There are a lot of traditional techniques for shrinking actors whether it’s done in post via a greenscreen or on set with forced perspective. But these techniques don’t hold up as well when working with camera movement in a 3D shoot. That’s when creative engineering comes along – using two linked motion controlled setups (shooting different scales) to accomplish pint sized hobbits.
In the past, director Peter Jackson had to shoot characters of different sizes at different times and piece the scenes together in postproduction. “There was no way to direct the whole scene at once, no opportunity to finesse performances,” says motion-control supervisor Alex Funke. With the new system, Jackson watched scenes from The Hobbit unfold in real time.
Instead of shooting the actors at different times, the director recorded them with cameras on two different sets. This allowed him to position the lens much closer to Gandalf, raising his stature. By placing the actor on a green-screen set, the director could digitally remove the background and merge the two images
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