Fostering a Creative Atmosphere for a Successful Production in 'The Hobbit' Production Diary #8

Some of you might know a new up-and-coming director by the name of Peter Jackson. He's a guy with a lot of potential, and he's directing this new independent film called The Hobbit (I know, not very funny, I tried). Kidding aside, if you've been following our site for awhile, you may have already seen the other production diary videos that Jackson and Co. have been making for the new Hobbit two-parter. The crew for these videos is probably as big as some low-budget films -- which just makes the entire process even more impressive.

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Unbelievably, the film has shot the equivalent of 22 million feet of film. That's an absolutely incredible number when you consider that some of the largest productions ever have only used a few million feet of actual film. 22 million is just staggering, and for anyone who is considering shooting RED EPIC in 3D at 48fps like this film, the amount of data is quadruple what it would be shooting 2D EPIC at 24fps. I've written previously about the data that RAW can consume, but thanks to RED's compression, it's not nearly as bad as it might have been. Either way, they've got to be creating their own data center for this massive amount of footage -- because the 22 million feet number doesn't include the backups that they are surely making.

These production diary videos give a great sense of the community that has been created within the crew working on the movie. I've found that I don't have to be best friends with everyone working on a set I am in charge of, but it's important to treat every single crew member like they are the most important person on set. In my experience, if someone makes a mistake, they know they made it, so there's no reason to berate them or call them out in front of crew members. If it is significant enough, they probably already feel worse than anyone. Fostering this sense of trust between crew members can help get the best final product possible, and it's clear that even through the long hours, the people working on The Hobbit genuinely enjoy waking up each day and getting to be on set.

[via IndieWire]

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i have worked on several features, and you are so right about knowing and feeling crap when making a mistake its then so much harder to get straight back into it if you get screamed at in front of 100 people, it doesn't get better results.

July 25, 2012 at 6:54PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Too true. I think the best way to deal with someone screwing up is simply the magic words: 'OK, let's go again'. Bawling someone out for making a mistake makes them feel awful (and most likely will have them never work with you again), and makes you look very bad to anyone in earshot. Actually, criticizing someone in earshot of anyone else is something that I've always regarded as unprofessional, pretty much regardless of the kind of project. If someone is screwing up repeatedly, take them to one side on their own and talk to them about it. Bawl them out in front of everyone and you've lost... everyone. And deservedly so. But none of this means you can't tell people what you need -- rather, you should, and as precisely as possible, regardless of your position. If you're the lowest of the low PA and you need something that's important, you should feel able to ask whoever necessary for it. The alternative is the production grinding to a halt later when the missing whatever-it-was becomes critical. This doesn't mean that it's OK to tell the director or the DP that they are doing it wrong (they may well have chosen to set up a shot in a way that they haven't explained), but it does mean that you should tell them if you know something is screwing up (hey, I was watching the video village monitor, did you notice the horizon was off?). Etc.

July 26, 2012 at 2:41PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


July 26, 2012 at 12:49AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Haha, I'm working with the editor of Lord The Rings and he said today for all 3 films they shot 5 million feet, which is a huge amount. 22 million.... holy shit!!!

July 26, 2012 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'm not even a big fan of the Lord of the Rings series, but this video is very inspiring because it captures the singular beauty of the shared film making experience. There is just so much love on set.

July 27, 2012 at 11:22AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM