You are on page 1of 7

1

Introduction
The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Directed by Peter Jackson is a huge technical achievement in terms of the size of production and Cinematography. All together the trilogy took just over 7 years to complete and was even still being filmed after the theatrical release of the film for the special edition DVDs. Return of the King alone was a $94,000,000 production but grossed $1,119,110,941 worldwide, breaking many records and in terms of scale and awards, this trilogy was hugely successful. Great amounts of planning were needed for all of the films and that is what this essay will be looking at, specifically the area in Pre-Production, Concept art and production and the problems and how the overcome them.

Pre production
Pre-production is a key part in any film and for Lord of the Rings Pre Production started very early; Jackson began storyboarding the trilogy with Christian Rivers in August 1997 1 This was 4 years before its release to the cinema showing how large of a production the first film would be and the enormous amounts of effort that were put into it. Below is a story board and it shows the detail that

was involved in the planning.
2

1

Russell, Gary (2003). The Art of the Two Towers. Harper Collins. ISBN 0007135645

2 So even before filming had begun, the film had already been visualised. New methods were developed to create a more dynamic story board, for example, to plan his visual effects sequences, Jackson also utilized a lipstick camera for the models of sets and computer animatics (learned from Industrial Light & Magic), in planning the battle sequences like a real general and giving a sense of direction. 3 This was bifacial because then the battle sequences could be thourghouly planned out to give a more authentic look to the film and scenes meaning more audience gratification. Visual effects are a huge part of this film and copious amounts of planning are needed for this. Return on the King had 1488 shots of special effects when the average for a normal major motion picture is around 200. The effects were produced by WETA Digital and they worked on all three films creating continuity and ensuring a convincing production was formed.
4

As well as all the planning for shots and special effects, locations also needed to be scouted, the most used location was New Zealand.

Alongside this, huge sound stages were also needed for the record breaking sets, these huge sets where used to create the most realistic scenes and due to its size, being so enormous, it becomes more believable and gives the audience more of a belief that this could have happened and leaves them in a state of suspension of disbelief.

Concept art
Along with the initial story boards, concept art had to be created to give the art department a springboard to work on when creating these huge worlds. There were many artists working on the concept of every look of the shot or locations, some in fine detail, others quick outlines, this is so that the art team have something to work off, also they can be used to see if a certain object will work or the lighting of a scene is correct. Two notable artists were the original people who worked on J.R.R Tolkins art; Alan Lee and John Howe, this was obviously a plus for the pre production team because they would know it better than anyone, this shows that having the best crew with vast

2

Unknown (n.d.) Two Towers Story board. [image online] Available at:

http://morganmussell.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/lordofrings.jpg [Accessed: 22nd November 2011].
3 4

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Appendices (DVD). New Line Cinema. 2002. Unknown (n.d.) map of nz.[Image online] Available at: http://cdn.firstlighttravel.com/images/lotr-locations-

map.jpg

3 knowledge of the production at hand is highly imperative when it comes to creating any big budget movies such as Lord of the Rings.

5

Concept art is the foundation of any film and is a key part in portraying the look and style of the films across to the art department which is quintessential to forming an impressive production. Reading through the Art of book for the Return of the king, it is clear that concept art was used to convey where locations were in relation to each other in the fantasy world. This is key to the directions and set design and then also goes onto creating the Biggitures that will be discussed later.

The importance of concept art could not be more relevant in this film because of the sheer size and scale of the production, it would have been impossible without the aid of some art direction in the form of concept art, but it s not just the image and the props in the concept art, concept art is also used to direct lighting in the scene and camera placement; two things that can make or break a film.
6

Along with the drawn concept art, models of sets and characters were created, these sets where so large they were known as Biggitures . Again these help a great deal when designing the film and sets, this helps a lot because then they can be filmed and super imposed into the film

5

Unknown (n.d.) Concept art. [image online] Available at:

http://wallpapers5.com/images/wallpapers/34849198/Movies/Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20%20Concept%20Art%20Lothlorien/Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20-%20Concept%20Art%20Lothlorien-06.jpg [Accessed: 22nd November 2011].
6

Unknown (n.d.) Concept art. [image online] Available at:

http://tolkiengateway.net/w/images/4/43/Corsair_ship_bigature_at_The_Lord_of_the_Rings_Exhibition.jpg

4

7

Production
During production of Lord of the Rings, they went to great lengths to make sure production could go on and that it was the best possible image that was being produced. All this was being helped along and directed by all the pre production before it. In the image above we see how the lighting has been described and in production, the crew evidently used this as almost a map when it came to creating the scene and how it looked. Good production will often lead to a good film and that is definitely the case with Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings already had a huge fan base from the publishing of the series of books, therefore it was highly important to satisfy these fans and prevent the film from coming under criticism. Paying attention to the small details and holding high production values was a way in which the production team tried to avoid any short comings where the vast fan base may be concerned. During production there where setbacks and the art department where forced to improvise, for example: Filming was progressing on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the location of Queenstown when suddenly the town was hit with massive floods and exterior filming had to be suspended. The only available indoor facility that could be used for a studio set was the squash court in a local hotel. 8 Luckily this did not jeopardise the filming as the production crew were able to overcome this mistake, this is due to the excellent production and the top class people that were involved in the film to correct this error.

7

Unknown (n.d.) Concept art. [image online] Available at:

http://na.llnet.bioware.cdn.ea.com/u/f/eagames/bioware/dragonage2/assets/gallery/concepts/kirkwall-04-gateo.jpg [Accessed: 22nd November 2011].
8

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/trivia (2011) Trivia, [online] Available at:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/trivia [Accessed: 22nd November 2011].

5

Conclusion
In conclusion I feel that Lord of the Rings is a great achievement of cinematography and certainly deserves the credit and awards that it received. However, this is not just about the cinema, it is also about the art direction and planning that went behind the film and it is something that many people may over look when they simply are viewing the film for pleasure. When looking at this film it is hard to imagine the amount of work that went into the production and the pre production and these shows through with epic vistas and gigantic complicated scenes. This just enforces that the more production and visual concept that is involved with the production does indeed have a direct effect on the quality and will just streamline the whole process in general. It is also key to observe the strategies used by the art team to get the effect they wanted and take inspiration from this, for example the in depth concept art and the biggitures.

6

Production and visual concept of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

7

Contents
Title Page. Contents Page 1 y y Page 2 y y Page 3 y Page 4 y Page 5 y Conclusion. Production Concept art Pre production Concept art Introduction Pre production

Related Interests