The Hobbit & a few other tidbits from Vegas, baby

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     Richard and his fellow actors being shot in front of the green screen.

Monday night we had our Photoshop Elements class and our instructor Michael shared some of the details of his week in Las Vegas at Movie.Con.

Not surprisingly, my ears perked up at the mention of new technology shared, specifically mention of The HobbitLike many others, Michael was not sold on the new 48 fps technology–“almost too perfect-looking”–but he also stressed Sir Peter and his crew are still “working on it” so he is waiting to pass final judgement until he sees the entire film. Smart move.

He was also amazed at the extensive use of green screen in many movies today. “I saw these scenes [in The Hobbit] shot in this beautiful building, and then I realized–the building didn’t exist. All these little computer geeks were hard at work creating those images on computer with the actors shot against green screen.”  Of course, having seen the video blog entries by Sir Peter, we were already aware of the use of green screen in TH. And we also know there will be loads of beautiful NZ scenery to appreciate as well.

  Some of that lovely location scenery in New Zealand.

And Benny reminded me I had been shot on green screen for last year’s Puttin’ on the Ritz production as a faux news anchor.  Oh, yes–I am very in the know. LOL

Just a few other comments re the week:

Michael estimated some 25-30 well-known actors and actresses were present for the event. Charlize Theron was given a special decade award by NATO (this threw us until he explained that stood for National Association of Theater Owners) and she is, he says, “even more gorgeous in the flesh than on screen, if you can believe it.”  He described her as very witty and charming and quick with the clever quips.

Sometimes life is so unfair, isn’t it?

Charlize Theron strikes a red-carpet pose at t...

Charlize Theron strikes a red-carpet pose at the 82nd Academy Awards, March 7, in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael also pointed out that a lot of Hollywood actors are really–short in person. “Sylvester Stallone? You should have seen him at the podium. The guy’s practically a midget!! Jeremy Renner was there–on the short side, too. Tom Cruise–yeah, I saw him a few years ago and he is–tiny. Remember The Last Samurai? There’s a tracking shot where he’s actually walking on these boxes, plus the angle of the camera makes the man walking next to him seem much shorter than he is . . .”

I thought of Richard, and how he always wanted to be a few inches shorter “because most actors aren’t that tall.”  Personally, I love every six feet and two inches of him.

Michael also mentioned his excitement over a new sound system by Dolby that was displayed at the convention. “You know Surround Sound and  being encircled by speakers? Well, this adds speakers overhead. So if a helicopter is flying into the shot on screen, it will sound as if it is coming in over your head.” He said it would be next year before the technology would be available to theaters but The Edge is planning to retrofit at least two of its eight screens to accomodate it.

And now, for some Richard Armitage.

19 responses »

    • Thanks for the link, Mezz. I inserted a couple of related articles at the bottom I thought people might like to read, too. We had to go to Montgomery (which is a little less than a hour away) to see CA in 3D and we will have to do so again, as The Edge is not equipped for 3D films (I think they are eventually going to have to invest in the equipment with the growing proliferation of 3D films). While I love HD television and blu-ray films, I am not mad keen on 3D films, either. So if this is easier on the eyes and more enjoyable to watch, yeah–I am all for it.

      I look upon this as very much a work in progress. If you are working on a painting, how it appears in its early stages is very different from the final product. A stage production may be very rough in early rehearsals, but that doesn’t mean the actual performance won’t be a good one.

  1. I feel that with any technology, it’s the artistry of the whole project that makes it a worthwhile experience. I have seen too many films where the director is playing with the technology, just to see what it can do, rather than using it to tell a plausible story. It works for me when you don’t notice the CGI or the special effects, when what you see is a story well-told, unfolding so that “willing suspension of disbelief” is not a strain. I rather hope that Sir Peter and The Hobbit team make the kind of movie that lets me believe (without giving me a headache). Considering I will likely have to fly somewhere to see it, I want so much for it to be worth it. (Aside to RA: If I think it’s worth getting on a plane to see your work, that tells you in what high regard I hold you.)

