These remarkable pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch performing motion capture for The Hobbit appear to be from a yet-to-be-released video blog? Wherever they are from, they are quite amazing. Check out the dots. Check out the facial expressions!
Thanks to all who sent in the news about this! (more…)
Two of Peter Jackson’s companies will be among the honorees at the International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society’s 5th annual 3D Technology Awards. The awards will be presented Sept. 18 during a ceremony at Paramount Studios.
The Society’s Lumiere statuettes for technology will be awarded to Weta Digital for the visual effects pipeline it created for Avatar; and to Park Road Post for the 3D high frame rate pipeline it developed for The Hobbit.
Related, a Lumiere will also be awarded to manufacturer SGO for its Mistika postproduction system, which was a key tool used at Park Road Post for its 3D high frame rate pipeline.
We are happy to share with you our complete coverage of the happenings at Comic-Con 2013! Check out the video series below!
Meet The Hobbit Artists
Meet several of the artists who worked on The Hobbit and learn more about what they’re up to, along with several other talented folks at Weta, including Greg Broadmore and the comedic antics of Daniel Falconer! [Happy Hobbit Goes to SDCC: Meet the Hobbit Artists]
Of the three trips I took to New Zealand in 2003 and 2004 to conduct interviews for my book, only the first happened before the release of The Return of the King. I didn’t go thinking that I would suddenly be privy to spoilers and secrets. Shooting was over, I assumed (wrongly), and I figured my interviewees would not tell or show me anything confidential.
But at times they did. In my previous installment of this series, “Places Full of Magic,” I wrote about the facilities I visited. Now it’s time to reveal a few things I learned there—and kept quiet about. (more…)
The Weta World Tour continues in June with Supernova. Starting June 22nd-23rd in Sydney and June 29th-30 in Perth, fans will get a chance to come together to celebrate what they love about the pop culture. The team from Weta will also be making the trip to both places bringing their magical work creating Middle-earth with them. While at their booth make sure you grab one of their Weta Treasure cards, which is good for discounts or prizes via the Weta website. That’s not all! If you happen to be going to either of these locations you will get to meet cast members of both The Hobbitand The Lord of the Rings. So make sure to get your ticket to the show before it sells out!
Welcome to the latest “Getting to know” – questions that need answering. It’s based on the old Getting to know you threads that I occasionally post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of self-described Online guy at Weta Workshop and all round top bloke, Magnus Hjert.
The Visual Effects industry in Hollywood is in the midst of a crisis that just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Entertainment Weekly has been keeping on top of the issue and posted a story today that included Peter Jackson’s thought on the problem.
In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, The Hobbit director Peter Jackson, a digital effects pioneer who co-founded the F/X company Weta Digital, says studios are taking advantage of an oversupply of F/X houses to drive down prices. “Competition between VFX houses, which the studios obviously use to their advantage, has resulted in VFX houses operating on tiny profit margins,” Jackson says. “And when we talk ‘profit,’ it’s not about the owners buying a Porsche at the end of a big movie — it’s about having a nest egg to ride out the slow periods.”
To read the full story and see links to other stories about the VFX crisis, head on over to EW.com
Another April Fools joke – courtesy of Ringer Mike…
From Weta Digital, comes this exciting press release about a certain something all fans of Sir Peter Jackson have missed…
Wellington, NZ (April 1st, 2013)–
In response to the lukewarm critical reception of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, Peter Jackson has announced that he will begin wearing his eyeglasses again.
“It was a public image decision,” Jackson says. “Fran and Philippa and I sat down and brainstormed, trying to figure out why the critics had panned the first ‘Hobbit’ film, despite its commercial success. And then we suddenly realized it wasn’t the film at all! The critics weren’t saying it out loud, but subconsciously they missed the ‘old’ Peter Jackson. And that means they wanted to see the eyeglasses.”
While Jackson hasn’t worn glasses for years and no longer uses his old prescription, he has planned a workaround to the problem. “I can simply pop the lenses out of my old frames, and we’ll be good to go– that is, if I can find them!” he laughs.
But putting the glasses back on is only the first step. Plans are also underway to add glasses back on to all of the behind-the-scenes footage of Peter that has been shot for the Extended Edition DVDs.
Since Weta Digital is already too busy working on effects shots for films two and three, Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop have been placed in charge of the eyeglass project.
“We want fans to feel like they’ve returned to the film-making world they have become acquainted with,” Taylor says. “Realistically inserting eyeglasses into Peter’s interview shots and B-roll footage will add that final crucial element of familiarity that will make this a truly nostalgic behind-the-scenes experience for the extended DVDs.”
