About a year ago I landed an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. During our wide ranging conversation we talked about everything from how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming, to how they didn’t use miniatures on The Hobbit, and so much more. With the second installment in the trilogy (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) now in theaters, a few days ago I landed a new video interview with Letteri here in Los Angeles. He talked about the technical advancements they made to create Smaug, how they decided to visualize Smaug’s speech, the time required to render visual effects like the billion coins in Smaug’s vault, just how many people worked on the film, the Desolation of Smaug extended edition, and so much more.
In addition, with Weta working on other projects, we talked about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (Weta did the incredible opening on Krypton), whether Weta will be doing some of the effects on Batman vs. Superman, the Tintin sequel, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what it will take for motion capture to be recognized as a legitimate art form, and more. Hit the jump to watch.