This weekend the first official stinker of the 2009 movie season hit theaters with the release of Will Ferrel's version of Land of the Lost. With a budget of over 100 million dollars the film opened nationwide to a meager 17 million dollar take at the box office.
The special effects for this version of the show were light years ahead of the rough stop motion and video composites from the original series. This new version of the show featured stop motion effects from the Chiodo brothers, who also served as producers on the show. The Chiodo's were well known stop motion animators whose previous credits included such films as Critters, and even the Tim Burton directed short Vincent. The original show was always shot on soundstages using video cameras, but the new show was entirely shot on location in the Descanso Gardens forrest in southern California utilizing film cameras instead of video tape. Each episode was shot over the period of four days.
According to the Chiodos the FX technique utilized in the original show was to animate the stop motion puppets in miniature sets, then composite the live action footage onto that -- ending up with a frame that was 90% miniature and 10% live action. For the 90s version the stop motion dinosaurs would be composited onto live action plates shot on location with the actors, reversing the technique and ending up with a frame that was 90% real instead. The arsenal of FX techniques employed by the Chiodo's on the show wasn't limited to stop motion animation. They also utilized animatronics, performers in suits, perspective shots, blue screen shots, and puppetry.