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Peter Jackson is Shooting The Hobbit in Stereoscopic 3D

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan who is anticipating the next film in the series with the younger Bilbo Baggings as lead then you may want to know that it will be a digital 3D film. According to Cnet, Peter Jackson is prepping up for a huge 3D release of The Hobbit and is using a stereo 3D camera rig to shoot it.

Cnet reports, “The movie is being made with 48 RED Epic digital cameras, and since it’s shot in 3D, those cameras have to be paired and positioned a specific distance apart.”

That is quite an impressive set-up and 3D fans should be in for a treat. This may be the biggest 3D films ever, even surpassing Avatar. Peter Jackson has to overcome some challenges with such a large 3D rig.

Jackson has to rely on the help of 3ality Technica to create specialize mounts for the cameras used in the upcoming film. The reason for this is that the lenses used in 3D camera rigs make it “nearly impossible” to place the RED digital 3D cameras next to each other. The company, 3ality Technica, that Jackson and the studio is using for the custom mounts happens to specialize in custom camera rigs.

The 3ality Technica mounts that are being used by the studio for shooting allow one camera to be pointed straight ahead at the subject and the other is used to shoot the images reflected off a mirror. In this way, the camera operators can change the distance between the two camera lenses easier. This distance is called the “interocular.”

The report goes into other details regarding just how high the stereo 3D quality should be in the film. It is actually being shot at 5K resolution. This is a resolution of more than six times that of standard 1080p. Another thing mentioned regarding The Hobbit’s production process is that it is being shot at 48 frames per second.

All this leads to the very possible conclusion that this may be the biggest 3D film ever. It may also offer the best 3D image for will be interesting to see the depth perception that Jackson alters for viewers and how he takes on this (stereo 3D) style of film making.

The Hobbit will be released on Dec. 14, 2012, according to IMDB. It’s full title is “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and it will be the first of a two-part series of films. The second film will be called “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”

Is 4K in Your Future?

This year was the first time that the industry at large has started to take 4K seriously, with new 4K cameras and post solutions. Sony introduced the F65, which incorporates a 20-megapixel 8K sensor. Like other CMOS sensors, the F65 uses a Bayer light filtering pattern, but unlike the other cameras, Sony has deployed more green photosites—one for each pixel in the 4K image. Today, this 8K sensor can yield 4K, 2K and HD images. The F65 will be Sony’s successor to the F35 and become a sought-after tool for TV series and feature film work, challenging RED and ARRI.

Nov. 3rd became a day for competing press events when Canon and RED Digital Cinema both launched their newest offerings. Canon introduced the Cinema EOS line of cameras designed for professional, cinematic work. The first products seem to be straight out of the lineage that stems from Canon’s original XL1 or maybe even the Scoopic 16MM film camera. The launch was complete with a short “Bladerunner”-esque demo film produced by Stargate Studios along with a new film shot by Vincent Laforet (the photographer who launched the 5D revolution with his short film “Reverie”), called “Möbius.”

The Canon EOS C300 and EOS C300 PL use an 8.3-megapixel CMOS Super 35mm-sized sensor (3840×2160 pixels). For now, these only record at 1920×1080 (or 1280×720 overcranked) using the Canon XF codec. So, while the sensor is a 4K sensor, the resulting images are standard HD. The difference between this and the way Canon’s HDSLRs record is a more advanced downsampling technology, which delivers the full pixel information from the sensor to the recorded frame without line-skipping and excessive aliasing.

On the same day, RED launched SCARLET-X to a fan base that has been chomping at the bit for years waiting for some version of this product. It’s far from the original concept of SCARLET as a high-end “soccer mom” camera (fixed lens, 2/3-inch sensor, 3K resolution with a $3,000 price tag). In fact, SCARLET-X is, for all intents and purposes, an “EPIC Lite.” It has a higher price than the original SCARLET concept, but also vastly superior specs and capabilities. Unlike the Canon release, it delivers 4K recorded motion images (plus 5K stills) and features some of the developing EPIC features, like HDRx (high dynamic range imagery).

If you think that 4K is only a high-end game, take a look at JVC. This year the company has toured a number of prototype 4K cameras based on a proprietary new LSI chip technology that can record a single 3840×2160 image or two 1920×1080 streams for the left and right eye views of a stereo 3D recording. The GY-HMZ1U is derivative of this technology and uses dual 3.32MP CMOS sensors for stereo 3D and 2D recordings.


Naturally the “heavy iron” systems from Quantel and Autodesk have been capable of post at 4K sizes for some time; however, 4K is now within the grasp of most desktop editors. Grass Valley EDIUS, Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X all support editing with 4K media and 4K timelines. Premiere Pro even includes native camera raw support for RED’s .r3d format at up to EPIC’s 5K frames. Avid just released its 6.0 version (Media Composer 6, Symphony 6 and NewsCutter 10), which includes native support for RED One and EPIC raw media. For now, edited sequences are still limited to 1920×1080 as a maximum size. For as little as $299 for FCP X and RED’s free REDCINE-X (or REDCINE-X PRO) media management and transcoding tool, you, too, can be editing with relative ease on DCP-compliant 4K timelines.

Software is easy, but what about hardware? Both AJA and Blackmagic Design have announced 4K solutions using the KONA 3G or Decklink 4K cards. Each uses four HD-SDI connections to feed four quadrants of a 4K display or projector at up to 4096×2160 sizes. At NAB, AJA previewed for the press its upcoming 5K technology, code-named “Riker,” a multi-format I/O system in development for SD up to 5K sizes, complete with a high-quality, built-in hardware scaler. According to AJA, it will be able to handle high-frame-rate 2K stereo 3D images at up to 60Hz per eye and 4K stereo 3D at up to 24/30Hz per eye.

Even if you don’t own such a display, 27-inch and 30-inch computer monitors, such as an Apple Cinema Display, feature native display resolutions of up to 2560×1600 pixels. Sony and Christie both manufacture a number of 4K projection and display solutions. In keeping with its plans to round out a complete 4K ecosystem, RED continues in the development of REDRAY PRO, a 4K player designed specifically for RED media.

RED Scarlet-X camera shipping now

Why are these dudes so happy? Maybe because they’re among the first to get their hands on RED’s Scarlet-X camera. Indeed, the gentleman in the middle — Tonaci Tran — is officially the first, according to a forum post by RED’s President and “Fire Chief,” Jarred Land. We’d love to get our hands on the $9,750 device, which famously went head-to-head with Canon’s EOS C300 when the two firms had dueling press conferences earlier this month, but it looks like we’ll have to be content with Tonaci’s demos for the time being. And of course, this makes us wonder: is he being nice, or is he showing off? We bet he’s just happy: it has been a long three years (almost to the day) since the project was announced.

Andy Serkis Says ‘The Hobbit’ Teaser May Be Under Your Tree By Christmas (So Be Good for Goodness Sake)

Since the first teaser for Peter Jackson‘s “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” debuted about a hear ahead of its December 2001 bow, speculation has been high that we’d get our first glimpse at Jackson’s 3D-ified “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” sometime this holiday season. Now someone close to the production says that yes, indeed, that is the case. So all of those geeks who put “Seeing a ‘Hobbit’ Teaser” on their Christmas list will be very, very happy. Ho-ho-hobbit!

According to Andy Serkis, who not only reprises his role as Gollum for the new films (a second film, “The Hobbit: There And Back Again,” will be out in December 2013) but is also serving as the Second Unit Director on the mammoth production, told IGN that, “There will be a trailer fairly soon, actually. Around Christmas time, I believe.” The site speculates that it’s likely to be attached to either Warner Bros‘ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (man, that subtitle doesn’t get any less stupid, does it?) or, more likely, Steven Spielberg‘s “Adventures of Tintin,” since Jackson is a producer on ‘Tintin,’ and, quite frankly, a little more incentive for an American audience, largely unfamiliar with the source material, to show up for the film, would be a huge plus. If it’s attached to ‘Tintin,’ too, there’s a possibility that it could show off the neato new 3D technology “The Hobbit” is using courtesy of the Red Epic camera system, since everyone will already be wearing those silly Buddy Holly 3D glasses.

Serkis, who costars in ‘Tintin’ and will soon be making the Oscar rounds for his performance in the unexpectedly wonderful “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” doesn’t know which film it’s supposed to be attached to, but told the site, “It’s just around the corner.” The site commented that this remark was punctuated with a “gleeful” laugh, but we picture him screeching out the comment before leading us up a perilous volcanic cliff face.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is expected in theaters on December 14th, 2012. And in case you missed it, here’s the fourth video blog from the set.

Andy Serkis Teases ‘The Hobbit’ Trailer; Talks Second Unit Directing

the hobbit trailer peter jackson

It’s been an excellent year for master motion-capture performer Andy Serkis, between his acclaimed turn as the ape Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and his (already well-liked) role as Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.

The actor’s win streak shouldn’t be broken anytime soon, seeing how he’ll soon return in CGI-enhanced form once again – this time, as the miserable Gollum in Peter Jackson’s two-movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Jackson has been keeping fans up-to-date on The Hobbit by releasing production diary videos every so often. However, according to Serkis, the next big treat for Tolkien lovers will take on the form of a teaser trailer.

Serkis informed IGN that the first Hobbit theatrical preview is “just around the corner” and should be released by “around Christmas [2011] time.” While the actor was uncertain about exactly which upcoming holiday flick would feature the Hobbit trailer, the most likely candidates include fellow Warner Bros.’ production Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and the Tintin movie, which Jackson produced.

What with the Hobbit teaser, the Dark Knight Rises‘ prologue, and new previews for other highly-anticipated 2012 releases (ex. the full-length Amazing Spider-Man trailer) potentially being released during the 2011 holiday season, there’s arguably more excitement for the upcoming slate of theatrical promos than regular releases – all things considered.

the hobbit peter jackson andy serkis

Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson on the set of ‘The Hobbit’

Besides his mo-cap acting duties, Serkis is also serving as a second unit director on Jackson’s Hobbit films. Here is what he had to offer IGN, concerning the experience:

“It’s quite fascinating. I’m having a ball. It’s a huge operation, really. We’re on the road at the moment, at various different locations on South Island in New Zealand. There are some truly remarkable landscapes that we’re filming in. It’s just stunning.”

On the matter of The Hobbit being shot at twice the normal frame rate (via the use of RED EPIC 3D cameras):

“It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before. The brain has become so attuned to watching films at 24 frames a second. This is something completely different. It’s incredible. You feel inside it and surrounded by it. It’s really great. People will not be disappointed.”

3D has (understandably) earned a bad rap over the past year, given the plethora of post-converted releases that did little to nothing creative or innovative with the technology. Hopefully, between Jackson’s Hobbit movies and other upcoming 3D projects from high-caliber directors (ex. Spielberg’s Tintin adaptation, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi) that trend will start to reverse itself in the future.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives in U.S. theaters on December 14th, 2012.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again will hit U.S. theaters on December 13th, 2013.

Source: IGN

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Peter Jackson takes us on a tour of the tech behind The Hobbit

peter jackson

Here’s a sneak peak of everything that’s going into The Hobbit, one of the most anticipated movies of 2012.

Peter Jackson has been giving us glimpses into the production of The Hobbit, including behind the scenes images and interactions with the cast. That’s enough to get even the mildest LOTR fan excited, but cross that insider info with some background on the innovative technology behind the making of, and you’ve hooked us.


In a new video blog (which you can check out below), Peter Jackson says he would have used 3D in the original LOTR films if he’d had the ability – and that he actually took 3D photos on set that will hopefully someday make it to Blu-ray.

“Now the reality is that it’s not that difficult to shoot in 3D. I love it when a film draws you in and you become part of the experience, and 3D helps immerse in the film.”

concept artBefore you get too critical about the over-use of 3D in current films, remember how much the LOTR trilogy relied on CGI—graphics that now border on outdated, but at the time were breathtaking. Given the saga’s determination to top-notch visuals and Jackson’s commitment to the end product, we don’t expect cheesy 3D graphics for the sake of cheesy 3D graphics.

It’s possibly one of the first films in which even the concept art has been drawn in 3D. The artists responsible for these images have been rendering them separately in blue and red tones and viewing them via the classic red-blue 3D glasses. It helps unify the vision and ensure the final product is breathtaking.

48 frames per second

Earlier this year, Jackson announced that The Hobbit would shoot at 48 fps. That’s twice the normal rate of film and nearing how many frames the human eye can consumer in a second (60). “It’s a natural progression toward giving the viewer what they would actually see in the natural world,” says Gareth Daley, 3D camera supervisor on the film.

Earlier this year, Jackson explained this would enhance the overall look of the film. “The result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok – and we’ve all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years – but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or ‘strobe.’” Check out this example to get an idea of the difference we’ll be seeing in The Hobbit.

This means that makeup and lighting artists must engineer everything so that it shows up realistically on camera. It’s a new challenge for the team to keep things looking detailed yet authentic—a serious undertaking considering the LOTR fandom.

red epicThe Red Epic

Bilbo might be the star of the film, but behind-the-scenes, all credit goes to the Red Epic cameras. It has 5K resolution , a 27 layer ASIC processor, and can shoot up to 120 fps at full 14-megapixel resolution—in a relatively discreet package.

Jackson has a special spot in his heart for the Red lineup. “I have always liked the look of Red footage. I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, [the team] have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the EPIC not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers.”

He must be a fan: The Hobbit set is using 48 Red Epic cameras, all with their own monikers (ranging from Fergus to Tricky Woo). 

The Hobbit will be one of the first film’s to shoot with the Red Epic, although the Red One has made the rounds: The Social Network and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides are just two such examples. 

How Peter Jackson is filming The Hobbit in 3D

Here’s something for Lord of the Rings fans eagerly anticipating the upcoming movie The Hobbit.

On the set of The Hobbit

(Credit: Peter Jackson)

In a recent post on his Facebook page, director Peter Jackson gave fans a sneak peek at some of the innovative techniques used to shoot the film in 3D. The movie is being made with 48 RED Epic digital cameras and since it’s shot in 3D, those cameras have to be paired and positioned a specific distance apart.

Sounds easy? It isn’t. While the RED cameras are a lot smaller than regular film cameras used in Hollywood, the lenses they use make it nearly impossible to place them close to each other. As such, the film makers had to engage the help of 3ality Technica, a company that makes custom camera rigs, to create specialised mounts for the cameras used in The Hobbit.

The mounts, which allow one camera to be pointed straight at the subject while the other shoots the image reflected off a mirror, lets camera operators change the distance between the two camera lenses — called the interocular distance — easily. This keeps the lenses at a distance similar to our own eyes and should ensure that the 3D effect looks more believable and causes less fatigue.

The movie is also being shot at 5K resolution — more than six times that of 1080p — at 48 frames per second, which means The Hobbit could be one of the best-looking 3D films we’ll ever see. Well, until Avatar 2 comes out, maybe.

Watch the video below for a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of The Hobbit. For more videos, check out Jackson’s Facebook page.

Via CNET Asia and Engadget

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Is the Only 3D Film I’m Excited About [Video]

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Is the Only 3D Film I'm Excited About Jackson is currently hard at work shooting The Hobbit in 3D. But instead of using the bulky 3D rigs commonly associated with 3D movie films. Jackson is using RED EPIC cameras and mirrors to keep the cameras mobile.

