Written by on Mar 2, 2012. Posted in Production News

Hobbit location filming update arrives from Peter Jackson in New Zealand

It’s been weeks of careful filming in national parks and helicopter shoots for Peter Jackson and his Hobbit team. The filmmaker has recorded another video diary of his experiences shooting the films on location across New Zealand in footage that takes us up to mid-December of last year.

Jackson’s team travelled all over both North Island and South Island in its second block of filming on the USD500 million shoot. Part of the schedule took in Mr Ruapehu in central North Island, a location that had to be treated with care as it’s one of the world’s oldest national parks.

Herwi Scheltus is with the Department of Conservation: “[Mt Ruapehu offers] very ancient vegetation. Magnificent colours and magnificent textures, but it’s very fragile and hence we’ve gone to exceptional lengths to actually make sure the impact on the site is minimised. So it’s about scaffolding and elevated boardwalks to keep people off the vegetation.”

While Jackson deals with all the key dramatic scenes, Andy Serkis is directing the second unit. For this block of filming the second unit captured extensive aerial coverage using a Spacecam with 3D modifications, with footage sent to Jackson each day for review using mobile satellite broadband links.

A lot of our locations were helicopter-only access, so we got very, very good at loading in and out of choppers.

Liz Tan, 2nd Unit 1st AD

Liz Tan is 1st AD on the 2nd Unit: “The bonuses of being on second unit are that we do a lot of locations that are too tricky or too time-consuming for the main unit to go to. A lot of our locations were helicopter-only access, so we got very, very good at loading in and out of choppers.”

All the main scheduled location work is now done, but the production has now returned to the studio in Wellington for a third leg of filming. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in December this year, with The Hobbit: There And Back Again scheduled for December 2013.

(Hobbit stills image copyright: James Fisher/Warner Bros Pictures)


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