T. rex Skeleton Crew
[Two pairs of blue gloves appear and flex fingers in an industrial-looking white space with visible dinosaur fossils.]
[Two logos appear: 150 years of the American Museum of Natural History, and VIVE.]
VIVIAN TRAKINSKI (Director of Science Visualization, American Museum of Natural History): I think one of the opportunities of virtual reality is to really mix the
[Vivian Trakinski is shown in front of a fully fleshed out model of Tyrannosaurus rex, then in profile.]
science and the magic.
[A long-haired woman with VR headset is shown turning around. A black-and-white, pencil-sketch animation of the ceiling in the Museum’s dinosaur halls appears, with hanging lamps, as a flurry of vertebrae fossils flutter through, as though leaves blowing in the wind. Another person wearing a VR headset is shown with controllers in each hand. Nicholas Bartzokas is shown in the gallery.]
NICHOLAS BARTZOKAS (Associate Director of Science Visualization, American Museum of Natural History): VR is unique in that it can really immerse a person completely. They can get a sense of the scale of something.
[A full-color animation of a roaring Tyrannosaurus rex in a Cretaceous environment, followed by a view of three players with headsets moving around in the gallery.]
That's really important for a T. rex because T. rex is very big, and you really feel like you're there.
[A close-up on one player in a headset turning around.]
You feel like you're in the Cretaceous period, face to face with the T. rex,
[Full-color animation of the Tyrannosaurus rex in its environment, roaring and sniffing at camera. Then Nicholas Bartzokas back on camera, then a birds-eye view of the full-color animation of Tyrannosaurus rex in a leafy environment.]
and there's just no replacing that level of immersion.
[Chris Chin is shown in the gallery.]
CHRIS CHIN (Executive Director of VR Content, HTC Vive): We are all about bringing VR into education whether it be schools, libraries, and museums, we really feel that bringing this immersive technology and VR into these spaces.
[Close-up on the long-haired woman in a VR headset laughing.]
allows you to visualize, experience art, science, history, and culture
[Pencil-sketch animation of the Museum’s fossil hall, with full-color fossil bones of the leg and hip flying into place, then the vertebrae flying into place.]
in ways that you could never experience before.
[Player wearing headset is shown in the gallery looking down and lowering and raising arms with controllers.]
[Title sequence: T. Rex: Skeleton Crew. An interactive multiplayer virtual reality experience.]
[Chris Chin shown in the gallery.]
CHIN: When you think about natural history museums,
[Museum facade on Central Park West, with cars moving down the street, followed by close-up on the central banner, which reads: T. REX: THE ULTIMATE PREDATOR]
you think only of the American Museum of Natural History. It's the most iconic institution out there.
[Pan across the Allosaurus fossil mount in the Museum’s Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, a grand space with tall ceilings, detailed ceilings, and colorful murals, followed by a sweeping shot to show the tall neck of the Barosaurus.]
[A VR player wearing a headset in an office space with posters.]
TRAKINSKI: We've been experimenting with VR for a couple of years now, knowing that it's something
[Wider shot showing VR player with colleagues on computers, monitoring the screen and watching the player, then Vivian Trakinski shown in the gallery.]
that visitors were very interested in and knowing that it's a great opportunity
[Computer animations of fossils, and close-up views of moving skeletal parts, appear on screen.]
for us to engage them in the three- and four-dimensional datasets that our scientists are working in.
[Vivian Trakinski shown in the exhibition gallery.]
When HTC Vive approached us for a potential collaboration,
[Chris Chin is shown speaking while Vivian Trakinski continues to narrate.]
we saw it as a real opportunity to move from prototyping and experimentation
[Creative team around a conference table, in active discussion.]
into full implementation.
[Close up on developer nodding and working at a computer, with another team member in the background.]
And so together,
[Vivian Trakinski shown in front of the T. rex model in the gallery.]
through this collaboration, we've been able to create a cutting-edge,
[Three players with headsets shown playing in the gallery.]
multiplayer, interactive, wireless experience.
[Close up on one of the players, in a headset, walking and raising arms with controllers in hand, then another wide shot of the three players lifting their arms to “place” fossils.]
BARTZOKAS: Social experiences bring families together. That's why they come to the Museum.
