Peter Jackson to Shoot THE HOBBIT Films in 3D with 30 New RED EPIC Cameras

     November 28, 2010

Though I’m remiss to say it for fear of jinxing the project, it looks like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films really are moving ever closer to production. With the issues over filming in New Zealand settled and a great deal of casting recently confirmed, filming is gearing up to begin at last. And now, Jim Jannard, the owner and founder of RED DIGITAL CINEMA, has announced that Jackson will be using the company’s soon to be released EPIC digital cameras to shoot the two film adaptation in 3D.  Engadget reports that the new camera has 5k resolution, is able to shoot up to 128 frames per second, and has a new HDRx mode “for the highest dynamic range of any camera ever made.” All this is to say that RED has produced a camera that is considerably smaller, lighter, and more powerful than any on the market today.  Jackson had this to say about using the cameras:

I find the picture quality [of RED cameras] appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.

Jackson will reportedly be using at least thirty of the new EPIC cameras on the production. For more on the technology, and what we know about The Hobbit so far, hit the jump.

Given his rather long history with RED (he used the prototype RED ONE on his short film Crossing the Line), Jackson’s been a fan of the company for quite a while, stating that he’s “always liked the look of RED footage…the image RED produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats.”  Jannard and his team apparently flew out to New Zealand earlier this year to let Jackson test the cameras, and it appears that he very much liked what he saw.

This is exciting news, as Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films are an absolutely magnificent sight to behold. With this new technology, and Jackson’s knack for making gorgeous films, The Hobbit flicks are sure to be stunning.  The past month or so has been chock full of Hobbit news: composer Howard Shore recently confirmed that he will be returning to the franchise to score The Hobbit films, casting seems to be nearly complete with Martin Freeman announced as Bilbo Baggins and litany of other exciting names mentioned for various roles, and Hobbiton is set to be a permanent tourist attraction when filming is completed.  Needless to say, Jackson’s dream of completing J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic saga is near fruition.

The Hobbit is set to start shooting in New Zealand early next year, with Part 1 to be released December 2012, and Part 2 in December 2013.

Here’s the press release:

November 28, 2010, RED Studios Hollywood, Hollywood, Ca. – RED announces that Peter Jackson’s two film adaptation of The Hobbit will be shot in 3D using RED DIGITAL CINEMA’S soon to be released EPIC Digital Cameras.

The successor to RED’s industry changing RED ONE, the EPIC has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made. Taking everything they had learned from building their first camera, RED designed the EPIC from scratch and have produced a smaller, lighter camera that is an order of magnitude more powerful.

The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC and at least thirty cameras will be required by the 3-D production. The EPIC’S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D – where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig.

Jackson has a long history with RED, dating back to when he directed the short film ‘Crossing the Line’ as a very early test of prototype RED ONE cameras. “I have always liked the look of Red footage.” he says, “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”

Jim Jannard the owner and founder of RED flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so that Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability. “Everybody at RED is incredibly proud that Peter has chosen the Epic” says Jannard, “The Hobbit is a major production, and could have chosen any camera system that they wanted. The fact that they went with us is extremely gratifying.”

The Hobbit will start shooting in New Zealand early next year.

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