Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour (Part 2 of 2)

So yesterday I showed you the sights used to film Helms Deep, Mina's Tirrith, Isengard and the scene where Aragorn washes up on the shore.
Today I'm going to show you photos from the sights used to film Rivendell, the Get Off the road scene and the Weta Studio. 

After a bit of lunch Alice drove us to Kaitoke Regional Park, this is where Rivendell was built and filmed. The park is primarily a very scenic place, showing off some of New Zealand's trees and shrubs. For us, the trees were very important and helped us to identify the set location exactly. The area Peter Jackson wanted the set to be built is actually where all the trees and shrubs are growing. So prior to the build, Department of Conservation workers had to photograph and label and number hundreds of shrubs and trees before they could clear them for the set build. This is so that all of the plants could be put back in their original places, so no one would ever know Peter Jackson and his crew were even here!

And honestly, you don't. Save for a few sign posts and a couple of trees - which you aren't aware of until they are pointed out to you. Like this one-
The tree I'm pointing to in this photo is the tree you can see right there on the right in the photo below. 
Just around the corner Alice showed us another tree which is very important - especially to Legolas fans! Do you recognise it?
No? How about now?
Hmm as gorgeous at Tom looks in this photo (by the way Tom, those ears really bring out your bone structure! Hehe) I'm sure Legolas fans will prefer this image.
Alice got us all dressed up in blonde wigs and elf ears. We also had a little bow and arrow. She told us to pull our best serious face, but dressed up like that with everyone laughing at you - its a heck of a challenge!

Next she got us looking a bit closer at the trees around us. It's a little tricky with the bushes now back in their place, so she helped us out. The tree behind Elrond (guy in the brown in the middle) is the prominent tree on the left you can see in the bottom image. Now in your mind try to picture the set sitting where those bushes are. To see it in person, it wasn't very big at all. 

Did you read that bit up there? ^ If you read my Hobbiton post, you will know that Peter Jackson is huge on the little details. So much so, that the set builders and artists always build extra set. Take this image below for example. Notice anything a little funny with it?
There are Autumn leaves on the ground, but the trees are green. The leaves only go halfway up the staircase. This is because it was summer during the time of filming, and only half of the staircase was in shot. Extra set is built but as improvements and retakes are made there is no predicting what might end up in the shot, so to protect themselves from critics and from making multiple retakes because of a nun slightly gap the set builders make more! 

Now you can enjoy this clip of the Fellowship leaving Rivendell. See if you can spot the trees!

After Rivendell we dropped off some our group and gained a couple extra for the second part of our full day tour. This time Alice drove us up Mount Victoria. There were several scenes shot here and we had a lot of fun recreating them ourselves! 

The first part was the scene in the Fellowship of the Ring where Sam and Frodo are sitting in a tree. Frodo is smoking a pipe while Sam is cooking their meal!
Look at this photo super, super carefully. This whole photo was in shot during filming and these trees are all in on the scene. See if you can spot them in the clip below.

Pause the video at 00.51 to get the exact image from above, only with our Hobbits in place. Notice the little sticky out twig on the side of the tree on the left edge of my photo. Then the tree just right of it where all the branches seem to stick out to the left. Then the curvy tree next to that one. And then there are the Hobbits sitting in that tree at the bottom. 

We got to play Sam and Frodo!

Next stop was the short cut to the mushrooms scene!
Recognise it?
our Hobbits did not actually roll down that hill. Their stunt doubles did, because an injured Hobbit is no good. And it's just as well, because one of the stunt doubles actually dislocated their shoulder while doing this scene. It's quite a steep bank as well! Take another good look at those trees for when you see the clip! There's that funny little stumpy tree, he gets his shot of fame! As do all those trees in the background. 

Notice any thing else familiar about this area? Just a couple of strides behind us is the where the Get off the road! scene was filmed. You see that big branchy tree there on the right? Look out for that one in the clip I'm about to show you! 
And here we are hiding from the black rider! Where's the tree? you ask. Ah, sorry, the one the Hobbits are hiding under is another fake tree made by Weta. But that is the hole. Honest. Just compare the trees!!

A couple of little fun facts for you on this scene!
The horse the black rider was riding was called Bob. 
Those creepy crawling on the hobbits were real!
The scene that follows the link above, where Bob and his rider chase the Hobbits onto the raft, well, the first take Bob went straight into the water! His costume was weighing him down, so the crew had to work fast to remove his costume while holding his head up out of the water. Thankfully, all ended well and Bob never tried to go swimming again. 

The final part of scene searching was this scene in the clip below.

This scene is very difficult to show you in photos because the scene was filmed at night. We had to use our imagination and a little bit of acting ourselves to recreate the scene so that we could identify the trees. I haven't included the photos of the trees where the Hobbits ran down the hill and hid by each one, because the photo just looks like a clump of trees, but you can see a couple of them on the edge of the path on the right of the photo below, perhaps you will recognise it from the clip above? At the top of the hill this is where the black rider rears his horse. 

Before the black rider appears the hobbits run down this hill and into the trees you see them hide behind. This scene was filmed so many times, and that hill is pretty steep! I was out of breath after climbing it just once. Not to mention on the day of filming it was raining and as our hobbits we're running back up and down this hill for retakes they became very tired and their feets were hurting. So, Peter Jackson hired men to carry the hobbits up and down the hill. This was a long day for everyone involved. They filmed right through to 4am the following morning. Wow. 

Finally our scene tour came to an end. Alice drove us past the harbour and into a little suburb. This is where we got to see Peter Jackson's filming studio on Stone Street. It's a massive studio and this is all I could fit into one photo. You'd an see the green screen there, which is huge. The studio was once a paint factory.

Just up the road is Weta studios, the design and animation studio. Here we got to look around the shop which was mostly filled with Lord of the Rings memorabilia. Weta is one of the top 2 animation studios in the world! So it's not surprising Peter Jackson works with them. They have worked closely together through all of the LOTR movies. Weta have also worked on films such as Narnia, which  was also partly filmed in New Zealand, and District 9, Elysuim, King Kong and Tin Tin just to name a few. 

We paid a little bit extra when we booked our tour and we were able to get a special tour of one of Weta's studios. Sadly I wasn't able to take photos, it was strictly forbidden, but there is some incredible work in there. Movie props from films such as a gun from District 9, a scale miniature model of the Prince Caspian castle, a scary looking giant bunny from an old children's tv program, and there is Peter Lyon's workspace; a sword-smith who creates real life swords and armour. His skill and designs is  breathtaking and he even earned himself a Queens Honour - the knights companion of the New Zealand order of merit.

So that brings us to the end of my Lord of the Rings Wellingon tour. Hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer! 

Anyone game for a LOTR movie marathon? 

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