It seems like forever since Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy came out, but the master is about halfway through production on The Hobbit's fourteen-month shoot and, judging by the latest production video blog just released on his Facebook page, it's going to be worth the wait. The two parts of the 3D project being filmed back to back, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be released in December of 2012 and 2013 respectively. And with a $500 million budget roughly equal to the GDP of Samoa, you know all the stops are being pulled out.
In the video, besides getting glimpses of some of the hobbits as well as principals like Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood, we get a behind-the-scenes taste of some of the cutting-edge 3D camera technology involved in the shoot. The film is being shot with forty-eight Red Epic cameras, but what's really groundbreaking is that it's being filmed at forty-eight frames per second, twice the normal speed, which will provide a much crisper picture. Jackson had previously said "it's similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs." And of course, in true technological-pissing-match fashion, James Cameron has said he will be shooting the next Avatar movie at sixty fps, the speed the human eye sees at.
Also featured are an up-close look at the enchanted Mirkwood Forest, some of the costume details, and insight into how the conceptual artists create 3D pencil pre-production drawings in anaglyph red and blue. In other words, it's like watching a DVD extra before the movie is even made. It's hard to imagine J.R.R. Tolkien ever envisaging Bilbo Baggins' epic quest being filmed in 3D.