Quetzalcoatlus in 3D! Leicester pterosaur expert advises Christmas Day highlight

Posted by mjs76 at Dec 23, 2010 12:10 PM |
Six o-clock on Christmas Day. You’ve opened your pressies, had lunch, had a nap, watched The Queen. It’s dark and cold outside but inside it’s time for the highlight of the festive TV schedules: Flying Monsters on Sky 3D!

This hour-long documentary on pterosaurs is written and presented by Sir David Attenborough, a Leicester lad who spent his childhood on what would become the campus of the University of Leicester. But that’s not the only connection with Leicester: Dr David Unwin from our School of Museum Studies acted as an advisor to the film which presents several species of prehistoric flying reptile in eye-popping 3D.

Dimorphodon, Tapejara and the massive Quetzalcoatlus – the largest creature that ever flew – are all brought to life through state-of-the-art CGI along with Darwinopterus, the extraordinary intermediate species which Dr Unwin described last year, opening up a whole new angle of pterosaur studies. Kudos to the producers for avoiding the obvious species: there’s nothing actually wrong with Pteranodon and Ramphorhynchus but they do tend to pop up everywhere, don’t they?

A short, 2D trailer for Flying Monsters is available on the programme’s website. To see the full, stereoscopic epic you will need to have access to the Sky 3D channel which will broadcast Flying Monsters at 6.00pm on 25 December. Immediately beforehand - on Sky 1 in glorious 2D - is a behind-the-scenes programme showing how the creatures were rendered and mixed in with real footage, thereby enabling Sir David to fly a glider alongside a full-scale, adult Quetzalcoatlus.

But if you don’t have Sky 3D, fear not! In the new year, Flying Monsters will screen in selected cinemas around the UK including IMAX venues. At 22m by 16m, an IMAX screen is large enough to show Quetzalcoatlus, with its 12m wingspan, in totally awesome 1:1 scale. The website has a link that allows you to register for updates so you can be first to hear when Flying Monsters is coming to your local screen.

Flying Monsters was produced by Atlantic Productions in association with Sky 3D and National Geographic.

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