversized chickens), but you have to admit, the ones in the movie looked hella cool.

I've wanted to make a velociraptor costume for a long time, but it was such a hugely intimidating costume that I never dared tackle it. But, just recently, the Stan Winston School gave us this glorious behind the scenes look at the SUITS, yes, suits, they built for Jurassic Park. (I had always thought those velociraptors were digital!) 

Jurassic Park - The Evolution of the Raptor Suit with John Rosengrant

For some reason, this made it seem less daunting. I'm not going to do everything exactly how they did it. They have access to resources I couldn't even dream of getting my hands on, but it's given me a huge insight into how I'm going to do this.

First off, I'm going to build some stilts to give my legs the proper bend-back. I have two options for this. The first option is to construct a pair of digitigrade stilts, which you often see used in werewolf costumes. They are a bit more involved than my second option, but the up side is that the digitigrade stilts take a lot of the work off of your calves when you wear them, so they're more comfortable than other options.

The second option that I mentioned was used to make this WOW Draenei costume. These aren't as supportive as the digitigrade stilts, but they are very cost effective, and very easy to make. But, I think that it would be more difficult to stay in the correct physical position wearing these stilts, so right now, I'm leaning toward the digitigrades.

In the movie, the actor wearing the suit had to be in "ski position" the entire time because of how the suit was made. Unless I want to build a GIANT DINOSAUR, which I don't, then I'll probably be doing the same thing. I'm going to have to strengthen my back and leg muscles to do this, because this is going to be a very physically demanding costume to wear. (But, it's going to be so much fun to run around downtown with my dinosaur handler!) Having the digitigrade stilts with their extra support for my calves would definitely take some of the edge off.

Anyway, I've also found myself an easy tutorial on how to make an animatronic hand on Instructables: Simple Animatronic (robotic hand), which I'm thinking about following to create the arms and hands for the raptor. I'm not sure yet how much room I'll have inside the suit, or how many other things I'll have to control (I want to have control over the jaw so it can open and close), so the arms are a secondary priority right now. It would be cool to have articulated arms, but it's certainly not necessary.

So, now the next step is to find myself a cheap mannequin that I can pose into position and build the suit around. Wish me luck!

EDIT: Bah! I just realized that I can make a duct tape double of myself in ski position instead of spending money on a mannequin. Super cheapskate mode, activate! Form of, a raptor!


  1. Wow! Can not wait to see what you come up with!

  2. This is going to be amazing. And your process is always so interesting to follow (thank you so much for sharing).

    I think you need the robotic hands, because we all know velociraptors can open doors (which is the terrifying part). ;-)