The Hobbit – Full Production Video Blogs 1-6 – Lord of the Rings – HD Movie

The Hobbit – Full Production Video Blogs 1-6 – Lord of the Rings – HD Movie

Hello, welcome to the first of our blogs on
the making of “The Hobbit.” It’s amazing to be back here again. This is Bag End exactly
as it was in “The Lord of the Rings.” It was actually built in our B-stage here in Wellington,
which is exactly the same stage as it was built 12 years ago. We’ve been shooting for
a few days now, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to give you a little look
at the lead-out of filming and some of the pre-production that lead up to the first day
of our shoot. And I look forward to keeping you up-to-date as we go through the next two
or three years. See you soon! Oh, you’re in 3D – looking good. See ya. And this pulls
beautifully. This look great when it’s drawn – and it actually works. And he could also
go fighting with the remnants, sort of hanging on to his body and be impaling people. We
wanted to create a very non-human shape. We do need to do a little blog. You might want
to say “hi” to the fans of “The Hobbit.” Shy artists… my dear, my dear. So we’re going
up to wardrobe, and we’re having a look at a couple of dwarf wardrobe and makeup fittings,
which is always exciting – not that we’ll show you much in this particular blog because
we’ll save them for the future. But at least you’ll get to see a little bit of our wardrobe
department. A lot of very busy people working on a lot of costumes. A lot of interesting
textures and detail and leather and embossing, and it’s all pretty cool, yeah? It’s like
sort of a big wizard’s workshop. Hello. Oh my God – hello. You can use it like a mase.
You can just swing, knocking, and cut their throat, and whacking like this. Let me say,
there’s a nice bit were he goes, and takes out about ten orcs with those. Now this is
a familiar set. It’s “Elron’s Chamber,” so it’s an exact copy of the one we had in “The
Fellowship of the Ring.” In fact, just over here on the balcony, is where the Council
of Elrond took place – where the fellowship was formed, and Frodo wanted to take the ring
to Mordor. Also in “The Hobbit” is going to be a lot of new bits of Rivendale that we
haven’t seen before – some really cool bits of Rivendale, actually, that we’ll keep as
a little surprise for the time being. Now there’s an old friend upstairs. Let’s just
have a quick look. Here we are. I’m sure you’ll recognize the statue where the broken sword
sits. And, of course, in the time of “The Hobbit,” the sword is going to be here. It
is strange walking around here because you know it was up about ten or eleven years ago,
and I’m used to looking at a set like this on film, you know, and now we’re walking back
into it again. It’s almost like you’ve stepped inside a movie. It’s a very weird experience.
This is where we’re going to be shooting. It’s the very beginning of our shoot. It’s
the goblin tunnels below the Misty Mountains. It’s a very iconic scene in “The Hobbit,”
where Bilbo has an encounter with, well, you know who it’s with, don’t you? If you’ve read
“The Hobbit.” No need to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t. But this is a little network of
caves. Look, there’s a whole little set of passageways down here. It’s very claustrophobic.
One of the things we’ve done to be able to shoot the shots is make sure that all the
different walls of the cave can be removed so that our big, bulky cameras can actually
shoot the angles that we need. Oh my God, look at this thing here. That looks like a
foot, or an arm. Oh, I don’t know. That looks rather creepy, doesn’t it? Whew. Okay. So
how many chairs do we need? For instance, I reckon Bomber sits at the end. And then
there’s a slight grapple, and when you hop down, it’s like ahhhh. And then it’s like…
yeah. Now, I know it’s sort of safe. This is blocking. This is not really rehearsing,
but we’re kind of giving the actors a walking through and we talk to them about what to
do with the scene. And it’s actually fun because it means when we come to this, we’ve got a
plan. It’d be good if you come forward, and then you realize that there’s something on
your foot. And perhaps, you try to get ride of it first, and then you… This’ll be fun.
This’ll be more fun when everyone’s in makeup and costumes and dying of the heat. Set up
on the corner of the table, we’ve got Killy. Next to Killy, Filly. And then Dorry… Dorry,
and then Nory… Oh my God. Orry, Dorry, Norry, Biffer, Bomber… (mumbling) This is a nightmare.
We’ll have Gandalf here, and Thorin, too. I thought it would be good to give you this
whole doorway to play in kind of. The fire will be blazing as well… Now my prediction
is that it’s all going to go incredibly well on the day, don’t you agree? Um… The tricky
thing is that there are 13 dwarves on this set. The good thing is you’re not in a fat
suit. I am in a nose and false eyebrows, a wig, a mustache, a beard, but you’re right,
no fat suit. Yeah, you’re a winner. You’re a winner every step of the way. And we can
stick a fan up your robe just to give you a bit of air conditioning. Promises, promises.
Well that’s going to work with a little bit of finishing. That’s going to work. Good morning.
Morning. Mornin’. Good morning. So I’m officially the first person in the makeup chair on “The
Hobbit?” Officially. That’s amazing. Chanting… More chanting… My name’s Richard, I’m from
London, England. I would like to give thanks on behalf of everyone here, and visitors for
this ceremony, for this celebration, for the blessing of the soundstage, and for the welcome
that you offer to us. We are all deeply honored to be here. And to everyone who has waited
so long for this day, to begin this extraordinary journey filming “The Hobbit.” I’d like to
wish them good luck, good health, and good harmony. Thank you. My name’s Martin Freeman.
I’m in the cast as well. He stole everything I’ve got to say. So it’s been a long time
coming today, an even longer time than we thought it’d be. So I hope at the end of this
journey we are all as close with each other as we have the potential to be. So, thank
you very much. Hello everyone, I’m Andy Serkis. I am standing up just to say on behalf of
the returning crew and past who have come gathered here to go on the journey. We are
just very, very grateful to your incredibly hospitality. And to have the opportunity to
share the passion to tell such an amazing, amazing story in such an amazing country with
such beautiful people. You know, for a long time I thought that going back to the amazing
experience of “Lord of the Rings” wouldn’t be a good idea. But really, you know, now
I’ve come completely around because films are stressful and they’re hard to make, but
ultimately what makes them fun is the people that you work with. And the fact that we’re
going to be working with a lot of the old gang, with a lot of friends, and obviously
making some new friends is really the point of being here. So I’m extremely thrilled.
