Jackson Shooting 'The Hobbit' in 3D with 30 RED EPIC Cameras
Hobbits on Red Epics. It was announced over the weekend (via Engadget) that Peter Jackson will shoot the two-part adaptation of The Hobbit in 3D next year using state-of-the-art RED EPIC cameras which have an "epic" 5K resolution. The RED EPIC was announced this year and 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. Remember, Jackson and his cast/crew will be shooting for around 380 days next year, so they really need the best equipment, and they'll be working with "at least thirty cameras." This is going to look amazing!
The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC. The camera's small size and relatively low weight makes it perfect for 3D, where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig. RED cameras are modular and can be customized any way they want. The photo above is of Jackson holding one of the RED EPIC cameras they'll be shooting with. Jackson has a long history (relatively, since they started in 2006) with RED, dating back to when he directed a short film called Crossing the Line (watch a trailer) as an early test of prototype RED cameras. "I have always liked the look of Red footage." Jackson continues:
"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."
Impressive. There's always been a lot of debate about RED and digital camera systems in Hollywood. Every different cinematographer I've spoke to has his/her own opinion on if the cameras are good or not or what the drawbacks are. Seeing Jackson choose RED almost exclusively for an extremely high profile project like The Hobbit will only give them more credibility and I'm sure we'll start to see these cameras used more and more. I've got no problem with RED cameras, I think used properly they're just as good as film, and I'm sure the set design and lighting on The Hobbit will be incredible enough that this will still look phenomenal no matter what. Shooting starts next year on both parts of The Hobbit, so we'll continue to keep you updated!