Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One movie to change them all...

"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for 
Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the 
Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of 
Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."
-          J.R.R.Tolkien

One Ring. It is all about that one ring!! J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic saga THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Even J.R.R wouldn’t have believed it, if someone had told him that his work, fifty years after its publication, will turn into the biggest and most admired cinema mankind has ever made. 

When Peter Jackson wanted to make it into a movie, everyone was sceptical about its success. But we all know what happened after the trilogy was released. It was released over 3 years, one movie on each Christmas. 

The three films put together were nominated for 30 Academy Awards, of which they won a whopping 17!  A record for any movie trilogy!!! On its own, The Return of the King tied the previous record of 11 academy awards and won in every category it was nominated in, an extremely rare feat!  The movie shares the record for winning the maximum number of academy awards, with Titanic and Ben Hur. The trilogy was a great financial success, with the films collectively being the sixth highest-grossing film series of all-time.

After 10 years, Peter Jackson now returns, to make the book- The Hobbit (prequel of The Lord of the Rings) into a movie. This time the book is going to be made into 2 films. The first part will be released on December 2012 and the next on December 2013. But there is something about The Hobbit that is going to be PHENOMENAL, even if you haven’t seen a single LOTR movie….

One movie to change them all...

The first BIG thing about The Hobbit is that, it is the first feature film to be shot  at the frame rate of 48 frames per second.
All our movies have been shot in 24 frames since the 1920s. We have lived for over 9 decades with 24 fps, because back then it was the most affordable frame rate available. Did you know that the human eye sees things at 60frames per second? That is the reason why, no matter what blu-ray you use, movie clips always have that blur in scenes, where there is some moving object on screen.

For the first time, a movie is being shot using a camera which supports 48fps,  the process requires both shooting and projecting at 48fps. These days, most of the new digital projectors are capable of projecting at 48 fps, with only the digital servers needing some firmware upgrades.
So how does a movie shot in 48frames per second look?

The movie you see will have hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. The difference in clarity from a normal movie and The Hobbit will be the same as that of, a normal VCD and HD 1080 medium.

And what more? Once you get used to 48fps, you might even feel uncomfortable watching normal movies! The difference between 48fps and 60fps speeds is almost impossible to detect, but the increase in quality over 24 fps is collosal.

The Hobbit will be shot by a camera called The EPIC, which is a successor to RED's industry changing camera- Red One. It has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made.

5k resolution?  The normal High definition video that you get to see is 1080 pixels. However this is 5000 pixels! You can see the difference in left side.

The Hobbit is probably the first feature film in the world to use The EPIC and at least 48 cameras are used for the 3-D production. The EPIC'S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D – where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig. In order to capture shots in 3D, here two cameras are used at the same time: One's the left eye, one's the right eye. One shoots through a mirror, the other one bounces off a mirror. So that the 2 pictures are perfectly overlaid. The shots from both the cameras are converged and are telecasted live on the computer, so you can actually see the movie in 3D, as and when it is shot.

So what does 48fps plus RED 3D mean?
It means for the first time you can watch a 3D movie without having that headache or the uneasiness that you generally get when you watch something in 3D. For the first time, you can watch 3D with the same ease of a normal movie! And it is not just that.. Watching a 48fps movie in 3D will basically make you feel that you are inside that world!!!

And there is another first to The Hobbit. 

For the first time ever, each and every scene of a movie has been handrawn in 3D, to analyse how it feels like before actually shooting it. So for the same, every scene is hand drawn twice. One picture is drawn in blue colour and the other in Red. Then both are mixed to see how that particular shot will look on a 3D screen. Yes. It took them months to just finish the drawings. There is a sample of a 3D drawing from The Hobbit on the right side.

There is a downside to using this Epic Camera: it tends to eat up  red colour. Hence if you shoot a normal human, the face might end up looking bit yellowish. To rectify this, each and every actor  has applied extra make up by adding more red tone to the skin (as u can see below), so that when they are ultimately shown on the big screen, they will look normal.

Even for the forests, they had to  make everything look ultra-bold, so that  when the picture comes on screen, it doesn’t look colour deprived.
So during the editing, they had to make sure in each and every shot, the colours are balanced, if not artificial colour was added.  Or in the other case, the colours were graded down to get the perfect visual with the barest hint of colour in the film.
The problem of using such advanced technology has another problem. Everything you shoot just has to be real. For example, even for the wigs that characters use, you just can’t use any wig, and you have to actually use human hair.

Hence for The hobbit, each and every wig on set is made using real human hair! Even the fabric of their clothes had to be changed to make it look real on screen.

But it is not just the technical advancements; this film has got much more to it. The Hobbit is going to be the biggest (literally) film ever made. It has the biggest logistical movement in cinematic history!
For shooting a scene at a different location, they have to  literally transport 700 members as crew! It is a movie which has to be shot in different locations which is spread in different countries. So to shoot the same, they have to fly along with 700 members each time not to mention the hundreds of equipment they have to transport.

On road, they always have 240 vehicles to transport the entire set from one place to another. Also they have to transport numerous animals in a coordinated move and it requires everyone to show up at the right place at the right time. Add in those little real-life necessities like food, shelter, and bathrooms. It is easy to imagine, anything could go wrong with such a huge film on making. But the man behind all this is Peter Jackson or actually Sir Peter Robert Jackson (because he was knighted by Governor-General of New Zealand in 2010)

So this December, you are going to witness the beginning of a new era  in cinema.
Enter the world of Middle earth. Mark the date.
14 December 2012- 


One movie to change them all...