If somebody came up to me today and said that we could carry on pre-preproduction for another
six weeks, I’d say no way. Hell no. Let’s just start shooting. And roll sound. Rolling.
And action. In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Sky darkens. And flames. And
cut. That’s great. That’ll do. Thank you very much. Yay! That’s the one. Thank you very
much everybody for a great first block, and have a great break. Everyone’s having a break,
and we’ll see you back here soon enough. Ladies and gentlemen of the second unit, that is
a wrap on block 1! So we’re just going to get one more pickup in Bag End. Hello. Come
in. Hey Andy. We were going to do one more pickup in here if that’s alright. This is
the video blog pickup. That’s right, there you go the end of block one. Anyway, so we
just wanted to say hi to everyone since we haven’t done one of these video blocks since
the beginning of the shoot. God, it feels like a lifetime. Because you, the first week
of shooting we did with Andy is gone. If he loses precious then we eats it. You weren’t
a second unit director in those days. You were an actor. You were an old-fashioned thespian.
Now I’ve crossed though to the dark side. You’ve now gone to the dark side. I’m wiped.
I’m completely wiped. It’s all yours. Is it? Just give us a good battle. Yeah, okay, okay.
I don’t know how you do it. You get tired. I always just tell people I get exhausted
at the end of the first couple days and stay exhausted until it finishes. We have 250 days
of shooting on these two Hobbit movies, and I think it’s a much better way to divide it
up into three blocks, and then have some time to look at what you’ve done, look at it, hand
visual effects shots over to the CGI guys. You can completely focus on the script revisions.
It’s just a much smarter way to shoot these big films. Yeah, on something of this scale,
too. I mean, when we were given our T-shirts that said 54 days down, 200 to go, I have
to admit I don’t know how great it was to say “wear these on set.” It wasn’t a particularly
moral-boosting moment, was it? Everywhere you turn, on people’s backs was “200 days
to go,” and it was like, “oh God,” I felt tired before lunch, you know? The good news
is that it’s over. The first day back is Monday, the 5th of September. So thank you guys. What
are you guys off to during the break? My lovely wife and I, my wife Haley, and I, we’ve got
a holiday in the south island of New Zealand planned. And my lovely, gorgeous wife Nicole,
and I are just going to work on the house. I’m leaving, shortly after talking to you
for London, which is a long journey. By plane, and once there I immediately go into production
of a play I’m going to do. I’m going to America, to pebble beach, in a week to play some golf.
I’ll work on my tan so I that I can really freakin make a pic when I come back. I’m having
a break. I’m having 4 weeks off. I’m just sleeping in, my favorite hobby. First, we’re
going to Australia to see our oldest daughter. I’m going to run a marathon. I’m going to
attempt to sort of write and record a bit of a psychedelic sludge of rock album. Hitting
the fabric shops in central London. I go home to Thailand tomorrow. To Barcelona to meet
tattoo fans from Spain. Bali for 11 days. London and Paris to see friends. Manhattan
Beach because it’s the closest beach to the airport. I haven’t been home for the last
three years, back in Belgium so my mom is cracking the whip. And then I’m going to Vegas
and spend all my hard earned cash. Do some more swimming and lots of golf. Probably getting
a little bit drunk, a little bit on a holiday. I’m looking forward to getting back with my
mates and getting on the drink, where I won’t get a bad reputation because they already
know what I’m like. And then I’m going back to Ireland to see my family and to see some
of my mates in Belfast for a quiet little weekend. I hope nobody phone’s me for about
three weeks, at least. Hopefully come back totally refreshed and ready to rock on the
next lot. What are you doing on break Andy? Well I’m going back home to maybe have a little
time off to go on and live with the family. And then really, before you know it, I’ll
be back. It’s weird because you get to this point when you’re at the end of a block of
shooting, and it sort of almost feels like you’re going on vacation, but it’s not because
on Monday morning I’m in the cutting room. And then I’ve got to have meetings with Alan
and John and Dan about designing stuff for the second block and then with Richard Taylor
about all the things he has to build. So in some respects I’m back into preproduction
again. But also, I’m in post production because I’m editing. Plus we’re in production because
we’re shooting these movies. So it’s like being in pre-production, production, and post-production
all at the same time. It kind of gets a bit screwy. But before I get to do any of that
I’ve got to jump on a plane tomorrow morning and go location scouting down the south island.
So we’ll take some good pictures. Since we’re going to be doing location shooting during
our next block of shooting, it’s really time to have to nail everything down. Along the
routine, there’ll be about 17 of us that go. We get around in 5 helicopters usually, and
it’s quite a spectacle that we turn up. Peter Carrow, Zane, Brigette, Andrew, Dan Hennah,
Simon Bright the art director, Steve Ingram, John Howe, Ellen Lee, Eric Sanden, Tony Keddy
the grip, Rich Gasow the gaffer, myself, location scout Dave Cummer joins us, and Pete’s assistants,
Sebastian, the faithful Sebastian’s there. Here on the mountains, I put my hand out and
a cup of tea slides into it. That’s what we like. There’s even a Starbucks up here in
the southern Alps. It’s pretty hard to walk and juggle a cup of tea at the same time on
this sort of ground. I never quite prepare for some of these things. I always somehow
imagine it’s going to be dry and warm and nice. At least it’s not raining. We’ll be
not just scouting, which is essentially searching for locations, we’re now returning to the
locations we liked and we’re going to start to talk about the logistics. By the time you’ve
helicoptered everyone in and then you’ve got to helicopter them out before nightfall. You’re
not actually here early morning or late afternoon. You’re right, it’s all broad daytime. On set,
we’re allowing approximately half a rugby field for the essential equipment trucks.
