View all projects

Prehistoric Planet: Season 1

Prehistoric Planet in collaboration with the BBC Natural History Unit, was released on the 23rd May 2022 to great acclaim from critics and fans alike.

Prehistoric Planet began as an idea by Mike Gunton (Creative Director, Factual – BBC Worldwide), the mastermind behind Planet Earth. Together with Showrunner, Tim Walker (Ice Age Giants), and Executive Producer Jon Favreau (The Lion King, The Jungle Book), they wanted to create a new dinosaur documentary that would take viewers back 66 million years and feel like they were watching these amazing creatures in real life.

Adam Valdez
Andy Jones
VFX Supervisor
Elliot Newman
VFX Supervisor
Kirstin Hall


MPC’s work began almost three years ago, working closely with the BBC and their team of experts, led by paleontologist Dr. Darren Naish. Our team of over 900 crew across London, Los Angeles, and Bangalore crafted over 1,200 shots with pixel-perfect, scientific precision, creating 95 creatures, 31 unique sequences, and almost three hours’ worth of VFX screen time (double that of a Hollywood CGI-heavy movie).

MPC Previsualization teams, based in LA, charged ahead with setting the scenes of each episode, under the guidance of show Directors, Adam Valdez and Andy Jones. “We had to work out every story with the scientists to make sure that it’s not only scientifically accurate but also fulfills our dreams of seeing these animals come to life,” said Adam Valdez. “Using virtual production and virtual reality helped us envisage how the dinosaurs would look on screen, within real-life environments.” Andy Jones continues, “We used an iPad to see a dinosaur we were animating in real time to follow it around, zoom in and get the type of coverage you would get if you were filming a real animal in the wild today.”

“I think one of the most exciting components about being on the pre-production side of things is being able to have kind of a vision for what story are we telling here. I think what we were able to do with this series is really capture some of those more endearing stories that we as everyday humans relate to,” explains Patrick Smith, Head of Pre-Visualisation. “There’s a certain echo in the beauty of this kind of filmmaking that you can enjoy and find endearing as well.”Following the previsualization stage, we joined the Natural History Unit to film at different locations worldwide to match previs guidance before heading back to the studio to begin our extensive VFX work. Our teams visited 28 locations over several weeks, to capture the Planet Earth documentary-style environments required for the show.

“This was a different kind of shoot to our usual TV show or movie. We were shooting a documentary, so we had to go to some quite remote locations with a small crew, but still capture the same amount of data we’d normally aim for on a regular shoot.” Said Kirstin Hall, Associate VFX Supervisor.

“We began this project with the aim that the show is no different than other wildlife documentaries, like Planet Earth or Blue Planet. This project was huge. Some 95 dinosaurs were created, and every single one had to be scientifically accurate and move and behave totally realistically.” Kirstin continues, “The plates were very difficult to capture because it’s unlike any other movie or film that we would shoot. It’s like a documentary, so we were shooting in remote locations with a very small crew but trying to gather the exact same amount of data as we would for any other visual effects.”

For this spectacular series to come to life, it required a large team of experts with specific knowledge, and every team across the filmmaking and visual effects process certainly delivered. Our overall aim for the show was to deliver something special to audiences.

Prehistoric Planet is different from other dinosaur shows in that it took the combined talents of the BBC, Natural History Unit, and MPC to create something very special and unique. The way the teams film wildlife documentaries, coupled with their wildlife expertise, scientific knowledge, and filmmaking sensibilities, was crucial to how this story was told,” said Seng Lau, Animation Supervisor.

“Combine their talent and expertise in filmmaking and science, with our VFX creature expertise and you end up making the most realistic photorealistic creatures and the most honest portrayal of the dinosaur world that we could possibly have made. I think that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Seng continues.

MPC worked closely with Jon Favreau on The Lion King and The Jungle Book, where, similarly to Prehistoric Planet, the team used virtual production. “It’s always great working with Jon Favreau. We’ve got a legacy of projects with him, which put us in a great position from the start because we understand Jon as a filmmaker,” said VFX Supervisor, Elliot Newman. “I think one of the challenges that we had for this project was just the scope and complexity of the scale of the project in total because, on a typical production, there will be a lot more continuity throughout, so you can work out exactly what your problem areas are as you go. But Jon has a great eye for detail and realistically portraying things, which really helps us in the animation process.”

Contact us

Get in touch to take the first steps toward making your vision a reality.

Contact us