With one week to go until the premiere of Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland‘s highly anticipated film, Isle of the Gods, fans are still buzzing from the news that the movie will be filled with special effects.
While we await new footage from the highly anticipated film, we can still experience the magic of the movies through the work of special effects masters who recreated the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings for director Peter Jackson. Jackson and his team of special effects experts turned to Youtube to show us some of their tricks of the trade.
The first video, titled LOTR Special Effects and posted on December 14, 2019, shows the making of the famous digital spinars, or “luminous orbs” that act as the lights in the Hobbiton sequences. The video begins with a simple explanation of what these are and how they work:
“The digital spinars are a combination camera and light source. Essentially what we have here is a camera that is actually spinning. So instead of using traditional film stock, which is relatively easy to process and allows for some creative flexibility in terms of slow motion, we’re using a combination of computer software and digital spinars to achieve a similar effect.”
The creators of this video talk about the challenges of recreating the fantasy world of Middle-earth and how they overcame them. They also show the process of building the digital spinars and give us an overview of their workflow, which included using Red Digital Film for key light and background elements as well as the occasional drone shot.
The Art of the Stereoscopic 3D Presentation
The second video, posted on December 26, 2019, is a behind-the-scenes look at how Jackson and his team used a stereoscopic 3D presentation to show us the power of the digital spinars. The video begins with a simple explanation of how the stereoscopic 3D presentation works:
“We’re seeing the movie through cameras that are specifically designed for 3D and then projecting it onto a 2D screen. So instead of having two cameras and using the traditional two-camera shoot, we’re using a combination of technologies to achieve a similar effect.”
The creators of this video talk about the different advantages of using a stereoscopic 3D presentation, comparing it to other presentations like IMAX and going into great detail about how it works.
The Making of an IMAX Shot
The third video, posted on January 02, 2020, is another behind-the-scenes look at how Jackson and his team used various technologies to achieve an IMAX-like shot and how they overcame the technical challenges posed by working with a large number of extras and complex action sequences in the Hobbiton sequences. The video begins with a simple explanation of how the IMAX camera works:
“The IMAX camera is a bit more complicated than the other cameras we’ve discussed so far. Instead of using traditional film stock, we’re using digital projection to achieve a similar effect. And since our screen is so big, we were restricted on what we could do in terms of camera angles and where we could place the cameras relative to each other.”
The creators of this video talk about the specific challenges of shooting an IMAX film, including the need for multiple cameras and intricate sets built especially for the movie. They also discuss the various software and plugins they used to make sure their shot looked like an IMAX film and how they overcame the technical challenges posed by working with a large number of extras and complex action sequences in the Hobbiton scenes.
Prosthetic Makeup and Costumes
The last video, posted on January 03, 2020, is another look into the process of creating the amazing makeup and costumes for the movie. This video is more of an overview of the different types of prosthetic makeup and costumes used for filming and how they were applied. The video begins with a simple explanation of what these are:
“The prosthetic makeup and costumes are a combination of tools that are used to give Chris [Holland] or myself, as the case may be, a different appearance. So instead of having the actors wear wigs and masks, we’re using makeup and prosthetics to achieve a similar effect.”
The creators of this video discuss the various types of prosthetic makeup and costumes used for the movie and how they were applied. They also give us some great tips on how we can use makeup and prosthetics to achieve a similar effect in everyday life!
While we wait for more information about Isle of the Gods, let’s take a look back at some of the other highlights from the incredible career of Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland.