You Can Now Journey Back to Middle Earth in 4K HDR

'Lord of the Rings'
'Lord of the Rings'Credit: New Line Cinema
Go behind the scenes of Peter Jackson's 4K restoration of The Lord of the Rings.

The more I think about it, the more I have come to understand that The Lord of the Rings was the most important trilogy in my lifetime.  It hit me right at the perfect age, and over the following three years I was able to see all of them many times in theaters. 

After I moved to Los Angeles, a new phase in my life began, and it did so with the release of The Hobbit movies, providing another sojourn. 

'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'Credit: New Line Cinema

These movies were stunning at the time, but it's been over 20 years since The Fellowship of the Ring was released, and over a decade for The Hobbit. When it was announced that Peter Jackson would be revisiting both films, I was excited, and as I take a peek at what he has in store, I have to admit I expect this holiday season to be very special. 

Check out this video of Jackson describing the restoration process, and let's talk more after the jump. 

Go Behind the Scenes of Peter Jackson's 4K Restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 

I have never been more excited to don my Elven cloak and head out to watch a film series, even if it means spending $80 on all three.

The 4K Ultra HD disc and digital (Theatrical and Extended Edition) were coded with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, so you'll see unbelievable color grading and superb contrast levels with controlled highlights and deep and dark shadows.

'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'Credit: New Line Cinema

Jackson worked to remaster everything in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound, which he said should boom through home speakers and really make that Howard Shore music come alive.  

One of the things most people griped about was the difference in look between The Hobbit and LOTR trilogy. The Hobbit was shot in HFR, and looked a little soap opera-y at times. 

Jackson has gone into all six movies with the intent of making them look all alike. This is now one huge story that carries over six individual films. Even though they are filmed decades apart, careful work has been done to make them look similar. 

To do all of the restorations, they scanned the original Super 35 camera negative (Kodak film stock) in 4K (2.39:1 aspect ratio). Back in 2001, the film was scanned and rendered in 2K. That meant visual effects were finished on 35mm. To update them, they were also scanned in 4K, and all digital effects shots that were originally mastered in 2K were upconverted to 4K to produce a completely new 4K digital intermediate.

That obviously left some not-great looking special effects, so Jackson supervised the tweaking and painting of them to update the effects to how they would have looked today, without major changes. 

'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'Credit: New Line Cinema

He also supervised and approved the remastering project, which involved the 4K scanning, color grading, HDR coding, and any cleanup work.

This gave all the movies not just pristine images, but the shared cinematic look he desired from the beginning. 

Jackson says he thinks that brought the theme forward. At their heart, the movies are about how anyone can change the world if they are willing to try. They are about ordinary people who set out to save the world and change history. 

And I can't wait to watch them. 

You can get them now for $80    

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