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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Mathematical proof?

Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

May 19, 8:59pm

Post #1 of 14 (3123 views)
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Mathematical proof? Can't Post

It is very often claimed in the damn interwebz that the Hobbit movies have more CGI effects than the LOTR trilogy, which supposedly used more practical effects.

I remember reading in Wikipedia (I think it was Wikipedia anyway) a list of ALL the visual effects for each LOTR movie, although I think I searched for the list not too long ago and didn't find it.

All of the above has led me to question if there is any similar list of CGI/visual effects for TH trilogy. Folks here are very knowledgeable about both trilogies. However, can factual evidence be shown to prove that TH trilogy has more CGI than the LOTR trilogy? Be it a ''list'' or anything else.

Sorry for the rambling.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on May 19, 9:07pm)


Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 19, 11:16pm

Post #2 of 14 (3095 views)
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I think that depends on your definition of CGI. [In reply to] Can't Post

Before the release of FOTR, PJ said that there wasn't a single frame in the films that wouldn't be digitally altered in some way. (He showed an example of Gandalf on the slopes of Caradhras with blue sky behind him, and how the lighting had been manipulated.)

Was that CGI? The image exists in that form only after the computer program had altered it, after all. Or does something need to be added (a Mumakil, for instance) or removed (Andy Serkis, to be replaced by Gollum) for it to be considered a CGI shot?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Chen G.
Gondor

May 21, 9:56am

Post #3 of 14 (3008 views)
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There is more [In reply to] Can't Post

once you account for screentime (sans credits). I'll come-up with the numbers later, but the main takeways are:

1. There ARE more VFX shots in the series from entry to entry.
2. The leap from 2001 to 2014 is big, but not huge (compared, say to the leap from 1977 to 2002 in Star Wars).
3. All six films have a lot of VFX shots to begin with.


Chen G.
Gondor

May 21, 10:26am

Post #4 of 14 (3005 views)
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Numbers [In reply to] Can't Post

The Fellowship of the Ring: 540 VFX shots for 200 minutes of screentime, totalling 2.7 VFX shots per minute.
The Two Towers: 799/214=3.7
The Return of the King: 1488/240=6.2
An Unexpected Journey: 2135/171=12.4
The Desolation of Smaug: 2000/175=11.4
The Battle of the Five Armies: 1836/150=12.2

I'm not sure these numbers are entirely representative of the truth: for one thing, I'm sure all of them account for the extended editions (although some do) and furthermore, ideally you'd want to time the total amount of screentime taken by VFX shots, as opposed to a number of shots. The Two Towers is said to have 73 minutes of VFX shots, which makes for a different calculation.

Amazingly, the number of VFX shots in the 171-minute An Unexpected Journey from 2013 is LESS than the number of VFX shots in 2002's Attack of the Clones, at 134 minutes long!

http://www.upcomingvfxmovies.com/svfx-shots-race/


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 21, 10:30am)


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

May 25, 10:56am

Post #5 of 14 (2800 views)
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Green screen maybe? [In reply to] Can't Post

That could be used as a criteria. Do not people often say that Hobbit is full of green screens, while LOTR is filmed mostly on location?


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

May 25, 11:00am

Post #6 of 14 (2797 views)
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Reply. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
1. There ARE more VFX shots in the series from entry to entry.


That does not seem to be true for DOS and BOTFA.


In Reply To
3. All six films have a lot of VFX shots to begin with.


I think that is true.


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

May 25, 11:15am

Post #7 of 14 (2794 views)
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So, going by ''VFX''... [In reply to] Can't Post

''The Hobbit'' has slightly more than double the shots. That is sad, since it gives credit to the haters. But could that be any different, given the leap from 2001 to 2014, as you say?


Hasuwandil
Lorien


May 25, 1:21pm

Post #8 of 14 (2789 views)
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Ammunition [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't worry too much about it. There are plenty of arguments which do not depend at all on the relative amount of CGI used in the films. Peter Jackson used a mix of CGI and practical effects in both trilogies, and while there's much to be said for using practical effects, sometimes they leave something to be desired. For instance, I didn't care for the non-CGI "Grinch" Gollum in the LOTR trilogy.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Chen G.
Gondor

May 25, 6:52pm

Post #9 of 14 (2783 views)
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And they'd be wrong [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That could be used as a criteria. Do not people often say that Hobbit is full of green screens, while LOTR is filmed mostly on location?


