The scaling system for The Hobbit It’s no small feat to make the wizard Gandalf appear larger than his dwarf and hobbit friends. Over at Popular Mechanics, Eric Vespe explains how the filmmakers pulled off the illusion in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

In the past, director Peter Jackson had to shoot characters of different sizes at different times and piece the scenes together in postproduction. “There was no way to direct the whole scene at once, no opportunity to finesse performances,” says motion-control supervisor Alex Funke. With the new system, Jackson watched scenes from The Hobbit unfold in real time.

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