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November 27, 2000 - December 06, 2000

12-06-00

Minas Tirith Pics
Xoanon @ 5:23 pm EST
Ringer Spy Robbit the Hobbit sends in some great pics from the Evening Post. Enjoy!


Wanna see INSIDE Barlimans?!
Xoanon @ 9:58 am EST
TheOneRing.net brings you an Exclusive first look at the inside of Barliman's Inn in BREE!!! Take a look!!

Xoanon,

Here is a never before seen image from The Prancing Pony/Barlimans scenes filmed in New Zealand. Enjoy.

Unknown

This is really a great pic, with the small body doubles, the lighting, aesthetics and the wood! I always pictured Barliman's/Prancing Pony to be such a woody type inn!!! I love it! Tell me what you guys think!

FANTASTIC FORTRESS!
Xoanon @ 9:51 am EST
From: Stuff.co.nz

FANTASTIC FORTRESS: A glimpse of one of the largest and most detailed sets from The Lord Of The Rings, the fortress city of Minas Tirith, nearing completion in the Dry Creek Quarry at the bottom of Haywards Hill in Wellington. The stunning set includea details right down to paving stones, trees and statues.

12-04-00

More Minas Tirith Pics
Xoanon @ 9:53 am EST
Ringer Spy Silmarien sends in some great pics from the ever popular Minas Tirith set. As well as a new set piece from Wellington? Anyone want to guess as to what it can be?


Minas Tirith Galore
Xoanon @ 1:24 am EST
Ringer Spy WaiSpy sends in some more amazing shots from the Hayward Hills set, currently the location for Minas Tirith.

12-03-00

More on the SFX conference.
Tehanu @ 7:20 am EST
It turns out that TORN had the SFX conference in Wellington pretty well covered. Two more people wrote in with slightly different details from the talk given by Adam Valdez, the WETA SFX guy.

This report thanks to Jim Wellington:

"Hello interested parties,
3December was an interesting event in Wellington (of course!!). I was disappointed that WETA were unable to show any clips during their talk, but Animation Supervisor Adam Valdez was funny and compelling. There was also some guy standing behind Valdez who must have been some publicist or something ("John" I think - likely name!!) - everytime someone asked Valdez something tricky he turned to "John" and then turned back and said "Sorry I can't answer that". Valdez looked genuinely disappointed and sorry that he was unable to show us any models or clips, and apologised anytime he had to be secretive. He would not comment when asked by someone "how are you uilding the models - bones, then muscle, then skin or vice versa?", which really bummed me since this was the question I wanted to know!!

Interesting details:
*** I have complete confidence in Valdez to deliver - he's not a software nerd, he just wants the computer to do what he has in his head. He didn't seem like the type that just wanted to show off the effects, and he said that he would prefer it if people didn't say "wow that's the best cgi character I've ever seen" but rather "what's he going to do next?!?!".
*** He said that the "fell beasts" were cool and that they were basically dragons with longer, more snake-like necks and bat-type wings.
*** He said that the effects were not going to be typical Hollywood, but would rather be quite unique, and that he truly believed they have raised the standard.
*** He said that he preferred to animate pose-to-pose and that listening to music while working is the best thing any animator can do.
*** When asked about the continuity issues between films (ie. sfx will get better over the next two years, will we notice the difference in the progress of the films?) - he said they were lucky that the films gradually got more and more sfx as they progressed, so they can save a lot of their detailed work till last I guess.
*** They will be using both FK (Forward Kinematics) and IK (Inverse Kinematics) when modelling, and must be able to transfer between the two methods quickly.
*** James Cunningham's "Infection" short film stole the show - fortunately for all of us he is now
working on LOTR.

That's all for now.
Wellington Jim

P.S. It was obvious that he wasn't going to answer anything that was even remotely related to what they are developing out there, so I didn't bother asking any questions sorry."

Well, as it is, that's plenty enough. Thanks!

And Anonymous of Wellington remembers some variations:

"(1) Animation supervisor Adam Valdez isn't the kind of person that just wants to show everyone he can do cool effects - in fact, he said he'd prefer people to be so convinced that the character was real that they weren't even saying "this is the best cgi I have ever seen". This is reassuring after so many cgi characters and shots of them have been just thrown in for the hell of it in the past (read: Jarjar Binks in The Phantom Menace). I think it's safe to say from the way he was talking that Gollum will be 1000 times better and more believable than that stupid Jarjar Binks. Thank God.