And then our marquee’s crew parking and also unit based parking, which is where all our
makeup and costume facilities are. In essence, we need to create space for two rugby fields
of equipment. It’s weird on locations because you’re standing in the middle of a mountain
or a valley or some beautiful place, and you’re having to figure out, “Where are we going
to put the crew tents, where are people going to get changed, where are the Port-a-Lou’s
going to go?” Because all that stuff has to be where you’re not going to want to point
the camera. You can have Gandalf and all the dwarves running up over this brow here and
scurry hiding there behind these rocks, and just as they get there, you crane up… The
last thing you want to find out in 6 months time as you’re standing on this beautiful
mountain and saying, “wow, this is exactly the shot I want to do” and you find that you’ve
got 20 Port-a-Lou’s right in front of the camera. That’s not what you want to do. So
you’ve got to figure all that stuff out. We’ll be flying over, I don’t know, maybe 30 locations?
We’re shooting locations around the McKenzie country around wild landscapes below Mount
Cook. And we will also be shooting around Denidum Way. More beautiful stone, rock walled
country and that’s quite exciting because it’s an area of Middle Earth we haven’t visited
before. Where we’re scouting presently for the Ancient Murkwood and the Anduin Grasslands
is south of Queenstown. We’re still searching and trying to work out how we’re going to
shoot Lonely Mountain, Misty Mountain paths. You can look over in that direction there.
There are still a few rivers that we’re scouting for. You know, I think we’re getting pretty
close to photographing every decent river in New Zealand now. It would be quite funny
to have 13 barrels all in the middle of this thing, with the guy shouting, “come on, get
on with it! Come on, move it here. Get on. Go faster!” This is a floater. It’s quite
heavy. We’re going to go into some reasonably remote places – sometimes places that very
very few people have seen. There’s plenty of New Zealand that we haven’t seen yet. I
think people think it’s such a small country, and “Lord of the Rings” saw so much of it
that we must have seen everything, but believe me we haven’t. There’s a huge amount of wonderful
locations still to come. That’s great. It’s a great spot. Well, we’ll say goodbye for
now, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed this update, and there well may be another one coming during
the break sometime, so keep your eye out for that. Hello and welcome to our next video
blog. I thought it would be good to carry on talking to Andy Serkis about some of the
fun and games we had during our first block of shooting. Andy – … Andy? Where is he?
Andy! What is this place? This isn’t Wellington. Where am I? Isn’t this where James Bond crashed
his Aston Martin in 1964? And isn’t this where Red Grant trained to be an assassin at the
beginning of “For Russia, With Love?” You know what? I think we should just run the
blog anyway. So what we did is we asked cast and crew to tell us a few of their favorite
memories from the first three or four months of shooting. So please enjoy that, and I’ll
go figure out where I am. What are the things that stand out for you the most from the first
block? For me I think my favorite stuff we’ve done so far has been Gollum’s cave. The way
that Pete did that scene felt like I was watching a play. It was sort of like you could sit
back and watch these amazing guys do their thing. Him and Martin together was fantastic.
It was really cool. Trying to get back into the head of Gollum, I never told this, but
it felt like kind of doing an impersonation of a character that I played a long time ago.
You know it was weird because it was like having to renown it again. It was pretty cool.
It was a nice way of starting. I felt sorry for Martin because he was suddenly thrust
into having to find the character of Bilbo and have to deal with you for a whole week,
going head on the whole time. It must have been a bit intimidating. With a mouth full
of gollum, gollum. It’s going to be a good movie. Check it out. After two years of “Oh
my God, when are we ever going to shoot this film? We had 13 dwarves and a hobbit, we might
have had a wizard as well, and suddenly it’s real. Seeing the sets were, like, amazing.
That’s true. I mean, coming to Bag End for the first time and walking through. It was
the first day wasn’t it, on the job? That was amazing. Can you name them? Name the dwarves?
Ori, Dori, Nori, Biffur, Boma-, Biffa, Biffer, Bombur, Ori, Nori, Dori… I can never remember,
see that’s the problem, you can’t even remember who they are! You have Fili and Kili. There’s
Thorin and Snorin, and Dorin, and Dwalin and Balin, and Biffur, Bofer, and Bomber, and
then there are the 3 Dori, Nori, and Ori – and I think that’s it isn’t it? I think so. 13
dwarves is one of the reasons I dreaded “The Hobbit,” and why I really didn’t think I was
going to make it for such a long time. But the irony is that it has turned out to be
one of the joys of the film. Oh my God. What a challenge. I mean 13 heroes – 14 with Bilbo.
They will have to be differentiated in a way that isn’t necessary in the book, but if you
keep seeing them you want to know who they are, specifically, and what they’re attitude
is, and why they’re on this journey. We need to move now! Come on! Some of the best memories
were getting the dwarves ready. Everybody has kind of helped these actors find their
way through lots of rubber and lots of hair. Walking through a waiting room and getting
to see our designs and going, “actually, I look amazing. I look the most amazing of anyone.”
That was probably the best day, wasn’t it? When you all said, “Gee. Gene’s amazing.”
We did, yeah. Some of them of them actually look pretty vile before they get into the
prosthetics. For some of them, the prosthetic is making them look better, to tell you the
truth which says something. Mark Hadlow, for example, comes to mind. I have this lovely
bit down here and then this mustache that comes up here – I look stunning. Actually,
I should be in centerfold. One of the things quite early on that we discovered was that
Mark Hadlow likes to dress up in costumes, mainly military type things. And the really
weird thing about his sailor outfit is that, below the waist, nothing. But again, though.
He’s a nice bloke, though. One of them doesn’t have to wear a beard. Yes we are all very
jealous of that. He’s the sexy dwarf. I don’t even think he’s got a beard, actually, mainly
because he’s not old enough to grow one. He’s the hot one I suppose, if you like that kind
of thing. But if you like Easter cardigans and knitted mittens, then I’m your fellow.
If there was a boy band in middle earth he’d be the leader, the Robbie Williams, of the
dwarf world, whereas you would be the roadie. I think Bombur, the roadie. I think when people
see the beards, they’re going to come back in big time, huge. Give us a kiss, mwuh. (Dwarf
language). We’ve all learned a bit of the dwarf language. So we all have sort of a selection
of words to fall back on – curses and battle cries. I mean, we speak dwarfish to each other
most of the time. All the time. Okay, here it goes, and Peter can guess what it is, and
then I’ll tell people. (Dwarf language). Peter? It means mighty dwarf. Well you got to do
all the fun stuff in Trollshaw. Yeah we did. I had to shoot dialogue and things, and he
got to do all the fighting troll stuff. Here’s the great thing about the dwarves is that
even thought there’s this comic element to some of the characters, not all of them, but
some of them, when they fight they really fight. We started with three months of intense
training. We did stunt fighting, we did horse riding. We did the gym four times a week,
we did dwarf movement, intensely. They were trying to get us to a point where they could
actually kill us, and bring us back from the dead, kill us, bring us back from the dead
– all with CPR and stuff like that – because that’s what it’ll be like on set. They did
it by breaking us down. They did it by essentially reducing us to the absolute amoeba stage,
and then building us up again as dwarves. We’ve come through it as better dwarves, I
feel. I do, too. I mean, I know that William has discovered his inner dwarf. I have, but
we all have actually. It’s a frightening thing, but that’s the job that had to be done. If
I could say key moments, and block one, arriving in Rivendell and meeting Elrond and dining
at his table, it really feels like you’re stepping into Middle Earth. There are some
who would not deem it wise. What do you mean? You’re not the only guardian to stand watch
over Middle Earth. I remember it now, but later on… whooo! I love working with Hugo
and Cate back in Rivendell, that was great. I still can’t get over being on set with Ian
as Gandalf and then Cate with Galadriel and Hugo with Elrond and feel like you’ve stepped
back into a movie again, you know? Kind of weird. Is this the new one? This is different.
High points really I think was getting Cate Blanchett with a long train. Oh, Cate, that’s
beautiful. They’re all going to want one. Don’t ask me to walk in it. One of the things
that I like is that we’re getting a bit of the music into the movie as well, the songs.
Tolkein wrote quite a few songs for “The Hobbit.” I got to sing a song. You want to hum a few
bars for us now? Oh it’s a classic song. It’s after Cole Porter, Gershwin, that type of
thing. There’s an inn, there’s an inn, there’s a merry old inn, beneath an old gray hill.
It’s after three he said. I think it’d be great if Dwalin just yelled the whole thing.
Who is this? That’s the Metallica version. Whether or not I’ll be singing at the Oscars
is a different matter, but hopefully some people will sing it in the shower. I think
this is a Peter Jackson question – which dwarf would you like to invite to dinner? Well,
you know, I wouldn’t invite any of them except myself. I’m afraid their table manners aren’t
the best. You get your fist, and you do that! I would not want Bifur over for dinner. He
would be the bottom of the line. Ori because he’d be very polite. Excuse me. Well it’d
be me, obviously, because I cook. Steven Hunter does pretty well with the bad table manners
because he just eats so much. Have you seen the size of him? I mean, good Lord, he’s enormous.
I’ve tried to talk to him about cutting down his cholesterol and his butter intake. I don’t
think you’d invite Nori because he’d steal all the silverware. You’d never invite Graham
McTavish because he would sit there and glare at you and show his forearms. Dwalin’s a real
warrior, and at parties he goes completely mad, like so many Scottish people. There you
go! Well the words, “kettle, black, calling, pot” come to mind. I don’t think you’d invite
any dwarf to dinner actually. I wouldn’t have them all together, though, not 13 of them
– maybe a couple at a time. Special person to meet here, John Reese Davies. It was fun
on one of the days that we were on Bag End that John Reese Davies came to visit. And
it was great to introduce him, not only to Gloine, who is his father in the story, but
also to all the other dwarves. It’s just like coming home to family. I predicted what John
would say, and he pretty much said it word for word. I could just imagine him saying,
“Oh, you poor bastards.” That’s pretty much what he went on to say. You poor buggers.
When he gets you running up a hill in full armor, you’ll enjoy that. You are going to
be spectacular, and you’ll be chased by women all around the world. But only if you’re in
costume and makeup! We’ve been here since January 13th so what is that? 5 months? And
we haven’t even scratched the surface. One of the biggest moments was when we all put
our gear on, and we all stood together, sort of looking around at each other into the character’s
faces. Standing in a circle and looking at the guys who were going on a quest, it sent
a tingle up my spine. Thank you, that’s terrific – I think we can check the gate on that. Thank
you very much. Thanks guys. Thank you very much. Bittersweet moment because it’s time
to leave. Hasta La Vista, then driving off. I’m waiting for someone, sorry. Just go. Ah
really? Yeah, just go. We’ve had enough go. Are you wrapped? No I’m not wrapped, they’re
keeping the good people. Okay we’ll go now. It’s a bittersweet moment, but it’s time to
leave. Hasta La Vista. Well I hope you enjoyed that. I don’t know if there’ll be any more
because I have to find New Zealand, which I’ve lost. I think it’s over here. Who is
that odd little fellow? Action. Cut. Hi, welcome to our new blog. This time, we thought we’d
talk a little bit about 3D. Get a good look at your opening shot. Let’s get this arm in
a little closer. Watch your back. Hi, I’m Angus. Welcome to the world of 3D. Shooting
“The Hobbit” in 3D is a dream come true. I mean if I had the ability to shoot “Lord of
the Rings” in 3D I certainly would have done it. What I actually did on the “Lord of the
Rings” is I had a 3D camera taking 3D photographs. Hopefully, one day maybe even on 3D Blue.
We might be able to show you some of the 3D photos from 10 or 12 years ago. I’ve got 3D
and I’ve got reading glasses, we’re all good. But now, the reality is that it’s not that
difficult to shoot in 3D. I love it when a film draws you in and you become part of the
experience, and 3D helps immerse you in the film. The essence of our camera system is
the Red Epic. Really it’s this thing that enables us to shoot 3D on “The Hobbit.” But,
of course, to shoot 3D you actually need two cameras. The problem that we have in the cinema
world is that the lenses we use are so large that we cannot get an interocculous similar
to humans, which is the separation between your eyes. For us to get the two cameras as
close together as possible, they have to shoot into a mirror. We have to use a mirror system,
which is rig that is designed by a company called 3ALITY. One’s the left eye, one’s the
right eye. One shoots through a mirror. The other one bounces off the mirror, and so the
two images are perfectly overlaid. With using two eyes, we can move the cameras apart, and
also more importantly is find a convergence point. For example, see around someone’s face
just like you’re looking at a friend. The convergence point is the screen plane itself.