Most “3D” films are crap. Sure Avatar looked good, but the story was lammmeee. Hollywood has gotten in the habit of ham-fisting 3D into even crappier films during post-production to squeeze a few extra bucks out of movie goers. Also lame. The Hobbit—an amazing story—has been developed as a 3D film from day one. Even the hand-drawn concept art is 3D. And thanks to the 48 RED EPIC cameras shooting 5K at 48FPS, the movie should look outstanding.

While the RED camera bodies are small, the lenses needed to shoot the film are large enough that creating the interocular distance that mimics the distance between human eyes was impossible if the cameras were placed side by side. To combat the issue, one of the cameras shoots from a horizontal position through a mirror, while the other shoots a reflected image off the same mirror in a vertical position. The result is a 3D camera rig that shoots amazing footage and is relatively portable. Check out the video above for Jackson’s tour of the production.

The Hobbit should be in theatres December 2012 and I should be in line for a ticket in November 2012. [Crave Asia via CNET]

You can keep up with Roberto Baldwin, on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Tantalizing glimpses of ‘The Hobbit’ in 3-D

The fourth video in Peter Jackson’s video blog series about the making of “The Hobbit” movies arrived Friday, with lots of information on 3-D for film aficionados as well as a few tantalizing glimpses of scenes and characters guaranteed to delight “Lord of the Rings” fans.

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Jackson, who is directing the two “Hobbit” films, has been releasing videos from the set on his Facebook page. The movies are titled “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” “Unexpected Journey” arrives in theaters December 2012.

The newest video focuses on the process of filming the movies in 3-D.

“Shooting ‘The Hobbit’ in 3D is a dream come true,” Jackson says near the beginning of the video. “If I had the ability to shoot ‘Lord of the Rings’ in 3D, I certainly would have done it.”

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During the video, Jackson shows the 48 RED EPIC digital cameras that are being used and to which Jackson has assigned names, using names of family members, pets, in addition to John, Paul, George, and Ringo – “who are not relations of mine,” Jackson adds. The video also features conceptual art directors Alan Lee and John Howe, who famously illustrated the “Lord of the Rings” books, sketching conceptual art for the films in 3-D, wearing red and blue 3-D glasses.

The video shows other aspects of filmmaking that are affected by shooting in 3-D and at 48 frames per second, which is twice the normal rate for movies. It shows one example in Mirkwood, a mysterious forest from the books that has to be painted in bright reds, greens, and purples so the colors of the trees won’t be washed out by the cameras. “They look like they were painted in 1967,” Jackson tells the camera.

The costume designer, Ann Maskrey, also discusses how she’s avoided a certain fabric with circles so it won’t “be like someone throwing stones at your face” when moviegoers see it in 3-D, she says.

Fans who are eagerly awaiting the December 2012 release of the first film will have their curiosity piqued by glimpses of Martin Freeman in costume as Bilbo Baggins; Ian McKellan charging something with a sword as wise wizard Gandalf; a quick glimpse of Hugo Weaving as elf Elrond; and multiple dwarves in costume, including Richard Armitage, who plays dwarf leader Thorin, and Graham McTavish, who plays dwarf Dwalin. Other snippets include Freeman as Bilbo opening his front door and all the dwarves falling in, Freeman looking frightened in the middle of a forest, and the group of dwarves running through a set that may be Mirkwood, with one of the dwarves shouting, “They’re coming back!”

And another familiar face pops up: Elijah Wood, who appeared in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and is reprising his role as Bilbo’s cousin Frodo in “The Hobbit.” (For superfans: Frodo calls Bilbo his uncle, despite the fact that technically they are cousins.) During the video, Wood shows up in full costume as Frodo, commenting on a 3-D scene as he watches it.

“Wow, that’s so good,” Wood says. “You almost feel like you’re in it.”

Check out the video:

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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