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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Miniatures/Bigatures...the real problem?
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Grey Havens

Sep 10 2013, 12:01am

Post #26 of 48 (1142 views)
My recollection [In reply to] Can't Post

is that they had some full-side pillar bases they used as a set for filming some of the closer-up shots of the actors.

Tol Eressea

Sep 10 2013, 12:08am

Post #27 of 48 (1162 views)
What I found a bit jarring about Rivendell in AUJ... [In reply to] Can't Post

...was that it was awash in bright colors, whereas in Rivendell at the Council of Elrond, there seemed to be a sort of orange tint to everything.

Grey Havens

Sep 10 2013, 12:24am

Post #28 of 48 (1157 views)
Rivendell in LotR [In reply to] Can't Post

Was supposed to be autumnal, suggesting the end of the Elves' time on Middle Earth was near. This was also the idea of all the falling leaves. I would guess the color was part of this.

In AUJ it is mid-summer, and (in the filmverse, anyway) it is not yet so obvious that the passing of an Age is upon the Elves. I'd guess the bright colors are part of that, intended to create a different mood and feeling to reflect this difference.

I felt Hugo Weaving's performance as Elrond matched the different "looks" also. He was more tense and grim in LotR, where in AUJ he seemed more gracious and had a bit of humor.


Sep 10 2013, 12:56am

Post #29 of 48 (1132 views)
Agree. Different look and different issues to overcome. [In reply to] Can't Post

Minatures are fine when the majority of the time they are scaled to fit the actors. In LOTR, entire scenes with actors were shot with the minature scaled to make the actor look Hobbit size or actual human size, there were enough scenes in that trilogy where Hobbits and Humans sized characters were not together to make this viable, and when they weren't size doubles were used. However,size doubles have severe limitations, distance of shot, movement etc and poor JRD, the Fellowship's dwarf spent the best part of several years acting on his knees.

The Hobbit is a completely different ball game when it comes to scale, we have 14 actors of human size playing characters that definitely aren't, that share an awful lot of scenes together, minatures would be a nightmare, too many size doubles would just look clumsy due to the limitations of shots. CGI allows every backdrop to be to scale. Of course PJ could have chosen 12 naturally short actors to play the Dwarves, apart from casting limitations it would have also meant finding a 4 foot something actor to play Bilbo, no Martin Freeman as Mr Baggins.

CGI will also pay off in the next films, where we meet more fantastical creatures and characters such as Beorn, and at BOFA, CGI characters imposed on a natural/traditional set tend to look flat and fake, like they have been drawn on, yet when they are part of a complete CGI scene they become a natural part of the scene, well to me anyways.

I for one am glad I didn't have lots of scenes with static dwarves because all the actors were on their knees, what PJ appears to have done in my eyes is decided that scalling the dwarves so that they look like Tolkien's dwarves and not Disney's, was his top priority; the fat suits so when scaled in certain scenes they didn't look like children, a CGI approach to sets, so that they could be scaled appropriately allowing the actors to move and act rather than 'stand' static on their knees and recite lines, etc. I am not even considering the 3D or 48fps in this equation, even in standard 35mm 2D film, the overuse of scale doubles and static knee shots would have made for a very clumsy looking film.

Old Pilgrim

Sep 10 2013, 5:45am

Post #30 of 48 (1120 views)
Different Rivendell [In reply to] Can't Post

It is not just about summer and autumn because only 60 years have passed between AUJ and LotR which is very few in Middle Earth. Although I like new technology, especially watching movie on Blu Ray can be magnificent and CGI is just splendid in some cases (like with Gollum and Goblin Town) there are some things which looks just fake and unrealistic. In my opinion Rivendell is on the first place because it should be smaller and in more natural colours like it was in LotR http://undomiel84.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/rivendell.jpg.
Everything on this picture is natural, a little old and mystic which is right for the elves who exist for thousands of years while in AUJ Rivendell looks like it should be in Narnia http://s3.goodfon.com/...ws-middle/464794.jpg for all its colours, magic and absence of old culture.

In my opinion also the Shire was a little bit to green but otherwise many things have improved since original trilogy and I am quite satisfied.