3D forms two places: positive space, which is inside the box what you see behind the
person who is standing on the screen – and negative space, which is what you feel comes
out into the audience, an arm, a bullet, whatever you want. And the whole idea with these rigs
is that you can change the interoccular and the convergence as we’re shooting. We can
see that separation on a 2D screen with a left and a right eye overlay. So we can do
this live, throughout a shot, changing our 3D effect the whole way through. Roll sound.
Rolling. We’re watching the 3D movie as we make it. It looks so good. You almost feel
like you’re in it. Action! A lot of people have an image of 3D being big and cumbersome,
and that’s true, but we’ve got a lot of different rigs that we’ve built for a lot of different
purposes. It’s actually easier in this weird, 3D world to have different camera systems
for different uses. So this is a camera we built to go on a crane that can move around,
and it never comes off the crane. This is the TS5 in a handheld mode. It’s our main
workhouse camera. It’s light, it’s small, so it allows Peter to get into very tight,
narrow corridors and caves as if he would with a 2D camera. Mobile camera work has always
been very important for the films that I’ve made, and the last thing that I wanted to
do when we went into 3D was to restrict or change the shooting style. So with the camera
doing this as well, you don’t need me to do much. It was very important for “The Hobbit”
that we feel like the same filmmakers who have gone back into Middle Earth to tell a
story. We’re shooting at the same speed as you would shoot in 2D. The dollies, cranes,
steadicam, we put it on the shoulder, and we shoot handheld the same as we would always
shoot a movie. Of course once you’ve got 3 or 4 cameras for main unit, you need 3 or
4 cameras for second unit, which is 8 cameras, which is really 16 cameras. This is the world
of the camera department. We have 48 Red Epic cameras, and they’re on 17 3D rigs. This one’s
called Walter, which was my grandfather. This one is Ronald, my uncle, Emily was Fran’s
grandmother. Perkins was actually Fran’s dog. Whitchipoo, Frank, Bill is my dad. Fergus
is the name of one of our Pugs. Tricky Woo, that’s the name of our Peckinese. Stan is
another one of our Pugs. This camera’s called John and Paul, George and Ringo, who were
not relations of mine. Are we having fun? Yayy! We’re not shooting film. We’re shooting
digitally. We shoot onto these cards, which slide in the side of the camera, and each
one of these is 128GB. On top of that, you’re shooting at 5K resolution. A very sharp, clear
image. You need like a chart, but 5K is there, 4K is about there, and then you’re 1080 home
TV is down there, so that gives you an idea of the amount of information we’re capturing
on these. Let’s do another one of those. We’re shooting “The Hobbit” at a higher framerate,
at 48 frames/second, which is twice the normal 24 frames. The human eye sees 60 frames/second.
So 48 frames is more of a natural progression toward giving the viewer what they’d actually
see in the real world. The people who have seen scenes from “The Hobbit” at 48 fps often
say it’s like the back of the cinema has had a hole cut out of it where the screen is,
and you’re actually looking into the real world. Once you add stereo, and it gives you
that extra ability to control depth, you can devise ways in which it can become part of
the story telling of a film. For instance, in Murkwood, we really play on the fact that
it’s a forest that’s kind of hallucinogenic almost. It draws you in. It makes you part
of it, and you may never get out. We just want you to stay where you are, and then – Stay
back! Stay where you are. Murkwood is a big forest, and it’s full of vines and sinister-looking
trees I suppose you’d say. It has a lot of things hanging down, things coming from all
sorts of angles, and it helps us with the 3D to be able to push into that, and try to
get the audience to feel that they’re actually trying to move into the forest with the cameras,
and give it that dark and look-over-your-shoulder feeling. Color-wise, with the Red camera,
it tends to eat camera a little, and so we add more color. If you look at the ungraded
footage the trees look incredibly psychedelic. They look like they were painted in 1967.
We wouldn’t normally be quite as bold as this, even in Murkwood, which is an enchanted forest,
so it’s like we oversaturate. In the movie, they won’t look anything like that. They’ll
be graded down and you’ll just get the barest hint of color in the finished film. They’re
coming back! 3D, 48fps is pretty unforgiving, and we have to change our whole way to go
about coloring these things because what we’ve found out in early test is that if there wasn’t
enough red in these pieces, they would punch up yellow and react differently than normal
skin with blood running through it. So, here’s an example. This is Graham McTavish as Dwalin,
and we’ve had to add a lot of red tones to his makeup. So if you notice, if you stick
your hand up next to your face, how incredibly pale this man is right now. I’ve barely seen
daylight for the last 6 months, which is why. So we have to add the blood and the paste
to make him look like a normal flesh tone. It looks freaky now, but on film it’s going
to read beautifully – fingers crossed. With the 3D HD stuff, it is amazing how when people’s
hair moves around on the wigs, it has to actually be the real thing. It has to be real hair.
And you find that because the number of frames/second you’re using and so forth, if you’ve got real
hair moving around, it just look real. I’ve never worked on a film that’s 48 frames/second
and uses the cameras that we’re using. It’s challenging to look for fabrics that work.
