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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.

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Jackson explains that the field of motion-capture has made significant strides during production, which brings the cameras to the next stop on the tour: the Department of Internal Beard-Hairs. The men working in that department motion-capture beards to be added to the film, which involves creating a virtual beard, then adding motion-capture dots to an actor where the beard would go, and having them act as they would in the scene.

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“Motivation here: it’s dark, it’s stormy, you’re in the mountains,” beard mocap technician Jance Rubinchik tells the actor, who then winces and looks uncomfortable as he would in such weather as the camera rolls.

Later at Wexford Road, two staff members “release the animators” as the first task of the day. When they knock, the door opens to reveal a group of people dressed in pajamas.

“If people don’t have to leave, we’re happy for them to stay,” Saindon says. Shots show crew members cooking eggs, doing laundry, and even getting massages.

Conceptual artists John Howe and Alan Lee are also shown hard at work, adding in backgrounds.

“We’re painfully conscious that behind us are considerable teams of people, waiting for artwork to do 3-D and the texturing and the lighting and the animation,” Howe said.

Director of photography Andrew Lesnie works on a sequence of the film in which Frodo (Elijah Wood) runs down the road as Bilbo (Ian Holm, in Bilbo’s older years) stands above him. Lesnie color-grades the sequence to clean it up and make it more attractive.

In the sound design department, one part of their work involves bringing friends and family to a field to scream and yell in fright – sounds which will be used as background for a dragon attack on a river village.

A red line on a map then zooms from New Zealand to the UK, where musicians are shown recording a bombastic part of the score of the film with lots of French horns and cellos in legendary recording studio Abbey Road.

“The premiere is very, very close, but fortunately, people are staying calm,” Jackson deadpans at the end of the video, followed by shots of people partying and fighting with ice cream and pillows.

Check out the full video.


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