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As 'The Hobbit' premiere nears, the movie team works around the clock (+ video)

The film production team is in the home stretch working to get the first 'Hobbit' film finished, as seen in director Peter Jackson's new video.

By Staff Writer / November 26, 2012

The Department of Internal Beard-Hairs works to motion-capture a beard for the 'Hobbit' film.

Peter Jackson/YouTube screenshot

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The newest behind-the-scenes “Hobbit” production video shows the team hard at work in the post-production phase of the first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

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“It’s due to be completed literally two days before the premiere,” director Peter Jackson says at the start of the video, then added with a chuckle, “Hopefully.”

Much of the video, explains Jackson, takes place at Park Road Post Production, the building in Wellington, New Zealand, that contains the facilities necessary to complete that specific part of the film process.

“This is where we’re spending a huge amount of time at the moment… You’re going to see a lot of sleep-deprived people in this blog,” Jackson said. “Everyone’s working around the clock.”

The video starts in the editorial section, which a sign labels “The Bunker" and which contains the cutting room where Jackson and editor Jabez Olssen work on cutting the second film in the planned trilogy.

The director describes his duties in the process with a tongue-in-cheek attitude.

“When Jabez has something very simple to do that doesn’t need me, I get the cups and go make a cup of tea,” Jackson said.

The viewer is then taken into the previs (or "previsualization") section of the post-production team, which deals with creating what previs production manager Marion Davey described as 3-D storyboards for the movie. These help Jackson create his shots for the film.

During the video, the previs team receives an order for an image called “Goblins slowly move torture machines towards the Great Goblin’s platform,” and an animated stopwatch ticks off the minutes as the team works.

Next, VFX supervisor Eric Saindon heads over to Wexford Road, the production office where the “Hobbit” animators work. At the office, animation supervisor Dave Clayton explains the process behind animating the sequence in which three hungry trolls threaten Bilbo (Martin Freeman), including the use of motion-capture technology so the movements of the actor playing one of the trolls could be used for the film.

“Are there any more of you little fellas hiding where you shouldn’t?” one of the trolls growls in footage from the film.

“No,” Freeman replies hastily, dangling as he’s held upside down by the troll.

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