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

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