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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Has PJ say anything about differences in Hobbit vs LOTR cinematography ???


Sep 6 2017, 8:52pm

Post #1 of 6 (2302 views)
Has PJ say anything about differences in Hobbit vs LOTR cinematography ??? Can't Post

Hi guys... same post I did for the Hobbit forum which I think also concerns this one...

I've been wondering for so long this issue; both trilogies had beautiful cinematography by the late Andrew Lesnie, but both look so different and I think not in a coherent way. In one hand we have LOTR filmed in 35mm film, and then we have The Hobbit filmed with Red Digital Cameras which give it a very digital and too perfect look.

Now, both trilogies suppose to work fine chronologically, but the jump between too perfect look (The Hobbit) to a not so "perfect" look (LOTR) keeps bothering me (I love how they work in chronological order), and I just want to know if Peter Jackson had addressed at all this difference from an aesthetic perspective, rather than just convenience? I would love to hear him talk about it and why it works for him that well, again, from a pure aesthetic point of view.

"The World is Changed, I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air"


Sep 6 2017, 10:57pm

Post #2 of 6 (2283 views)
I don't know what PJ says about it, [In reply to] Can't Post

but in my headcanon, the difference is in the telling of the tale. LotR is a reasonably accurate record of what actually happened, while TH is Bilbo's somewhat embellished telling of his own adventures. If I watch them in that frame of mind, the differences are more palatable to me.

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107

Wielder of Anduril
The Shire

Sep 7 2017, 12:33am

Post #3 of 6 (2274 views)
Haven't heard him say anything about it. [In reply to] Can't Post

To me it was more a question of greater CGI use both in vistas/backgrounds and with the Orcs.

The LotR Trilogy feels real to me, The Hobbit not so much. I do not believe this was really any kind of artistic choice. I believe it was either budgetary or PJ, like George Lucas, fell in love with CGI.


Sep 7 2017, 9:23pm

Post #4 of 6 (2190 views)
It's because of [In reply to] Can't Post

cameras, lighting, and more use of green screen sets (so cinematography differences). But the biggest difference is color correction.

The cameras are a big one. With the 5k RED cameras we're getting a much much sharper look, it's not going to have the cinematic, grainy look that 35mm has. The RED also allows for way more range in color correction. If you look at still frames from LOTR vs The Hobbit, The Hobbit frames are far more vibrant. As a director I could see wanting to make that choice, I mean it makes sense. But I think in the case of The Hobbit it worked against it a little bit. It is too vivid, colorful and glossy. I think this is the case with a lot of recent blockbusters. Heavy, heavy color correction really pushing the colors and contrast up beyond what looks 'realistic' to our eyes.

I think that if PJ had access to the same technology in 1999 he would have used it. Back then 35mm was the way to go. Now there are more options, and huge jumps in the ability to push things. I totally understand why he did it. He wanted to make it the best possible movie that he could based on what he had available to him. Sometimes I wish we had the same old 35mm, no 3D on The Hobbit so it is more seamless, but at the end of the day I think it looks pretty good, and the transition doesn't bother me too much.

Tol Eressea

Sep 18 2017, 9:41pm

Post #5 of 6 (2021 views)
I LOVE LoTR, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

some of the filming didn't age as well. That's not his fault, he used the highest quality of filming that was available AT THE TIME. Two scenes in particular that jump out at me is the scene where he's talking with Frodo at the table, and the first look at Helm's Deep in TTT. At the time, the little CGI people looked pretty good, but things have improved a bit since then.Crazy
That's not to say that the Hobbit trilogy doesn't have problems. When we switch from Orlando Bloom Legolas to CGI Legolas in the "Barrels" scene, the CGI looks like a video game. And compared to all the vibrant colors of the first two movies, Battle of 5 Armies looked so - grey. But overall I love both trilogies, and can overlook these little things most of the time.

Check out my new book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521753377

Darth Crumb
The Shire

Apr 16, 9:13pm

Post #6 of 6 (759 views)
I wish there was a "grainy filter" option for the Hobbit blurays [In reply to] Can't Post

Would be interesting to see if there was some software that would allow a movie shot in crystal clear digital to look like it was in grainy 35mm.


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