I know full well that a fabric we bought ages ago for a dressing gown for Bilbo would probably
make people feel sick if they saw it on camera. It’s got spots on it with a little spot inside
it, and it would just be like someone throwing stone at your face I think. I’ve avoided that
fabric like the plague. It’s in very poor taste! Others are just a joy to behold, and
the camera picks it up, and the audience can see every last detail, so in that sense it’s
really exciting. This film is really breaking new grounds in many ways as far as the technology
of the filming goes. But John and I are still working in our time honored methods of pencil
and charcoal, composing pictures in 2D. We thought we’d try to come up with some way
of actually incorporating a 3D aspect into the way we were producing the concept art
that might communicate more clearly to Peter and to the other technicians. So what we’re
doing is two drawings. One is in red, one is in blue, and the 3D glasses have a red
lens and a blue lens, one for each eye. This is probably the first cinema production where
the concept art has been done in 3D. Rather than just sharing the same office, we’re actually
sharing basically the same vision. There’s been a bit of a tendency for me to take on
the blue, and obviously sitting on the righthand side of the picture it’s easier to actually
get your head around the left side. It doesn’t make sense when you try to explain it like
that. It’s a huge help for Peter because we’re actually proposing the full depths. I mean,
it means Peter has to wear glasses when he looks at our art, but – My God, coming at
ya, look at that! If you have a pair of these glasses at home, you should be able to see
the artwork in 3D. You look great – very 3 dimensional. You’ve definitely improved. So
I hope you’ve found this blog interesting. I know it’s a bit frustrating because everything
we’ve been talking about you can’t actually see at the moment. You can’t see the 3D, you
can’t see the 48 frames, you can’t see the 5k, but you will. December 2012, you’ll finally
get a chance to see what we’ve been talking about – anyway, I’ve got to get back to set.
It looks like they’re almost ready for me down there. We’re actually shooting today
Pine Forest, although as you can see it’s not really Pine Forest. It’s a polystyrene
and plaster Pine Forest. Very shortly, we’re going to be leaving the studio and moving
onto locations for a few months. So the next time we see you will be from a location somewhere
in New Zealand. Catch up with you soon. Dwarves and boats, everybody thinks they’re a sailor.
Welcome to our new blog, which is about the logistics of location shooting. We’ve been
traveling pretty much the length and breadth of New Zealand shooting locations for “The
Hobbit.” It’s been great to get outside. It’s been great to get that texture of Middle Earth
into the movie after many, many weeks of shooting in the studio, we’ve established our characters,
we’ve established our story, and it was finally time to get on the road and establish the
landscapes of Middle Earth. So they’re currently moving 500 of the crew to Hemington, and then
about 200 2nd unit crew to various parts of the country. We like to call it the biggest
logistical move in cinematic history. Just the size of the fleet, plus 240 vehicles – as
you can see, we’re moving around a huge surface. I think everyone is secretly scared, but quietly
excited. The main reason for going on location on the project is to capture the scenic beauty
of New Zealand. Peter’s often said one of the things that won the fans over so much
in the “Lord of the Rings” series was the unbelievable vistas and scenics because they
were so magnificent. People are really excited about getting outside and taking this on the
road. These are our changes for the main unit crew, so this is how big we actually are.
We have probably over 500. Everybody’s got to be in the right vehicle at the right time,
they have to travel to the right place, they have to have rooms to be able to sleep in.
I can’t begin to imagine the logistics involved with shifts the crew, the cast, the equipment
we have on “The Hobbit.” It’s pretty mind blowing. You have to take everything with
you to produce the films. We’re having to provide our own electricity, areas to cook
food, areas for people to sit down and eat. We’ve got to provide water, the bathrooms
and the toilets that people need. You have to have weather cover, heat when it’s cold,
and you’ve got to provide cooling when it’s hot. The daunting aspect of that is that it’s
all got to get into trucks, it’s all got to be on wheels, and it’s all got to be ready
to roll. We’re about the try and cram all of this, and all of that, all of this, some
of that, most of this, both these trucks, most of these people, but not that scissor
lift up there. That stays. They’re going to go into some of these trucks. These guys here
are going to go in these trucks, too. One of our biggest challenges on the production
is actually shooting all the locations in one hit, for both main unit and second unit.
You can certainly start here. We’re away for about 7 1/2 weeks if the weather holds up,
so we’re basically praying that every spot we go to in the country is sunny and beautiful.
The first location is Matamata, up in old Hobbittown. So we’re returning back to the
first sop from “Lord of the Rings,” which is pretty exciting. We do a fantastic job,
and we’re out of here at 4 o’clock in the morning, and as you can see we’re totally
under control. Why aren’t you helping? Well I’ve got to carry this. We go to some of the
remotest locations in New Zealand, and if there’s one things grips can’t live without,
it’s their latte, soy. That’s right. We’re getting ready to go away, and so far we haven’t
packed anything, and tomorrow’s our last day. The hobbits are doing a big scene against
green screen on the Hobbittown. This is my little hobbit and my sonny hobbit. So we need
the largest team on because they’re also going to try to pack. And they’re going to say “where
did you put it because I’ll need it,” and “where did you put that wig? Did you put it
away? No we need to put it on his head now.” We’ll be here until midnight trying to load
up the boxes because they leave at 4 o’clock in the morning. Be sure to pack scotch, tequila,
wine and beer, a heap of plants, sixty kilos of toilet paper, a few artificial trees, socks,
and some jaegermeister. We’ve got a stock truck coming in to take our 49 mixed age sheep,
15 chickens, 9 goats, 5 free road steers, 4 pheasants, 2 moscove ducks. We’ve also got
Michael Jackson, the walking chicken on the lead. We’re just going to take you through,
get your contracts done. We’ve got lunch packed for you to take on the road, so just follow
me. The keys are in it? The keys are in it. We’ve got ups units installed in all of the
trucks, purely so we can watch what’s happening as they move up and down the country. If you
don’t arrive, we can’t shoot. The last truck should be out of here in half an hour, and
then Hobbittown. Just remember that the reason you’re on this plane is because you’re so
valuable to the production. Our main unit had over a hundred units on wheels traveling
to the first location. That was quite a feat in itself, having that amount of drivers on
the road. Once we get in, we arrive and it’s about an eight hour turnaround from when the
first truck turns up to when the unit base is actually functional for filming. They’ve
got to get these trucks level for working in. They’ve got to get them all powered up,
and get them all functioning so quickly: prosthetics, makeup, costume, catering. It’s not just a
case of a small crew going into very out of the way places. We’re literally occupying
the space of a football field – I think it’s actually two football fields. We’ve moved
7,000 cubic meters of dirt to accommodate everything that goes along with making a film
of this size with this many people involved. It’s very much a mini city. It’s amazing how
they went home on Friday night in Wellington, turn up to work here on Monday morning, and
then everything’s here, packed up in order and looking good and working. It’s okay. Rough
day at the office today mom. So after 110 days in the studio, we finally make it ou
into the sunshine. But I’ll tell you what, Hobbittown is looking fantastic. The arts
department and the greens department have been working for nearly two years. The grasses
have grown, the flowers are out, and the plastic ones have even bloomed. It’s weird when you
come back to a place you literally thought you’d never see again. This is a great spot.
