Peter Jackson Talks Unanswered Questions And Eccentric Dwarves On The Set Of The Hobbit

By Eric Eisenberg 2012-10-25 15:13:41discussion comments
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With Lord Of The Rings all the issues that came with trying to get the books on to the screen pre-dated you even becoming involved in it, whereas with The Hobbit it seems like it must be the biggest challenge of your career. It just seems like there's been one thing after another between MGM and the labor issues here in New Zealand, and everything. Is this the biggest pain-in-the-ass challenge you've ever had to face as a filmmaker?

The film has been… making the movie has been a lot of fun. Since we've started shooting it's been pretty plain sailing, touch wood. It's been just a joy. I've been having a blast. It was an incredibly painful couple of years leading up to it, yeah. That was the most stressful time. So stressful that I got an ulcer, which was awesome, but anyway the ulcer was actually quite good because it gave everybody six weeks of extra pre-production time which I think everyone was delighted when I was laid up for six weeks, they couldn't believe their luck. 'Cause literally the Art Department, Wardrobe Costume, they all got an extra six weeks to prepare for the movie, so I think there was a lot of people that were quite happy about that. It was tough, but once we got it running it's been fantastic. It's been a lot of fun. I hope the fun that we've had is a spirit that goes into the movie. I hope you see that on the screen.

I want to ask you real quick about the technology. You've been pushing the boundaries of technology in all your films, but this one specifically, you've the slave motion cam. You have 48 frames per second. You have 3D. Could you talk about the technology you're bringing to this film.

I just think that we're living in a world where the technology is advancing so rapidly. You're having cameras that are capable of more and more-- The resolution on cameras is jumping up. Three or four years ago filmmakers using digital cameras were shooting at 2K and now we're shooting this at 4K and I'm sure within three or four years it'll be 8K. It's just going insane with the development, the speed of it, and likewise projection. And shortly the one thing we're all hanging out for is brighter projection for 3D, but the laser projectors are on the horizon and they're certainly going to massively improve the brightness, and theatres are building bigger screens. And it's really a question of do you just say, "Okay, this is what we've been used to for the last 75 or 80 years, and that's what we're going to stick with." Or do you explore ways to actually harness this technology to give people a better experience, and we're also, as an industry, we're facing a situation where less young people, especially, are coming to see films anymore. It's too easy to watch them on your iPad. Too easy to stay at home and play games, and so I think anything that we can do to provide a more immersive and spectacular experience... filmmakers have been doing it: 65mm, 2001… Kubrick and David Lean, they shot in these huge big formats to try to make it sharp and clear and that was like the equivalent of 5K in the film stock days. Todd-AO was 30 frames a second, wasn't it, for Around the World in 80 Days. There's been people trying to push it, but of course the just effect for seven or eight decades projectors were pretty much locked into 24 frames per second. We had to get past the mechanical film age to be able to explore other things, but it will be interesting. I personally think 48 frames is great, but we'll just wait till everyone can just see a whole full length movie, graded and timed and we'll see what people think.
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