Peter Jackson to Shoot The Hobbit in 3D with 30 Red Epic Cameras

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It seems that Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films will start filming sooner than later now that issues over filming in New Zealand have been settled. Recently even better news was released regarding the production. We now know what camera technology the director will use. 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.

Despite the mention of the 3D, this is actually good news. These cameras have 5k resolution, and are able to shoot up to 128 frames per second, and include a new HDRx mode “for the highest dynamic range of any camera ever made.” For non tech geeks this simply means that the quality is going to be at the absolute best and it will cut costs and allow Jackson the freedom to shoot more footage in lesser time.  The cameras are considerably smaller, lighter, and more powerful than any other RED camera previously released.

According to Engadget, Jackson stated that he found “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”

Along with this good news, composer Howard Shore has recently confirmed that he will be returning to score the franchise and the casting seems to be almost complete with many exciting names added  including Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.

Fans should be more than excited that Peter Jackson will indeed be completing J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic saga and not anyone else.

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 is 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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