(2) He mentioned the "fell beasts" and said they were really cool - they are basically dragons with longer, more snake-like necks and bat-type wings.

(3) One person asked how they will manage the continuity in the films concerning the rapid eveolution of special effects. Valdez responded that they were lucky in that the films naturally lay out so that more special effects is needed in each successive movie. This means that there won't be heaps of cgi in film 1, which means they have more time to work on finer details for 2 and especially 3 (esp. concerning Gollum).

(4) Valdez did seem genuinely sorry that he couldn't answer certain questions and that he had no footage to show - he said that next year there would hopefully be some (and that at the 3December next year the first film will be only "a matter of weeks away"). The main reason they could not show any was because it was over a year before the first film is out, and it would be just too early for any public appearances of footage.

"Valdez also said that the Balrog was "a half apparition, half monster thing" and that the Ringwraiths (and Frodo when he has the Ring on) see things differently to us: "We see light and colour, and they (the Ringwraiths) see ... oh, well, I shouldn't go into that". Damn, he was so close!!!!

Hope that adds to the last report!!"

It certainly did. Thanks guys!


What it's like to animate Gollum....
Tehanu @ 12:37 am EST
There's just been a conference in Wellington on movie SFX and of course one of the invited speakers was Adam Valdez, Animation Supervisor.

Helpful correspondent MN emailed us instantly it seems with this report:

He gave a talk based "around" Lord of the Rings. I mean "around" because he was unable to really give any details whatsoever on his work, and couldn't show us any clips or footage, which was a little disappointing.

He gave one or two interesting snippets:

- He said that working on the project was 'intimidating' because of the worldwide love for the book
- The flavour of the animations would be very 'unique', unlike what would be seen in standard Hollywood studios
- One of the interesting visual treatments that falls under his unit is to portray the 'wraith-world' that Frodo enters when he puts on the Ring. He couldn't be very specific but mentioned that it was full of 'weird stuff'
- He went on to mention some of the CG creatures: giant octopus,(The Watcher in the Water? - Tehanu) digital doubles for Frodo, trolls, Balrog, Uruk-hai, Treebeard, Shelob, oliphaunt, and of course Gollum.
- He said that Gollum would be the greatest challenge of the movie for him.
- A lot of work had been done on Gollum, but 'he's not there yet'
- Their crowd work, using 'Massive', would raise the bar to new heights for crowd scenes.
- One of the most important things to take into consideration when animating is what music you're listening to at the time.

Many thanks to MN for that.
So, Shelob and Treebeard are in (I've heard people complaining that they weren't)and we have a hint about how they'll show the Ring or its effects when Frodo has it on.

--


12-01-00

Trailer Out December 8th?
Xoanon @ 11:18 pm EST

I work part-time as a bookseller at Waldenbooks, a division of Borders International. Anyway, today I was intrigued to find a large white envelope lying upon my manager's desk with a bright orange sticker with white lettering on the front proclaiming'Lord of the Rings material inside. The return address read as follows:

Marketing Dept.
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116

Needless to say (me being a Tolkien fanatic like the rest of you) my curiosity was piqued. The package was already opened so I had no moral qualms about reaching inside and taking a gander at whatever treasure it might hold. I drew forth some curious items:

1. A 'Teacher's Aid' for helping to teach Lord of the Rings to students.
2. Something called a 'shelf talker' with a whole bunch of movie art and photos that's meant to be put up in the fantasy section.

I also found this EXTREMELY interesting letter which I photocopied and am now reproducing exactly...

Houghton Mifflin HOT TITLE ALERT

THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien

Now a movie from New Line Cinema!

Dear Bookseller:

J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS is coming to a theater near you! The movie, directed by Peter Jackson, releases next year, but the trailer...

...is in the theaters December 8th

Tolkien sales spiked last spring after 10 million people downloaded the film teaser released on-line.

Please place the enclosed shelf talker in your fantasy section immediately!

We've included the ISBNs of our best-selling Tolkien backlist to help you order up today; and please let us know if you'd like more Teacher's Guides.

