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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Video Blog 4 Transcript


Nov 4 2011, 9:27am

Post #1 of 10 (1405 views)
Video Blog 4 Transcript Can't Post

PJ: Action... Cut! Lovely.


PJ: Hi. Welcome to our new blog. This time, we thought we'd talk a little bit about 3D.


Andrew Lesnie: ... get a good look at your opening shot... [?] get a little closer.


Angus Ward (stereographer): Hi, I'm Angus. Welcome to the world of... *3D*.

PJ: 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've done it. What I actually did on Lord of the Rings is I had a 3D camera taking 3D photographs. Hopefully, one day--maybe even on 3D Blu-ray--we might be able to actually show you some of the 3D photos from ten or twelve years ago.


PJ: It's 3D and I've got reading glasses. It's all good.


PJ: 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. But the essence of our camera system is a camera called the RED Epic.

Gareth Daley (3D camera supervisor): Really, it's this thing that enables us to shoot 3D on The Hobbit.

PJ: But, of course, to shoot 3D, you actually need two cameras.

Gareth Daley: The problem that we have in the cinema world is that the lenses that we use are so large that we cannot get an interocular similar to a human's--which is the separation between your eyes--for us to get two cameras as close together as possible, they have to shoot into a mirror.

PJ: We have to use a mirror system, which is a rig designed by a company called '3ality'.

Angus Ward: One's left eye, one's the right eye. One shoots through a mirror, one bounces off a mirror, and so the two images are perfectly overlaid. But, using two eyes, we can move the cameras apart. And also, more importantly, is to find a convergence point, for example, see around someone's face, just like you're looking at a friend.

Sean Kelly (lead stereographer): The convergence point is the screen plane itself. 3D forms two places: positive space which is inside the box which you see behind the person who's standing on the screen, and negative space which is what you feel comes out into the audience--an arm, a bullet, or whatever you want.

PJ: And the whole idea with these rigs is that you can change the interocular and the convergence as we're shooting.


Sean Kelly: We can see that separation on a 2D screen with a left- and a right-eye overlay.

Angus Ward: So, we can do this live throughout a shot, changing our 3D effect the whole way through.

Roll sound.

We're watching the movie in 3D as we make it.

Elijah Wood (Frodo): Wow, that looks so good.

You almost feel like you're in it.



PJ: A lot of people have an image of 3D as being big and clumbersome [sic], and that's true, but we've got a lot of different rigs that we've built for different purposes. It's actually easier in this weird 3D world to have different camera systems for different uses. So, this is a camera that we build to go on a crane, that can move around, and it never comes off the crane.

Gareth Daley: This is the TS5 in a hand-held mode. That's our main workhorse camera. It's light, it's small, so it allows Peter to get into very tight, narrow corridors and caves as he would with a 2D camera.


PJ: Oh, yes, yes, yes!


PJ: Mobile camera work has always been very important for the films that I've made, and the last thing I wanted to do when we went to 3D was to restrict or change the shooting style.


Martin Freeman (Bilbo): So, with the camera doing the [?] as well, you don't need me to do much of it.


PJ: It was very important for The Hobbit that we feel like the same film-makers have
gone back into Middle-earth to tell a new story.

We're shooting at the same speed you'd shoot 2D. Dollies, cranes, steadicam, we put it on the shoulder, and we shoot hand-held--the same as we would always shoot a movie.

PJ: Of course, once you've got three or four cameras for main unit, you need three or four for second unit, which is eight cameras--which is really sixteen cameras... This is the world of The Hobbit camera department.

We have 48 RED Epic cameras, and they're on seventeen 3D rigs.

PJ: This one's called Walter, which was my grandfather. This one's Ronald, my uncle. Emily was Fran's grandmother. Perkins was actually Fran's dog. Witchy Poo, Frank. Bill is my dad. Fergus is the name of one of our pugs. Tricky Woo is the name of a Pekingese. Stan is another one of our pugs. These cameras called John, and Paul, George and Ringo... who are not relations of mine.


PJ: Are we having fun?



Gareth Daley: We're not shooting film; we shoot digitally. We shoot onto these cards, which slot into the side of the camera. And each one of these is 128-gig. On top of that, we're shooting at a 5-k resolution.

Angus Ward: A very sharp, clear image.

Gareth Daley: I need like a chart, but, er, you know, like, 5-k's there, 4-k's about there. Then your ten-eighty home TV is down here, so it gives you a sort of idea of the amount of information that we're actually capturing on these.


PJ: Let's do another one those.

48 frames, yes.

PJ: Yep.


Jabez Olssen (editor): We're shooting The Hobbit at a higher frame rate--at 48 frames per second which is twice the normal 24 frames.

Gareth Daley: The human eye sees 60 frames a second, so 48 frames is more of a natural progression toward giving the viewer what they would actually see in the real world.

PJ: The people who have seen scenes of The Hobbit at 48 frames a second often say that 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, it gives you that extra ability to control depth, you can devise ways in which it can become part of the story-telling of the film. For instance, in Mirkwood, 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.


PJ: What we want is: you just stay where you are then...

Bilbo: Stay back! Stay where you are!


Mirkwood 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, and a lot of things coming from all sorts of angles. And it helps us with the 3D to be able to push into that, and try and get the audience to feel that they're actually trying to move into the forest with the cameras to look at that dark, and that look-over-your-shoulder feeling.

Dan Hennah (production designer): Colour-wise, with the RED camera, it tends to 'eat' colour a little, and so we add more colour.