Tol Eressea

Sep 10 2013, 10:01am

Post #31 of 48 (1084 views)
I think they have re-jigged the layout of Rivendell for TH... [In reply to] Can't Post

...certainly PJ said we would be seeing new areas, so the "Observatory" is new, for the Moon runes reading and the WC chamber, obviously. The party approaches Rivendell from a different angle in the book, so therefore we've got a new entrance (not that we saw one in LotR, apart from when Arwen galloped back to Elrond after her vision of Eldarion, and entered Rivendell under the archway...)

I think this screencap is the closest we've had from TH to the original view of Rivendell made with the miniature - you can see the setting for the Council of Elrond, for example...


But again, to my eyes, the buildings in the image don't have the "weight" or substance that you feel with the image using the miniature:


"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


Sep 10 2013, 11:27am

Post #32 of 48 (1073 views)
In LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

Rivendell actually had very little consistency in the original trilogy. Almost every time there was a wide-shot the buildings were in slightly different places or had different aspects to it, and it was even worse when the buildings were put in the background of a set. I believe this was said in an interview (something about Rivendell not having a set geography in the trilogy), but it's also obvious just watching it closely. The Rivendell seen in the Hobbit has the same buildings and has the same basic layout as the one in LOTR, but there is much more detail and, finally, consistency. There also may be a new building, but it could just be two buildings blending together because of the angle you see Rivendell at in the older films.


Sep 10 2013, 11:45am

Post #33 of 48 (1070 views)
3D has a lot to answer for [In reply to] Can't Post

3D is definitely the main reason there are no miniatures or 'Bigatures' used on The Hobbit. Like with other forced perspective shots, they can't be achieved when shooting in 3D because the illusion is broken.

Shooting in 4K digital has nothing to do with it because film itself has a higher resolution than that and the LOTR trilogy has already been screened at both 2K and 4K in cinemas worldwide. The amount of detail put into the models by WETA workshop was astounding and extremely effective, even in high resolution.

Grey Havens

Sep 10 2013, 12:20pm

Post #34 of 48 (1070 views)
60 years [In reply to] Can't Post

...is I agree not a long time. But in the filmverse these 60 years make a big difference. In the filmverse, Sauron is not known to be back. Greenwood the Great is just now turning into Mirkwood. The Ring has not been found.

If the filmmakers wanted to make Rivendell a more sober color more like it was in LotR I don't doubt they could have approximated it in some way. I'm not an expert, but I don't believe digital color grading only works in one direction (making things brighter). In LotR, for example, they made the Moria sequences mostly devoid of color, and that was using post-filming computer technology that could equally be applied to AUJ (and surely was, to achieve e. g. he green to which you object - the Shire exteriorss were a lot of them shot on location). A log way of saying - for better or worse I think the colors in the film were a deliberate artistic choice.

Tol Eressea

Sep 10 2013, 12:56pm

Post #35 of 48 (1052 views)
It's interesting you mention the colour grading... [In reply to] Can't Post

since I saw this webpage yesterday about a guy who is doing his own colour grading for the FotR DVD



... the "FOTR Grading Project"... my goal here (because I really do not like
the filmmaker's flat coloring choices) is to create a great and NATURAL looking
FOTR movie that sticks to the original film material as closely as

Recently I was watching the old FOTR trailers, in wich the
scenes weren't properly graded yet... and holy mackerel... those shots look ALOT
more: cinematic, sharp, LOTR-ish, and rich! I thought Andrew Lesnie was a "meh"
cinematographer because of all those flat colors and glows digitally added to
the film, but when I saw the original ungraded footage, wow, that's alot more
natural and textured! So, without further delay I'm starting to try to restore
most of the film's colors as it used to be (and altering things to my liking)
for this version...

If you scroll down, there are plenty of examples of re-grading...

"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


Sep 10 2013, 12:59pm

Post #36 of 48 (1048 views)
Both look real to me [In reply to] Can't Post



Sep 10 2013, 1:28pm

Post #37 of 48 (1022 views)
Me too // [In reply to] Can't Post



Sep 10 2013, 2:18pm

Post #38 of 48 (1031 views)
I'm not sure there is much consistency ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Between AUJ and ROTK. Just like there isn't much consistency in the design of Rivendell between FOTR and ROTK. They're just completely different, with some buildings re-used.

Rivendell in AUJ

Rivendell WETA environment.