Its categorically wrong to treat The Lord of the Rings as somekind of exemplar of in-camera filmmaking: its not; it was NEVER the kind of film series where absolutely everything that could possibly be done in-camera was done in-camera.

The fireworks that shoot out of the back of Gandalf's cart: did those REALLY need to be CGI? Not really, no. But they are.

Most of the wideshots of the Fellowship's flight from the Mazarbul chamber and later from the Balrog are 100% CGI. Didn't they REALLY have to be? Not really; and could they not have bothered to build more of the stairs as a real set instead of relying almost entirely on a model?

The main point of comparison made between the trilogies is the scale tricks, with Rings supposedly using forced-perspective and The Hobbit using CGI. Except its not true: forced-perspective is only used in a handful of shots - most of it is digitally composited; by contrast, there IS at least one forced-perspective shot: Gandalf riding besides Bilbo on a horse.

Even when CGI is used, its often much simpler: halfway through the shoot Jackson hit upon the idea of having the two characters on the same set, adjusting the eyelines and just enlarging one of them digitally.


Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 25, 8:31pm

Post #10 of 14 (2777 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

'exemplar of in-camera filmmaking' and 'LOTR filmed mostly on location' are not the same thing.

LOTR did have much more of its filming on location and then enhanced it with visual effects later - such as your example of the fireworks, and also the ruins that the Fellowship walk past in an aerial panning shot. (I remember the interview with the digital artist who painted those ruins into the scene, who explained why it was so hard to pull off.) There were also some location shoots with strategically placed green screens as an aid to the digital effects.

A greater percentage of The Hobbit was filmed in a studio in comparison to LOTR. PJ even mentioned at the start of filming that there'd be more studio shots for the second trilogy.

For me - and it's purely personal - the big visual difference between the two trilogies is the use of 4K digital technology for The Hobbit. I don't like the crisp, fake feel of it, and I wonder if that makes people more aware of the CGI that's used. (Not that the CGI is more obvious; just that viewers might be more sensitive to it's presence.) I base this thought on nothing more than my own reaction to it.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Chen G.
Gondor

May 25, 8:38pm

Post #11 of 14 (2777 views)
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It is indeed personal [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For me - and it's purely personal - the big visual difference between the two trilogies is the use of 4K digital technology for The Hobbit. I don't like the crisp, fake feel of it.


I love digital photography. With the exception of early projects made with very antiquated technology (Attack of the Clones springs to mind), I always loved the look of it: Apocalypto, Skyfall and - yes - An Unexpected Journey all spring to mind as good examples of how great digital cinematography can get.

Digital cinematography is clearer, sharper, more vibrant and - generally speaking - more resolute than analog film cameras, and its also more flexible for use. Its effectivelly the equivalent of shooting on large-format film, and yet no one grumbles when films shoot on 65mm, which is just as clean as many digital presentations.

I always wanted Middle Earth to look clear and vibrant: in the analog days, they never could have the Shire look all that green without looking cold, so they actually took green-out to highlight the earth tones of the walkways and the warmness of it. Whereas in An Unexpected Journey it does look warm without having the sacrifice the lush greens. That's something that the RED Epic gives you.

Its also used in a way that's a good ploy in terms of the storytelling: can't remember where I read this, but Jackson and Lesnie wanted to start with a vibrant, clear digital look that would gradually grow murkier and more textured as the trilogy goes on, morphing into the filmic look of Rings and signifying the effect Sauron's rising power has on Middle Earth.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 25, 8:40pm)


Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 26, 8:26pm

Post #12 of 14 (2738 views)
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I have no problem with digital. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's the 4K I don't like.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Chen G.
Gondor

May 27, 8:49am

Post #13 of 14 (2715 views)
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And yet the movies are largely 2K [In reply to] Can't Post

Both trilogies were finished at 2K.

It seems they went back to some shots in both and restored them in 4K for the new release, but the details are unclear. Obviously, The Lord of the Rings was shot on Super-35mm and therefore cannot "fill-up" the 4K drawer as much as The Hobbit (shot in 5K) was.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 27, 8:49am)


Wielder of Anduril
The Shire

Oct 25, 9:58pm

Post #14 of 14 (136 views)
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For me, its a question of the types of shots [In reply to] Can't Post

Honestly I'm not really interested in the total numbers, except as a purely academic exercise. The biggest issue I had with the CGI in the Hobbit Trilogy were the orcs. It was well done CGI, but it was still clearly CGI and it made the films less real, less visceral to me. That said, I still like the Hobbit films.

 
 

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