PJ: If you look at the ungraded footage, the trees look incredibly psychedelic--they look like they were painted in 1967.

Dan Hennah: We wouldn't normally be quite as bold as this, even in Mirkwood, which is an enchanted forest. So, we, like, over-saturate.

PJ: In the movie, they won't look anything like that. They'll be graded down and you'll just get the barest hint of colour in the finished film.


They're coming back!


Tami Lane (prosthetics supervisor): 3D 48 frames is pretty unforgiving, and we have to change our whole way to go about colouring these thing 'cause what we've found out in early tests is that if there wasn't enough red in these pieces, then 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, erm, we've had to add a lot of red tones to his make-up, so, if you notice--if you stick your hand up next to your face--how incredibly pale this man is right now.

Graham McTavish: I've barely seen daylight for the last six months, that's why.

Tami Lane: Yes, so we have to add the blood in the piece to make him look like a normal flesh tone. It looks freaky now, but on film it's gonna read beautifully... fingers crossed.

Peter King (make-up and hair designer): 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, because the number of frames per second you're using and so on and so forth, if you've got real hair moving around, it... just looks real.

Ann Maskrey (costume designer): I've never worked on a film that's 48 frames per 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 that 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 be just like someone throwing stones at your face. So... I've avoided that fabric like the plague.


Bilbo: It's in very poor taste!


Ann Maskrey: Others are just a joy to behold, and the camera picks it up and the audience could see every last detail. So, in that sense it was really exciting.

Alan Lee (art director: conceptual): This film in 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-honoured methods of pencil and charcoal, composing pictures in 2D. And we thought we'd try and come up with some way that we can actually incorporating a 3D aspect into the way we were producing the concept art that might actually 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...


Alan Lee: Don't go too near the edge.


John Howe: This is probably the first serious cinema production where the actual concept art has been done in 3D. Rather than sharing just the same office, we're actually sharing, basically, the same vision.

Alan Lee: Vision, yeah.

John Howe: There's been a bit of a tendency for me to take on the blue, and, obviously, sitting on the right-hand side of the picture, it's easier to actually get your head around the left side. It doesn't make sense when you try and explain it like that... but it's a huge help for Peter, because we're actually proposing the full depth. And it means Peter has to wear glasses when he looks at our art, but...

Alan Lee: Yeah.

PJ: My God! Comin' at you. Look at that. Woah.

Alan Lee: If you happen to have a pair of glasses like these at home, you should be able to see the artwork in 3D.

John Howe: You look great. Very three-dimensional.

Alan Lee: You've definitely improved.

John Howe: I know.

PJ: So, I hope you've found this blog interesting. I know it's a little frustrating because, just about 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 5-k--but you will in December 2012. You'll finally get a chance to see what we've been talking about. Anyway, I've got to get back to the set. It looks like they're almost ready for me down there. We're actually shooting today, as you can see, in a pine forest that's not really a pine forest. It a, er, polystyrene and plaster pine forest. But, very shortly, we're gonna 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.


Nov 4 2011, 9:30am

Post #2 of 10 (500 views)
Does this mean gimmicky 3D? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or maybe 3D will be used in a less subtle way that actually works?

Fruit of Laurelin

Nov 4 2011, 9:31am

Post #3 of 10 (488 views)
Great work! [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone who was on dial-up for many years, I understand the frustration of not being able to watch videos.


Nov 4 2011, 9:37am

Post #4 of 10 (478 views)
Oh yes, many thanks too... [In reply to] Can't Post

I typed up the Stephen Fry transcript recently and now know how much time it takes. I wouldn't have the patience to do it for a 10 minute video that's for sure! Heart

Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 4 2011, 12:07pm

Post #5 of 10 (447 views)
That's awesome [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't want to "overwatch" the video lest it grow old on me quickly (Tongue), so reading the transcript is the next best thing.

Also, I noticed someone requesting it (in the other thread) so that they could translate it, so they should be pretty happy right now. I pity the poor fans who don't understand English... I never thought that the vlogs would seem "empty" to them.

By the way, my confidence in these films being as great as LOTR has increased after hearing PJ say "It was very important for The Hobbit that we feel like the same film-makers have gone back into Middle-earth to tell a new story."

\m/ Cool

Tol Eressea

Nov 4 2011, 2:43pm

Post #6 of 10 (366 views)
Great work, thanks a lot! // [In reply to] Can't Post


The Shire

Nov 4 2011, 8:26pm

Post #7 of 10 (361 views)
Video Blog 4 Transcript by RoseCotton [In reply to] Can't Post

Great job. I would not understand some parts in this video..However, I understood now.. thank you so much..

(This post was edited by huan on Nov 4 2011, 8:27pm)

The Shire

Nov 5 2011, 12:30am

Post #8 of 10 (275 views)
Nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

You're so nice, thankyou! We'll use it to help us translating the videoblog in italian, thanks from the italian fans :D ...and this videoblog is amazing XD

The Shire

Nov 5 2011, 2:04am

Post #9 of 10 (300 views)
Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

One more time, thank you for your transcript! With it, we can translate the videoblog to Spanish. The videoblog, with the subtitles in Spanish, can be viewed here .

Thanks also from the Spanish fans ;)


Nov 14 2011, 12:12am

Post #10 of 10 (209 views)
Wow! Thank you so much! [In reply to] Can't Post

These vlogs don't download very well at my home computer, so this is a real treasure :)

Thanks again Rosie!


I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

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