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October 05, 2000 - October 16, 2000


The Toff continues the Wingate report.
Tehanu @ 7:44 pm EST
My phone rings it is Madame Butterfly "go and see what is happening at Wingate Toff and send the afternoon update to Tehanu".

I don my tweed suit and the customary top hat and proceed to Peterkin Street in the Jaguar to observe the Wingate set. I observe the developments through my special observation device. They seem to be constructing steps and adding them to the set. The set looks to be developing into a quarter scale of Minas Tirith? A truck arrives, the compound gates are closed. The driver gets out and opens the gates and drives around by the front fence of the compound. He opens the back door of the truck........... By joves! More steps in the back of the truck! And there by the front of the fence, more steps! How absolutely spiffing, they are cutting out shapes of doors and arches out of the addition that Madame and Robbie saw this morning. I scan the compound for the big burly guards that are known to frequent the Wingate sets. I finger my sword-cane in readiness and my waxed moustache twitches in anticipation. What's that! Oh I say! A crane is lifting a huge tower off the back of a large truck. Yes, there are builders everywhere, one must be able to hear their hammers a mile away!

Well I must dash before I am discovered!

Tally Ho ! The Toff

More from John Doe
Xoanon @ 7:43 pm EST
Mysterious Spy John Doe is back with some more insider news, read on...no I.D. Required:

Principle Photography Is intended to finish the friday before X-mas. The filming on Deer Mountain (Facing Queenstown) is being based around an old Disney Movie Set from 1985-86 Called "The Rescue" about a group of kids who rescue their Navy Seal dads from a Korean Prison.

I believe Unit 1 will go back to Wellington in a week, and the rest are staying on for between 3-5 more weeks.

I have also seen a set (Will not disclose where) of a Man made mountain pass, the mountain was very rocky and approx 15-20 Metres high, with a cave that had some sort of temple inside in. Spears and Spikes were at the entrance to the cave & it involved approx 20 Orcs.

The beautiful regal spy Madame Butterfly reports on Wingate.
Tehanu @ 7:40 pm EST
Robbit The Hobbit bashed on my door at some unholy hour of the morning. "Hurry up Madame there is more action at Wingate". I wrap myself in my black robes, put Salome's awful lioness onto her chain and robbie stuffs her in the back of the car, while shouting a variety of vile curses. The hobbit is not in a good mood this morning.

We proceed to The Wingate Set in Peterkin Street and stand boldly on the footpath outside the Wingate compound, to view the goings on.

Building building everywhere. I see a balcony !!!!!!! A balcony has been added onto the front of the set. The balcony has beautiful detailed balusters along the front of it. I see steps leading up to a new addition being built. The addition seems to lead from the balcony. There are arches with the same detailing around the tops as the balcony has. The set is now taking shape and appears to be a castle. I notice that parts of the set are covered with the same dark stone like material that covered the helms deep set. The Wingate compound looks as if a bomb has hit it. There are stacks of frames for the set piled everywhere. There are tops of arches being added to the set. These arches are also stacked in the compound. There are builders everywhere working flat out. I tell robbie to keep a watch out for the over enthusiastic security guards that are known to frequent the Wingate sets. I toss my long dark hair and smile to myself as there is nothing to fear from the over enthusiastic guards today, as the bad tempered hobbit has riled up Salome's awful cat and the creature is leaping around on the end of her chain snarling. I roar with laughter at the hilarious sight and continue to boldly observe the goings on.

A huge truck arrives laden with more frames for the set. I gather up my robes and walk along the fence line to take a closer look at the two round holes by the front fence of the compound. What on earth are they? Are they laying foundations for towers perhaps? Hmmmmmm yes indeed. They are working around the clock to meet their deadline !!!!!!!!!!!

Farewell my friends. I will update you soon.

Madame Butterfly

We've got a John Doe here...
Xoanon @ 1:50 am EST
A mysterious email came across my desk this evening from a 'John Doe'. (I wonder if he's related to the American 'Doe's' from the town of 'Unknown') The letter goes into a little detail about a celebration at Producer and all around nice guy Barrie Osborne (see Barrie, we do love you), please note, this has not been confirmed yet...and in all likelyhood won't but it's a nice story anyway:

Last friday (13th) marked the 1 Year point for Unit 1a Filming and a large party was thrown at Barry Osbourne's holiday home 10 Mins from Queenstown.

Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Elijah Wood (Frodo) & Sean Astin (Sam) were all there. A Spectacular fireworks display was going, They had 2 videos playing fulltime of the making, which was organised into sections based on filming locations. The 1 year mark for Unit 2 is this wednesday and I believe a Party will be held in Twizel This Saturday.


Wingate Set Pics
Xoanon @ 1:29 pm EST
From: Kerish

Are you guys interested in some pics of the recent Wingate set? They're building what looks like a small village! It's still kind of hard to tell what they're doing, but they're using a heck of a lot of space for the set, with parts of walls being right up against the front fence.

You'll have to excuse the images as I only had my dingy little digital camera! However, it should be enough for you to get an idea of what's going on.

This the main construction that being done just to the left of the bluescreen. It looks as if they are making a balcony which may be hoisted onto another structure once its completed. Also just below the balcony is one of the many rectangular pits they've dug up (you can just see little rocks along the edge). They have at least 5 of these around the set with the closest ones being a few meters form the front fence. Perhaps they're building stuff to go over them.. who knows.

OK this one didn't quite turn out how it should have!

This is of one of the walls they've placed next to the fence which is also close to one of the above mentioned pits...hmmm

I'm assuming some people would like to see what the props are made of ...painted polystyrene on wood! But they look so realistic even at a foot away. You can only imagine how cool they'll appear on screen..

Anyways enjoy,

Kerish :o)


Wingate set gets bigger every time we hear about it.
Tehanu @ 10:20 pm EST
Madame Butterfly sent us this story:
Greetings friends it is I the beautiful and regal spy, Madame Butterfly.

The phone rang, it was a tip off, "Go to Wingate Madame there is interesting building going on." I cursed loudly as it was freezing cold and raining outside. I wrapped myself warmly in my black robes, put Salomes awful feline Lioness into the car (Salome has gone to Holly Wood yet again, trying to break into the movie business. Please! and leaves her horrible cat for her friends to look after) and proceeded to Peterkin street, the home of the latest Lord Of The Rings Set.

I stood in the freezing cold the wind blowing my long dark hair and robes around me.
I looked through my special viewing device and observed the goings on. Building Building every-where. The fence from inside the Wingate compound has been removed, to make room for the huge set they are building there. The set being built is spread out over half the compound. It looks like they are recycling parts of the Helms Deep Set and building it into the new set. Hmmmmmmmm yes very interesting. They are building some kind of huge structure with arches. Fairly close to the front fence of the compound are two large round holes in the ground ? Foundations for something no doubt! Suddenly the feline shifts at my side and snarls, we are being observed by the builders. I mutter to myself "thank god I brought the awful creature as she will come in handy to ward off over enthusiastic Security Guards." I put a reassuring hand on the cats head, and give the builders a regal glare. The builders hastily get back to work. Yes very interesting, the huge blue screen is still up. Hmmmmmmmmmm. The Wingate sets are always used for close ups. So whatever is going on there at the moment, it will be used for close up scenes. The actors are often at the Wingate sets doing these types of scenes. I have observed them there on a number of occasions doing various scenes.

Yes indeed what is going on at Wingate ? A part of Minas Tirith perhaps ? Well whatever it is it is huge.

Farewell my friends until next time.

Madame Butterfly

Xtem talks the 'Exploited' issue
Xoanon @ 12:01 pm EST
Super Ringer Spy Xtem sends in the original report from some extras down in New Zealand who didn't exactly like their 15 minutes of fame. As someone who has worked on many sets, Hollywood and non-Hollywood, I have a little joke that people who've experienced film sets before would understand:

Extra Wrangler: This is the set, don't make any noise, that's the director, don't go near him, that's the camera, don't go near that either, don't move, don't talk, don't breathe, don't yell

Extra: Don't Breathe?

Extra Wrangler: Are you going to be a problem?!

Extra: No..

Laugh if you want, I think it's funny, and very true to life. So when these LOTR extras were taken aback by the 'slave labour' treatment, all I have to say is, you're lucky you don't do this for a living...

I read the "Lord of the Rings workers say they were not exploited" article on your main-page, so I thought I'd transcribe the actual article it talks about....here it is :

Movie extras being Exploited - Consultant

New Zealand extras working on the $550 million Lord of The Rings production are being exploited with substandard wages and conditions, says an international film consultant. Hollywood based actor, producer and film consultant Anna Wilding, who is visiting family in Christchurch, said New Zealander hired to supply and ride horses in the epic were being treated like "slave labour".

Film company Three Foot Six has been filming the trilogy at locations around New Zealand since last year and is now filming around Queenstown and Twizel. Wilding said the riders, who were recieving daily rates of $200 and meals would be paid at least $500 plus allowances if the film was being made in the United States.