Are you ready for the movie of the year?!
Shelf Talker
Full-color, featuring movie art, '1/2' (ISBN: 0-618-13857-9 /NC)

Teacher's Guide for THE LORD OF THE RINGS
16 pages with comprehension questions, vocabulary, discussion and essay topics (ISBN: 0-618-12011-4 / NC) packs of 5

For a complete, annotated listing of our best-selling Tolkien-titles, please visit our web-site: www.lordoftheringstrilogy.com

For the latest movie news, please visit:

www.lordoftherings.net

To order, please contact your Houghton Mifflin sales rep or call / fax customer service at (800) 225-3362, Fax (800)634-7568

------------

That was the whole letter, and boy was I surprised when I read that whole December 8th part! The only New Line film I know of being released that day is the Dungeons and Dragons films.

What happened to '13 Days?'

Well, I quickly grabbed that letter, photocopied it, and retyped it. Now I pass it on to you all for judgment...

-Leonides



Minas Tirith in the Sun
Xoanon @ 10:43 am EST
Ringer Spy WaiSpy sends along some great pics from the Minas Tirith set.

11-29-00

Oliphaunt is hard to miss in Rings trilogy
Xoanon @ 12:19 am EST

At first glance it's obvious. Of course it's an elephant.

But on closer inspection it becomes apparent that this is a very big elephant, more like several woolly mammoths rolled into one than the comparatively tiny frame of say, Kashin, from Auckland Zoo. [More]

11-28-00

Another eyewitness at Vt. Vic.
Tehanu @ 3:32 pm EST
Hi there TORN people,
I went to look at the Mount Victoria Set after seeing it in the Evening Post. I live out at Lyall Bay so I knew the set that used to be out that way.
The set at Mount Victoria does almost look identical to it, with the same type of tents that have beautiful detailing around the entrance-ways. The layout of the Mount Victoria set is almost identical to the set that used to be at Lyall Bay.
But I do not think they are reshooting scenes that someone wrote in about though I did see the same sort of soldiers at the new set: Rohan soldiers, mounted on horses, and foot soldiers.
The following might be a clue to where this set is meant to be: I saw a woman dressed as a man, with a hobbit. I never saw a woman and a Hobbit at the Lyall Bay set. I have only read the book once some years ago so I don't know the story that well. But I do remember there being a Lady of Rohan, who dressed as a man, and went into battle with a hobbit. Sorry I don't remember their names. I will leave that up to you to work out!

An eye-witness at the new Mt. Vic set.
Tehanu @ 2:34 am EST
It seems fitting that so close to the end of filming, the crews should return to the place where they first started shooting, Mt. Vic. An eyewitness sent in this report:

"The New Film Set

There is a new film set in Mount Victoria. One drives up a residential street and there it is situated in a clearing at the bottom of the town belt. I don't know how they are going to keep this one secret as it is in a public area and is also behind some residential houses. The public can view the set clearly from walking tracks above the set. The set has identical tents that were at the Lyall Bay set. I believe they are reshooting scenes that they did out at the Lyall Bay set, as this set is identical. It is below a very steep bank and is surrounded by pine trees. If they were to use Lyall Bay to reshoot these scenes, they would have to replant the area with trees as the Lyall Bay area, that they used in the past, is very barren. If people cast there minds back to Lyall Bay, they will remember that Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) was there preparing to leave for the paths of the Dead !


11-27-00

Camping Out
Xoanon @ 10:52 pm EST

WAITING GAME: Extras of the two and four-legged kind complete with armour and shields wait for their cue during filming of a scene from The Lord of The Rings on Wellington's Mt Victoria yesterday.

Thanks to MN for the tip!

More Minas Tirith
Xoanon @ 10:33 pm EST
From: WaiSpy

Here are 4 pic's taken last Saturday on my way down to Wellington. There also seems to be a new set at Wingate, which consists of a large circle marked out (in poured concrete?) on the ground, with what appears to be the facade of the entrance to a place or some other 'fine' building. I'll try to get some snaps of it tomorrow.

Also, there was an advert' in the Wellington Dominion newspaper for free registration to a Silicon Graphics computer graphics workshop in Wellinton (www.3december.com), where Peter Jackson is to speak; I'll try to get along to it if I can.



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