Using a recently perfected technique combining advanced facial-recognition software with a slave-motion camera rig, the glasses will be added to Peter’s face using green screens and carefully crafted models.
Taylor has already commissioned a special 18-inch wide “bigature” of Peter’s glasses to be used in the project. “The miniatures department had felt a bit neglected lately, and they were overjoyed to take this on. One has to appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship that is going into this model. Every screw and hinge, every curve of the frame is faithfully reproduced in larger-than-life detail.”
Weta Limited Edition replicas of the glasses will be available as a Comic Con Exclusive in July 2013.
Early fan reaction to the news so far has been positive, and representatives from Warner Bros. were optimistic as well, and in a statement have expressed confidence that the reintroduction of spectacles to Jackson’s image is the right way to go towards making up for the box office disappointment of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.
Will the glasses really make a difference? What do you think? Sound off!
With its ceaseless tide of wizards, Wargs, Orcs, Stone-Giants, Skin-changers, Goblins, and, of course, Gollum, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — available on Blu-ray from April 8 — is a feast for fans of fantasy filmdom.
But it proved a challenge of Silmarillion proportions for the visual effects team at Weta Digital charged with bringing Tolkien’s fantastical romp to life. The first blockbuster to combine the dimensional hurdles of 3D and pioneering 48fps HFR technology, it’s arguably the most daunting special effects movie ever attempted. (more…)
Australian Hobbit fans will finally get a little bit of love in April. A team from Weta, and several folks from the cast of The Hobbit are making the trip across the Tasman to make an appearance at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, joining Karl Urban (Eomer) and Supanova MC Mark Ferguson (Gil-galad).
Supanova attendees will get the chance to see and listen to:
Graham McTavish – Dwalin. Graham McTavish (born in 1961) is a Scottish actor who has played an impressive array of characters in a slew of Pop cultural franchises. He played the character Warden Ackerman in Red Dwarf in five episodes of series 8. McTavish has also had many supporting roles in British dramas and films such as Casualty, Jekyll, The Bill, Taggart and Sisterhood. Recently, McTavish appeared in the 2011 film The Wicker Tree, Robin Hardy’s sequel to his 1973 film, The Wicker Man. He has had an “Unexpected Journey” to International stardom playing Dwalin (Brother of Balin) the Dwarf in Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films.
Stephen Hunter – Bombur. Stephen is a New Zealand actor and voice over artist, currently based in Sydney, Australia. His film and Television career started with Ladies Night in 1995 and has continued to include stints on All Saints, Love My Way, Spirited and Rescue: Special Ops. It was announced in 2011 that Stephen was to play the role of Bombur: brother of Bofur and one of the company of 13 dwarves who retake the Lonely Mountain in Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. He has since filmed Field Punishment No.1 in the Role of Aussie Bill which will be released in 2013.
Dean O’Gorman – Fili. Dean O’Gorman is a photographer and artist based in New Zealand. He got his start in the television movie, The Rogue Stallion at the age of fourteen, and Raider of the South Seas, both of which were released in 1990. He then won the role of Nurse Harry Martin in the New Zealand soap opera, Shortland Street and has appeared in both Hercules and Xena multiple times. In April 2011 he was cast as Fili the Dwarf in Sir Peter Jackson’s three-part film adaptation of The Hobbit. Kili and his Brother Fili are the youngest dwarves of the 13 and are Thorin Oakenshield’s nephews!
Sylvester McCoy – Radagast (as a Gold Coast exclusive guest). McCoy was starring at the National Theatre in “The Pied Piper”, a musical play written especially for him, when he learned that the BBC was looking for a new lead actor to replace Colin Baker in “Doctor Who” (1963). He later won the role as the seventh Doctor. Following “Doctor Who,” McCoy continues to work extensively in theatre, radio, opera, television and films. McCoy can be seen in the latest blockbuster film The Hobbit (as Radagast the Brown) and can still be heard playing the Doctor in the Big Finish audio productions of Doctor Who.
The dates for Supanova are:
Melbourne – April 12-14 at Melbourne Showgrounds
Gold Coast – April 19-21 at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Back in February, Simon Clutterbuck, James Jacobs and Dr. Richard Dorling won a technical Oscar (The Scientific and Engineering Award) for developing a technique which makes computer-generated characters (such as Gollum) more life-like than ever before. In this video from Weta Digital, the team share how they do it, and what it means for the future CG-character animation in film.
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