We’re delighted to bring you an excerpt from Cinefex‘s forthcoming behind-the-scenes account of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Joe Fordham’s 26-page feature in Cinefex 141 includes in-depth interviews with the film’s effects artists — and Peter Jackson — and is accompanied by 28 behind-the-scenes photos and frame clips from the movie. Many of them are exclusive to Cinefex.
Here’s a teaser exclusively for TheOneRing.net readers: Continue reading “Sneak-preview: go behind-the-scenes on The Battle of the Five Armies with Cinefex Issue 141”
WETA Digital director and senior visual fx supervisor Joe Letteri conducted an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit a little earlier. Letteri has, of course, worked on a slew of films such as Lord of the Rings, Avatar, The Hobbit, King Kong, and Planet of the Apes.
Here’s just a few of his answers. Click the link at the bottom to see the complete thread.
Q: How is Peter Jackson in person?
Peter’s great in person. He’s really collaborative, really open to ideas. And he’s got a LOT of energy. And I think one of the things that motivates Peter, which I think applies to everyone at Weta, is that you don’t give up on the film until you have put every ounce of effort you possibly can into it, to try to make it as best as possible before it goes out the door.
Q: What’s your favorite pre-cgi movie? Have there been any movies that you thought, “Wow, I wish we thought of that?”
There’s 2 that really stand out, pre-CGI – they would have to be 2001 and STAR WARS. Because 2001 was just visually stunning, with its portrayal of space and how you could use FX to take you INTO space, and STAR WARS just applied that with a whole idea of an action movie sequence that just really opened up a whole world of storytelling.
Q: How was your experience working on the hobbit:battle of the five armies movie?
The experience working on those films was great, because we got to really spend another 3 years in Middle Earth, which is a fantastically open environment for us. We had the ability to not only walk through this fantastic landscape of Middle Earth, but help to create large parts of it, and as the series went on, we got to create more and more interesting characters. So it was great in the first film, to be able to bring Gollum back again, because he’s a favorite character of mine. It was great to be able to create Smaug, because he’s such a fantastic character. And, in the end, we created about 130 different characters for those 3 films.
Q: You mentioned that gollum from lotr and hobbit is your favourite character; how did the idea come about to use an actor for the portrayal of gollum rather than use cgi? And what did you think of Andy Serkis as gollum? I thought he was amazing, really brought the character to life!
Well, Gollum is a CGI character. What happened is that Andy was brought in, to record Gollum’s voice. But Andy, being an actor himself, worked with Peter to come up with this idea of having him perform in front of the camera with the other actors.
And that brought a whole new level of drama to the performance, because that meant that the actors could work with Andy as if Gollum were really there with them.
And so we then recorded Andy’s performance, and used that as a guide for creating the Gollum character, on top of the performance he gave on the set.
Now, when we did RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, we made a technical breakthrough where we could use the performance capture at the same time that Andy was performing onset.
And so that really allowed us then to do Gollum the same way for Hobbit, which was fantastic because it really kept Andy’s performance in the moment. And then we were able to take that one step further with DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, because then we were able to take all the recording gear to a remote location. So it’s given us the ability to work with actors to create these characters anywhere in the world.
And obviously, a huge fan of Andy. He’s a fantastic actor, and we’ve been fortunate to work with him all these years.
One thing that isn’t great about being a fansite: Other outlets and readers treat anything we write as if it were written from a fan perspective. Sometimes that is true, sometimes it is false. As a result of this, we didn’t complain about Oscar Nominations; It just sounds like whining anyway.
For the record, while we are here, there are a few categories that are head scratchers though. The technical category omissions, in my opinion, are a mark against the awards. Films that win these categories generate buzz and these Hobbit films didn’t do that in the right way to win awards. All the folks who work on the film would say they didn’t get into the business to win awards and they are only a bit of extra icing anyway.
But WIRED, not a fansite, has a video series about
special visual effects and the series is highly watchable, educational and interesting. (Special effects are things that happen on set.) Staffer Justin pointed out this video from the series where the host expresses real surprise that BOTFA didn’t get a nom. He has some wonderful details about the attack on Lake-town in particular (a favorite set piece of mine, burning or not) and the advancement of the computer program MASSIVE created for the battles in the LOTR films. The folks in New Zealand were pushing boundaries as they do every single time.
It is well worth a watch and it lights a fire under me, at least, to get annoyed that Weta Digital didn’t get an Oscar nom for Best Visual Effcts — except they did get one for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” That does mean Gentleman Joe Letteri will be in Los Angeles so on Oscar night, after he attended previous parties, we will be sure to invite him to our celebration this year. Continue reading “‘The Hobbit: BOTFA’ and its shocking VFX exclusion from the Oscar race”
Collider recently spoke with Weta Digital senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri and visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon about their work on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
According to Letteri, their work is going great, and a lot of material has already been turned over to Jackson. Letteri also indicated that the group are trying to ensure titular battle has significant stakes for everyone, and builds a bridge to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Continue reading “Weta Digital’s Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon talk The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
What do you get people who have everything? The extremely talented folks in front of and behind the camera in the film industry typically have very nice jobs. They get to travel all over the world, they make a decent salary, they are beloved by millions, and they get to create great art. Come awards season, if their work has been deemed excellent by their peers, they are nominated in their respective fields. And then they are wined and dined and gifted until their houses are full of chochkis, or sometimes really cool stuff. So I ask again, what do you get these people?
Well, if you are TheOneRing.net, you simply get them a little Luck, in the form of a pin they can wear at the ceremony, or not, as they see fit. Most of them wait to put their pins on until they get to one of our parties. It always sort of acts as an automatic pass to get in, we don’t have to look their names up on the list.
We wouldn’t have these pins to give if it weren’t for our wonderfully geeky and talented friends at Badali Jewelry, who began this tradition with the Fellowship of the Ring, and above you see the 5th installment of the Good Luck pin. Today several of these pins were delivered to current nominees, through torrential rain in case anyone was wondering. If you find that you are a nominee and you don’t have one of these waiting for you at your hotel, feel free to ping us at Oscarparty@TheOneRing.net so we can rectify the situation.
To the right you see Peter Jackson winning one of his 3 Oscars on February 29, 2004 while wearing the ROTK Good Luck pin. So that might just be a hint that wearing the pin during the ceremony is Good Luck.
Here at TheOneRing.net we would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations and wish you the best of luck to everyone listed below. While you are all sitting at the Dolby trying not to bite all of your nails off, we will be over at the Cat & Fiddle cheering you on, and drinking a toast to you, as we always do come Oscar night.
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug nominees
Sound Editing – Brent Burge and Chris Ward
Sound Mixing – Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
Visual Effects – Joe Lettery, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Middle-earth nominees in other projects
Best Actress – Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Short: Live Action – The Voorman Problem, which stars Martin Freeman
Middle-earth personage as a Presenter
Good Luck one and All!
The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films has just released the nomination list for the 40th annual installment of the Saturn Awards, and The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug has tied with ‘Gravity’ for the most nominations. Both received eight.
The gongs that The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug is up for are: Continue reading “The Desolation of Smaug receives eight Saturn nominations”