To be standing there with Elijah dressed up as Frodo, it was the nearest thing I think
I’m ever going to come to a time machine. This is actually the first time I’m stepping
foot down into Hobbittown. I’ll never forget that feeling of coming to Hobbittown for the
first time, so much time spent in this universe, you know with these characters and I keep
referencing the fact that I turned 19 when I came to Hobbittown for the first time. 11
years ago. I’m 30 now. I don’t know, there’s so many feeling of nostalgia and history.
We’d been searching pretty much the whole country for this rolling, green countryside.
We were up here scouting around and found this place called Buckland Road, and sure
enough when we flew over it we found the round tree, the hill, the lake – it was all meant
to be. Of course, then it was a matter of talking to the owners of the land, getting
their permission to shoot here and build here. Well it was a Saturday afternoon during a
rugby game that he came and knocked on my father’s door, and he said they wanted to
make a movie, and my father actually said, “Lord of the what?” And I kicked him under
the table quietly, but that’s how it all started. This time around, they built it for real.
So before, all of these hobbit holes were built using polystyrene. When the filming
was finished, they tore it all down. Even though it’s been available for tours and for
people to look at, we didn’t have any of the hobbit holes. Doing “The Hobbit” now, it gave
us the ability to rebuild hobbit holes out of permanent materials. Materials that won’t
deteriorate and that we can go around showing people what’s involved with making a movie
behind the scenes. It’s all, I mean that’s actual rock, stone, it’s pretty amazing. Hobbiton’s
going to stay exactly as it is today, which is fantastic. There’s real wood, there’s real
stone, real bricks, and it’s hopefully going to be here for decades to come. It’s a great
gift, and as the minister of tourism, I’m right with it – so well done. It’s some prime
real estate – hobbits. Hello, you guys having a good day? Yeah. How’re those feet treating
you? They’re alright. Are they? When you’re at Hobbiton you forget that you’re on a film
set. Seeing it like this kind of living model village is just extraordinary, and you just
totally believe this place exists. And that’s because it does. Maybe I’ve smoked a little
bit too much of this now. It’s an authentic village. It’s 100% 360 degree look-wherever-you-like
little hobbit village. You can imagine just being a hobbit in this environment, get up
and have a cup of tea on the doorstep, listen to the birds and the frogs, the children running
around… go to the market and buy a big bottle of beer and drink it – and loving it! You’re
not really running a film set, you’re trying to put yourself in the mindset of a hobbit,
and figuring out well where you’d like your house to be. There are 44 personalized hobbit
holes, and each hobbit hole has a different little detail depending on their location.
That’s kind of amazing the door actually open. Hello? Hello? No one’s home at the moment.
They must be at the market. Welcome to the set of “The Hobbit.” So how did you get involved
in this? My four daughter auditioned, and they all missed out – and I got in. So, I
wasn’t a popular father at that point. You guys are up for stealing, aren’t you? Big,
bad hobbits! Check this out. Oh yeah, I like to get a nice combover. Is this going to be
in the movie? We can cut that, it’s fantastic, we’ve got that. So we just finished our first
week on location. I just wish I could move into one of these hobbit holes. I mean, this
would be an absolutely ideal place to live, it really would. This is the sort of place
I’d very happily retire to. In fact, I might think about it tonight, or the next day. Good
retiring here, that’d be quite nice. The end. I hope you enjoyed the first part of our location
block. The second part will be ready very early in the new year. And in the meantime,
we’ve just shot the last shot of “The Hobbit” in 2011. So it only remains to do one last
thing, which is to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Welcome to the first blog of 2012. We’re shooting
part 2 of “The Hobbit” today. We’re here in lake town, but I can’t show you anything.
I can’t show you the amazing set that’s over there, and the incredibly thing that’s over
there because you’re not allowed to see that until 2013. But what we can show you are the
continuation of our location adventures, so if you remember from our last exciting episode
we were in Hobbiton. So let’s pick up from where we left off and travel around the rest
of New Zealand. So we just finished our first week on location. So it’s goodbye to Hobitton
and hello to our next spot. Here is the weather in Pipui today. It has, of course, been raining.
Welcome to the bluffs people. We’ve brought the weather with us, which is great. We don’t
have the umbrellas in the movie, by the way, just in case you’re wondering. No because
the colors clash. What’s kind of weird is that you’re on the sets in the studio, and
they look so real that you come out on location and it almost looks fake. You just think,
“this can’t exist,” it’s just weird. It’s a trick. It’s mind games. It’s a very nice
environment. Some nice stuff up in there, just going to be a bit lumpy getting stuff
around and building stuff on rocks and bits and pieces, but it’ll be nice. It’s a good
location. I’m just worried about the dinosaurs. So here we are at the Turoa Ski Field, on
the flanks of Mt. Ruapehu. This is the second largest national park in the world. Very ancient
vegetation, magnificent colors, magnificent textures, but very fragile. And hence we’ve
gone to exceptional lengths to make sure the impact on the site is minimized. So it’s about
scaffolding, it’s about elevated boardwalks to keep people off the vegetation. We built
the world’s largest ramp as far as I’m concerned to get down to the thing. When everybody sort
of walked out to the edge this morning, we sort of looked at it and jaws dropped, and
we were like, “Wow, okay. So that’s how we get onto set today.” So this is my favorite
location. It’s beautiful – there’s a mountain, there’s a waterfall, there’s a beautiful view
across the valley there. It’s one of those sort of archetypal New Zealand locations where
you think, “God, New Zealand has such amazing landscapes.” It’s a bit sad when the grips
are going faster than I am and they’re carrying heavy things. Andy Serkis jumped in the icy
cold stream to chase the fish as Gollum about 12 years ago – just over there. So welcome
to the first day on location with 2nd unit. I’ve spent quite a lot of the past few weeks
in a chopper. Because a lot of our stuff was arial coverage. We’d take off and choose our
line and choose the way we were going to shoot it and how we were going to reveal the landscapes.