Sep 10 2013, 6:06pm

Post #39 of 48 (992 views)
Not a problem for me [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't get all this hate for the CGI here. AUJ is an improvement from the LOTR series IMO. Some of the bigatures in LOTR really did not look that great i.e. the continuous shot of caverns of Isenguard (with the crows flying around) always looked off to me. Compared to a similar shot of Goblin Town, and I honestly think Goblin Town looks better.

With the 3D and 48 fps, I do not believe they have the 'luxury' of bigatures anymore since all the details will be magnified. Still, I always thought Dol Guldur was a bigature (no?)


Sep 10 2013, 7:16pm

Post #40 of 48 (968 views)
Well [In reply to] Can't Post

The front buildings are in (which are to the left in the screencap, because you only see Rivendell from the East in AUJ) the exact same position in AUJ. They seem to have only added the bridge that the company enters on the side. The only thing I'm not too sure about is the giant building behind it, which, as I said before, could have been in LOTR, just obscured. I'm just happy that in AUJ Rivendell looks the same between shots, which was not always the case in LOTR.


Sep 10 2013, 7:51pm

Post #41 of 48 (969 views)
But is the WETA environment consistent with LotR....? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd say not - it has the characteristic buildings adapted to fit a base shape suitable for casting.

Maybe the consistency - the only one that really matters - is that whichever angle they show it from, however it's colour graded, however many bits they seem to have added in different views, you know instantly that it's Rivendell. Every single one of them is Rivendell. I think that's rather clever....


Sep 10 2013, 11:16pm

Post #42 of 48 (933 views)
Changes [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, Rivendell always seems to change a bit. I look at my environment as a small piece of Rivendell or a highlight of it.


Sep 10 2013, 11:56pm

Post #43 of 48 (925 views)
I get where you're coming from. [In reply to] Can't Post

And, of course, I deeply respect your opinion.

Still a good analogy, though!

It's definitely hard to look at something like this when it doesn't work for you on a personal level. Glad that you're still willing to talk about it. Smile


Sep 11 2013, 12:38am

Post #44 of 48 (921 views)
Thang You Very Buch...Daniel [In reply to] Can't Post

That ScreenCap
is Now Bomby's

Misty Mountain Hop

Sep 11 2013, 2:46pm

Post #45 of 48 (889 views)
I think "change" is the best way to put it. [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't come down to whether AUJ is better or worse than LOTR in regards to the picture quality, brightness, color, contrast, scale, etc for places like Rivendale. It's just the fact that it's different than LOTR. If it had the same dullness and realness like LOTR, we would accept it better. But because it's so different, it's hard to grasp.

AUJ looks beautiful, just like LOTR, but it's just on a different level, not necessarily higher or lower, just different.
That's why some people love it and accept it and some people hate it.


Sep 11 2013, 7:33pm

Post #46 of 48 (868 views)
I totally agree [In reply to] Can't Post

AUJ is beautiful, but different. I think some find it hard to grasp because they have seen LOTR first and therefore were expecting to see something more or less the same in the Hobbit. I think anyone out there who has seen AUJ and not LOTR will probably have no problems with the amount of CGI and less models because they are not comparing the two films.

If I just sit down and watch AUJ without trying to compare I accept a lot easier the changes lack of models make. Personally the lack of models in AUJ makes LOTR even more special because of their use.

As to the colours, I think the film makers made the colours like this to emphasize that this is a happier time in Middle Earth. It also nods to the fact that it is based on a story more designed for children and stays with the lighter tone of the film.

What's this? A Ranger caught off his guard?

Misty Mountain Hop

Sep 12 2013, 1:48pm

Post #47 of 48 (845 views)
I fear that movies will never be the same. [In reply to] Can't Post

In the distant future, we could possibly see movies being made 100% on computers. Just think about it. Full scale animation and digital rendering of humans, creatures and even landscapes.

Not saying it's gonna happen, but it's a scary thought.


Sep 12 2013, 2:06pm

Post #48 of 48 (860 views)
i actually do not think this will happen [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems that each time a new technology takes hold people get carried away with it but in the end the good artists realize that while cinema is rooted in technology, it is also rooted in human emotion and the human experience and the technology ends up back where it belongs - in the tool shed.

Entirely computer generated films are approriate for some subjects though - just as cartoons are sometimes appropriate, but not for every film.

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