[Nick Bartzokas speaks to camera, with a poster of T. rex in the background.
So, to be able to bring them into VR,
[Scene from the pencil-sketch animation of the VR, of the three player avatars in hats and shirts working on adjacent platforms with various fossil pieces.]
and not isolate them and, instead, allow them to see each other and
[From point of view of one of the players, looking at another player’s avatar waving their floating glove “hello.” Then, a view of the three players with headsets playing in the gallery.]
experience that Cretaceous world together—that really is something
[Close-up on one player in a headset raising her arms above her head.]
that we strive for.
[Pencil-sketch animation of the room, with fossils swooping through past an avatar and a fossil skull.]
TRAKINSKI: So, once we had a creative concept, we worked very closely with the scientists
[Profile of Vivian Trakinski in the gallery, then a view of the VR players with headsets nodding to a developer who’s watching them play. One player gestures as if describing some detail of the scene she is watching. Developer looks back at her screen.]
with our T. rex model to ensure the accuracy of the placement of the bones, for instance.
[View of the pencil-sketch animation with a full-color T. rex skull, replaced by a shot of the model T. rex skull in the gallery in a near one-to-one match. A pan around the T. rex skeleton model, then a shot of the avatars in the VR experience clicking bones into place as the skull snaps its teeth.]
MARK NORELL (Division Chair and Macaulay Curator, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History): The T. rex in the VR experience is really the same T. rex you have here.
[Mark Norell, facing camera, in the gallery.]
So, this model back here is kind of the latest and greatest,
[Pans of the T. rex model, with close-ups on the open mouth and slobbery-looking teeth.]
and we feel by far the most accurate T. rex
[Mark Norell shown in the gallery. ]
model that's ever- reconstruction that's ever been developed.
[View of pencil-sketch animation with gloves picking up large vertebra fossils and placing them on a column. Vivian Trakinski shown in gallery.]
TRAKINSKI: So, visitors will get to spend a couple of minutes actually assembling a T. rex skeleton and then
[Pencil-sketch animation showing an avatar dressed in red hat and blue shirt picking up fossil teeth and snapping them into the skull.]
thanks to the magic of virtual reality we can fully assemble that entire V. rex
[Small fossil pieces swoop in towards a nearly completed T. rex skeleton in the pencil-sketch animation of the gallery, with bones snapping into place one by one as the skeleton continues to take shape.]
skeleton and it will come to life and the visitors will be transported from a
[Vivian Trakinski shown in gallery.]
museum hall to the paleo environment, to Hell Creek, Montana where the T. rex
[Pencil-sketch animation dissolves into brown floor, Where the Wild Things Are-style, as a full-color leafy animated scene begins to emerge.]
roamed 65 million years ago.
[Ceiling and walls continue to disappear to be replaced by leafy trees, blue sky. The fully fleshed-out T. rex is shown walking and grunting.]
[T. REX GRUNT]
[Vivian Trakinski shown in gallery.]
TRAKINSKI: This VR experience brings the goals of science visualization to life as no
[Visitors in headsets shown looking up and around.]
other platform could. We were able to transport visitors back to the time of
[Close-up on a visitor in a headset.]
Tyrannosaurus rex and put them in place with the tyrannosaur.
[Full-color animation of a T. rex jumping up to try and nip a pterosaur that soars overhead.]
They can really get a sense of the scale of that enormous creature.
[Vivian Trakinski shown in gallery.]
They got a sense of what it would be like to be right face-to-face with Tyrannosaurus rex
[Animation of T. rex looking at camera, then Vivian Trakinski shown in gallery.]
and that's bringing the science to life.
[Copy appears on screen: Catch T. rex: Skeleton Crew. March 11, 2019-August 9. 2020. At the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibition T. rex: The Ultimate Predator. Logos of the American Museum of Natural History and HTC Vive appear.]
[T. REX FOOT STOMPS, HUFF]
Find out more about T. rex Skeleton Crew, an interactive, multiplayer virtual reality experience featured in the new exhibition T. rex: The Ultimate Predator for visitors ages 12 and up.
Please note: as of March 11, Skeleton Crew has been suspended to maintain health and safety during the COVID-19 virus. Read more.