Given the awe-inspiring miniatures and “bigatures” used for The Lord of the Rings, many of TORn’s members have been questioning (some with a pang of longing!) the decision to do away with miniature photography for The Hobbit, speculating the use of 3D may have had something to do with it.

Whilst poring over the numerous press interviews and Q&As conducted with Peter Jackson over the course of this weekend, we found the answer via in PJ’s response to the question of what the biggest advances in technology have been since The Lord of the RingsHe says:

The technology that advanced the most, in the last 10 or 12 years, is really the fact that we did a lot of miniature shooting on The Lord of the Rings. All the big architectural structures of Middle Earth were really miniatures, some of them quite large. But, you’re limited to what you can do with a miniature because you literally have to have a big camera that has to sweep past it, so you can’t get too close to it and the detail doesn’t hold up too well, if you do. 

This time around, there are no miniatures. It’s all done with CGI.  Everything that we need to build, from a miniature point of view, we build as a CG miniature. I can now swoop in, over rooftops and through doorways. I can do things that I never could have dreamt of doing with the miniatures. For me, that’s actually one of the most profound differences.