    • I am going to elaborate on my own thoughts on technology in movies in the second part of my Movies and Magic post. And yeah, I think being willing to fly to another country to see someone in a movie is a true testament to the high esteem in which you hold him. :D

    • My initial reaction to this pic was: I wonder if there is a comment about this ridiculously ugly dress, Judit, you express yourself here quite moderatly. ;-) This Oscar’s gown leaves me utterly speechless……

      • @linda60, There’s no accounting for tastes; I thought somebody here might like the gown! ;) The 2 colours go nicely together, but I hope she didn’t pay a stylist to choose the dress for her!

        • Judit, you’re right. The two colours go very nicely together and the dress gains by seeing it in full lenght!! LOL Nonetheless I’m sure she paid good money for a stylist, what they seemingly all do!

          • That particular photo just happened to be in the collection of thumbnails offered by Zementa and WordPress — I couldn’t even see the dress, just her face in the thumbnail. When I clicked it to insert it, I finally saw the dress.
            Nope, can’t say I love it either, but I decided to leave it be. If nothing else, it would give you guys a good laugh. ;)
            Not only did she likely pay good money to a stylist, that dress, undoubtedly a designer gown, likely cost a pretty penny (although she might have gotten it comped as advertisement for the designer . . . what with it being the Oscars) And I usually really like Charlize’s fashion choices, too. She has often opted for classic Hollywood glamour in her looks, which I love. I guess everyone has an off night now and again. ;)

            • A-listers like Charlize get offered a number of gowns from a number of designers to choose from for events like the Oscars, don’t they? So I don’t think she paid for the dress itself.. As for the stylist.. Well, let’s assume the intent was for Charlize to “stand out” in this gown and she certainly achieved that! She’s normally very sophisticated. :) And of course, she’d look gorgeous in a bin bag. I suppose it took hours every day to make her look repulsive with make-up and prosthetics for her role in the Monster.

  2. This is slightly off the topic but I’m so thrilled I must share this here with you. I went to see the 2011 Wuthering Hights movie tonight and guess what I saw before the movie started: The Hobbit trailer! I was so happy and totally surprised I couldn’t concentrate on the movie during the first ten minutes. I just kept thinking:”OMG, I’ve seen Richard and heard him sing on the big screen!” It was such an amazing experience!

    • Good for you Cristine!:) Must have been a fantastic experience! Now I’ll have to go to the cinema soon just in case I might catch the Hobbit trailer too! :)

    • Cristine, I know that must have been very exciting! I remember how I got a thrill every time a Captain America promo came on TV last year . . . and then seeing him for those few minutes on the big screen. To get to hear that deep, rich voice singing in Surround Sound–what a treat. :D

      • It certainly was very exciting! I recognized the trailer at the first second but I still couldn’t believe my eyes. I hadn’t been prepared in any way. I forgot to breathe and inspite of the storm in my head and body, I was busy trying to act as if nothing had happened. :) That voice!

        As the book is a story also for small children, the names of the characters were translated into Finnish if needed. Most of the dwarf names are very easy for a Finnish-speaking child but, for example, Thorin’s surname was translated: Thorin Oakenshield became Thorin Tammikilpi (tammi ‘oak’, kilpi ‘shield’). It sounds kinda nice in Finnish, doesn’t it? :) Seeing the trailer with subtitles reminded me of the fact that some characters will have Finnish names in the movie, the same way as in the book (but only in the subtitles!). The thought of that feels really funny.

        • @cristine, Thorin Tammikilpi sounds very cute indeed! :) So, I take it they won’t dub TH in Finland? Lucky you…

          • @Judit, the only thing they dub in Finland are cartoons for small children and, in part, some science or nature documentaries and the like. It was decided quite early on that dubbing is not going to be used on tv or movies. Once, a long time ago, they tried dubbing the American soap “The Bold and the Beautiful” for one week, just for the fun of it. Although they used really talented actors, the audience feedback was really furious.

            • I think that’s wonderful, Cristine. One thing I am happy about is the fact foreign films are never dubbed when shown here on TV, and in the theatres that do show foreign films, they are generally shown with subtitles and the original voices–just as it should be, IMHO. As I have stated elsewhere on the blog, I really think everyone should have that option–to watch a series or film with subtitles rather than dubbing.

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