So we’re using the space cam on all the arial stuff on the show. This particular rig is
set up for 3D. There’s a chopper behind me, isn’t there? The bonuses of being on 2nd unit
is that we do a lot of locations that are too tricky or time consuming for main unit
to go, so a lot of our locations were helicopter only access. So we got very good at loading
in and out of choppers. So you’ve got literally 2 units who are now crisscrossing the country,
both the north and south islands. About half way through our location shoot, 1st and 2nd
units met up at what happened to be exactly halfway through the entire shoot – day 127,
and we commemorated that with a hoodie, a halfway hoodie. It’s 127 days, and it’s two
films. Now I’ve got a 133 day “Lord of the Rings” jumper that was for 3 films. So 133
days for 3 films, and 127 days for 2 films. Easily explained. How? Well we’re all ten
years older, so we’re going a little slower. One of the challenges was showing P.J. what
we’d been up to. So every day, I would then do a kind of edit of the takes that we’d done
and put them together and make some selects, and that would be sent off to Pete. We are
a long way from most of the infrastructure that we know and love, so we’ve had to rely
on satellite technology to do all of our connectivity. These are the three dishes that we’re setting
up today to provide internet for the crew. We’re providing wireless and ethernet. We’ve
also got a separate setup that’s up at the director’s tent that’s beaming in footage
from second unit that basically takes the feed that’s coming in from the cameras, compresses
it, sends it over the internet all the way through, down to Pete’s tent. So far, we’ve
probably used about 6km of cable on the job. I’m not sure where it’s all gone, but we keep
on ordering more of it. Strath Taieri, Central Otago. So this is a location where you can
literally shoot 360 degrees, every direction. We’ve had some incredibly skies, what we call
close encounter of the third kind skies. Warehouse skies are a little boring. Because we’ve shot
over 3 days, we’ll probably replace them with these cool skies. I’d love to do that, get
some real mood into it. One of the days of shooting at this location was actually up
on the hill there, called the rock and pillar range, if you just look over there. It’s pretty
much that distant ridge line between those two rocks. So that’s the rock and pillars,
where we had to have ten helicopters carrying crew, cast, and equipment up the mountain.
This is Adam Brown’s first helicopter ride. Oh my gosh. Are you so excited? I’m well excited.
You should be. And action. Amazing! So we’re picking up at the end of our location shooting
here, and going to Queenstown. Here we are at beautiful Queenstown. We’re just at the
base outside the Earnslaw Burn, which is the most spectacular shooting location I think
we’ve been to yet. We’re shortly going to do a rendition of “The Hills are Alive with
the Sound of Music,” starting with Mark over there. See, he’s getting into his Maria position,
there he is. It’s snow! Bare feet was a bad choice. Now we’ve been to Paradise before.
That’s where we shot a few scenes of “The Fellowship of the Ring” mainly, back in 1999
– Lothlorien Forest. Boromir’s death. The great thing about this job is you see beautiful,
beautiful places like this. So you don’t have to feel sorry for our actors’ leaving home
for 7 1/2 weeks. We’re very well looked after. The catering on this movie has been sensational.
The numbers we’ve been doing on location were between 300 and 400, and then we were doing
570 to 580 because we had quite a few extras there as well. We cook 100 at least kilos
of meat each day. One of the guys pointed out that we’d been through a ton of oranges
already. It’s Formal Friday today, so we’re dressed in suits – one of the only ways for
the crew to know what day of the week it is. Every morning, we crank out about 200 or 300
coffees. We’re heading off to the hills to look after a crew of about 100 people who
are all being choppered into the mountains. It being in the mountains, there’s snow around.
It’s cold. So sometimes in formal dress it’s not practical, so as you can see here, Andrew
has gone from a three piece to a four piece with the addition of a nice, cozy puffer jacket
– because you can’t always look good. Sometimes you have to be sensible. Sometimes you take
for granted the scenery in the country where you live, so to come out on the road was really
amazing. Good morning. Thank you. I can’t believe how nice it is. We’re the luckiest
high-restricted people in the whole world. I think it comes into high-restricted. New
Zealand, looking at its spectacular best, and a lot of really happy actors cavorting
around in front of it. Braemer Station was pretty difficult working conditions for the
cast and the crew because the grounds were uneven. This is a New Zealand native thorn
bush, which is everywhere you ever want to walk. You can’t just parade through the rocks
and the pebbles without looking and suddenly realize that being out of doors in Middle
Earth can be a difficult business, particularly when there’s a pack of orcs or wogs. Dances
with wogs. Heavenly wogs. The boy who cried wog. Aliens vs. wogs. I was a teenage wog.
Enormous amount of running. Scene 88, I think, is actually going to be a third film that
will be coming out between the first and the second. It’s actually, for the most part easier
working inside a studio. But, of course, you know the studio doesn’t have the incredible
vistas, and that’s what we were there for. 8 km from the mount. Unbelievable. This is
a glorious bridge over the glorious river where we are shooting today. I think my favorite
day on set unquestionably was floating down the river in barrels. We’re finally going
to put our dwarves in barrels. Looks like fun. I could do it myself if I wasn’t busy
doing other things. Today we’re swinging over the river. We’ve got some dwarves coming down
in barrels. Keep going everybody. That’s good. That was way cool. And if they ever make that
a ride at any of the Warner Bros. movie worlds – lifetime pass please. While we were there,
our location shooting came to a pretty dramatic end because the police arrived and said they
were about to issue a severe weather warning. Okay, we need to shoot, please, because it’s
raining, so we need to get going. And I’ve never seen a crew pack up their gear so quickly.
So the very next day, everywhere where we were standing, everywhere our equipment was,
our cameras, our actors, the director, was under flood water. It was incredibly dramatic.
The rise in the river level was 20 or 30 feet. And that’s location. So that’s the end of
our location shooting, and we are about to go into our last 100 days, what we’re calling
block 3, and I look forward to talking to you again very very soon.


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