"They certainly wouldn't be sleeping in tents or in their horse floats in the cold and rain in Twizel as they are now. That's appalling and someone has to stand up and say so. A lot of them are too scared to do anything about because of the confidentiality agreements they signed and they don't want to lose the $200 a day," Wilding said.

Film company publicist Claire Raskind said the riders were only too happy to be on set. She said the production's horse coordinator, Steve Old, believed people would pay to have the same experiance and conditions. "It's a holiday on horseback for them."

It was a New Zealand movie and the company believed its pay rates were comparable and competitive in New Zealand. Riders knew the rate of pay beforehand and auditions had been well attended. - NZPA


Xoanon @ 6:20 pm EST
From: Daniel P

I thought you might want to see some information taken from the UK computer arts mag '3D World' concerning The Lord of the Rings movie (in particulart he 3D animation). I shall type up the small article in the magazine here (it basically details specs on the rendering of the CG for the three movies.)

Article in full:


"New Zealands WETA digital effects company, currently working on New Line Cinema's ambitious Lord of the Rings film trilogy, has bought 16 dual-processor SGI 1200 severs to cope with the sheer amount of rendering and data-handling in the production. WETA anticipates that something in the dauntingly large region of 100 Terabytes of data will be created and stored throughout the trilogy's production, scheduled for completion in 2003."

This was taken from the November 2000 issue of 3D World, published by Future Publishing (www.3dworldmag.com)

I thought you might like to put this information up for people on your site, particularly as it points out the hardware to be used and the volume of data being stored over the entire trilogy.

If you find this useful, I will continue to scour 3D mags for other information as I come across it.


More news from Robbit the Hobbit
Tehanu @ 1:17 am EST
This hobbit's been keeping a close eye on the set at Wingate, in Wellington:

"there is quite a bit of construction underway at Wingate. Part of a wall complete with arches has been erected. All about the set are bits of wall, stairs, arches etc, made of timber frames covered in polystyrene blocks painted black. The set looks like it will be much larger than any other set that has been erected at this site. I wonder if this set will be part of Minas Tirith? We wonderssssssess, yess we doesss."

Thanks for that!


Media Watch: Central Otago News
Xoanon @ 10:41 am EST

Another article has appeared, this time in "The Lakes District and Central Otago News" on Friday October 6th. It doesn't have any pictures but a transcript follows.


Movie set moving to Poolburn
By Kirsty Leggett

The filming of the trilogy "Lord of the Rings" continues to amaze and entertain spectators throughout the region and the Poolburn community is no exception.

Crib, bach and hut owners along the Poolburn Dam have received letters from the location manager informing them of the proposed plans around the dam site. The Lakes District and Central Otago News understands the owners have been told to make no comment if approached by the media. Location manager Robin Murphy said the construction and filming of scenes in the area were to remain confidential and were protected by copyright. She also said filming in the area will have positive benefits for the region with increased accommodation, the spending power of the crew and potential news of local labour. But it has been confirmed the building of the "village" set began two weeks ago and could take around five or six weeks to be fully completed. During that time the hut owners have been asked to cooperate with film crew and personnel, including the possibility of vacating the area when necessary. This may be especially necessary as some shots will require the use of the lake and it's surrounds, she said. Media Liaison Officer Melissa Booth said at this stage the building of the set is a priority and filming would not start for another few weeks. "We are dealing on a weekly basis at the moment, we are presently still in Wellington and will be filming in Twizel before we know more about the filming in Poolburn. It will be another couple of weeks at least before we come down but it will definitely be after a stint in Twizel," she said. Meanwhile the residents based around the Poolburn Dam have to accept the disruptions to their area and wait for filming to be completed and they get their dam back.

Minas Tirith Set Pics!!
Xoanon @ 10:36 am EST
Ringer Spy Silmarien snaps some great pics of Minas Tirith!

These photos were taken last Saturday from the carpark across from the quarry.


More Minas Tirith
Xoanon @ 10:42 am EST
From: Robbit the Hobbit

Click on the image to enlarge

Here is a great picture from last nights Evening Post. As you can see, Minas Tirith is a hive of activity. What that picture does not show, on the far right past the end of the crane's boom is a wall about the same height as the the other building, and to the left, where the caves were, a new wall is being built.

At Wingate there are several square holes dug in the ground. In these holes are timber frames, and i believe these are foundations for some large structure. Time will tell what is planned for Wingate :)

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