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Hobbit set

Hobbit fans have had quite the week of gifts leading up to Christmas, with first the Official Hobbit trailer being released, followed by another new Hobbit production video.  Hopefully everyone is not Hobbit burnt out, because we have yet another great story to share with you.

Aint it Cool News has released yet another great Hobbit set blog post, discussing their experience being on set and seeing production happen live before their eyes.  Not only do they share some fun experiences, they also have shared some great pictures, (some seen below).  Here is a segment of what they had to say:

” As you can see, the camera went where Peter’s hands are framing that shot, so Martin didn’t have to be fully lifted out of shot, just pulled up enough to sell the motion. I imagine they’ll grab another angle with Martin’s stunt double actually being pulled up and put on a pony. For this shot they just needed to sell him moving up so they have some motion to cut on.

That also explains the apple box Freeman has a furry hobbit foot up on. The action has him walking towards camera and stepping up on that apple box right when Kili and Fili get up to him so he can push up with his foot as they grab his backpack and hoist him up.

As you’re well aware, I’m sure, there’s a famous stigma about working with animals and children in show business. Some usages of this quote are from an actor’s perspective in that animals and children will steal the scene away from even the most charismatic actor every time out, but if I were a betting man (and I am) I’d say the roots of that saying come more from a practical aspect of filmmaking.

Working with either usually means slow going days and when on location that could be particularly frustrating.

It takes a lot of coordination to make the timing work when you have humans and animals in a scene together and I noticed some interesting things the trainers did to make the horses comfortable. For instance, I saw one of the trainers gently sniff the boom mic in front of a horse so the horse would follow suit and realize this fluffy thing hanging over his head wasn’t going to attack him.

Another issue at this location was the cloud cover. It was really cloudy, but not the cool puffy clouds… just white. At one point during filming the clouds parted and beautiful sunshine shined down on us all. However that wouldn’t match with everything they shot the previous day and that morning, so we waited around for more clouds.

Lighting is, of course, crucial for continuity. They can (and probably will) replace the flat white sky with interesting clouds, but if there’s bright sunshine and not the diffused light from previous takes their shots won’t match.

It was a quiet period. The shot had been set up, the work had been done and there was nothing to do but wait. It was kind of like being in the eye of a hurricane. Everything slowed down, the contained chaos of a movie set put on hold. It was pretty relaxing to be honest. After about 10 minutes the cloud cover came back and it was like some evil bastard kid had shaken up the ant farm and everybody was back to work.


Hobbit horse

In this lull I noticed the great artist John Howe was on set. I had seen him around the Stone Street studio set in Wellington, but didn’t want to bug him. I was hanging out with the sound guys Tony Johnson and Corrin Ellingford when Howe came up. I figured he was going to chat with them, but to my surprise he introduced himself to me and complimented the set reports.

I’ve been following his work for years, so I was quite taken aback by the kind words from somebody whose talent I admire so much. He was even kind enough to bring up the reports on his blog (read it here).

Before long he was joined by Alan Lee and we discussed the 3D art they did in the last production video. In reality that started off as joke and they didn’t really draw in 3D, but as the joke took shape they actually did collaborate on that piece, the very first time in all their years of working together that they both drew on one single piece of art. They used the computer to really add dimensionality to it, so that’s why that image really does work in 3D.

I strongly urged them to get it printed up for next year’s Comic-Con and that people would go nuts for it. I know I’d love to have one. They like the idea, but we’ll see.” 

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!


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  • Can’t wait for it!!!. Just the trailer gives me chills…

  • Jon

    wow…i cannot wait for this’s gonna be amazing..

  • Middle-Earth Fan

    Cool! Can’t wait! 1 year left, too long!!!

  • Cowboy Matthews70

    I have waited for this film for so long. I’am so glad its almost here