How did they make the hobbits look so small in the movie?

Discussion in '"The Fellowship of the Ring"' started by Carantalath, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. Carantalath

    Carantalath Elf Princess

    The actors aren't that short, are they? To tell you the truth, I really don't care how they did it but my mom, every time she watches the movie, she asks me how they make the hobbits look so small. And every time I have to tell her that I don't know. So, does anyone know how they made the actors who play the hobbits look so much smaller than everyone else?
  2. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Camera tricks, and big shoes and boxes for the big guys to stand on- and in some scenes not done very well!
  3. TheFool

    TheFool Registered User

    hehe probably the 'biggest' actor in the film is the guy who plays Gimli...

    It's very subtle isn't it. I think they used a number of techniques; doubles, props, multiple sets of different sizes, loads of CG-trickery etc. I think there's a documentary on it on
  4. *Lady Arwen*

    *Lady Arwen* Lady Dimlondowen

    There are some scenes that things look so fake!
  5. GoldenWood

    GoldenWood Registered User

    In some scenes, (like the one in the starting where they show Frodo and Gandalf) Frodo looks much shorter than in the latter scenes. The size isn't always the same all through out.
  6. morello13

    morello13 Registered User

    find out how thjey did it on nov. 12th when the extended edition comes out, for only $26.50
    nope, i dont work for new line cinemas, im just a loser
  7. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Yes, they change sizes as if they're made of rubber!
  8. Talimon

    Talimon Registered User

    I thought they did the most excellent job here. Did you know John Rhys-Davies, Gimili, was the tallest actor? Over 6 ft tall. There is absolutely no way you can guess that from the movie. I guess if I really cared to nit-pick I could find some places where I "know" it's fake. But the whole point is to get sucked in, and quite frankly I have more trouble seeing Elijah Wood at normal height then I do at hobbit height :). Goes to prove how good a job they did.

    They used mostly doubles and CGI, along with a few camera tricks. Some stuff was pretty simple, like having the short charachters just get down on thier knees. Other places it's just really good computer effects. For example, in the council of Elrond where the whole Fellowship is standing one next to another, it is actually a composition of two different shots. One shot has Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn and Boromir standing there, and the other has the hobbits and Gimili. They did the second shot on a blue screen, and then super-imposed it on the original shot (which had the tall charachters). Unless you are aware of this, however, it's pretty hard to tell. The other common trick they used was to build all the sets in two sizes: real size and "hobbit" size. Contrary to what you'd think the hobbit size was actually bigger. This was done so that the size of the sets would make the hobbit charachters seem smaller.
  9. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Can it be excellent for the relative heights to differ from scene to scene?
    After the Council, in the tableau that was made in two parts using the blue-screen technique, the small characters are smaller in comparison than they were during the Council, and others have pointed out scenes where the proportions were different again.
    I agree of course about Gimli in general; he certainly looks the part even though he sometimes doesn't sound or act it.
  10. Mindy_O_Lluin

    Mindy_O_Lluin GOO. . . foff

    Interesting. I get offput by some of the inconsistencies, but for the sake of the story, you set aside disbelief.
    I didn't like how, the hobbit stand-ins in long shot scenes from behind, look like 8 or 10 year old kids, but then at the end, when Frodo and Sam are standing on Emyn Muil, from the back they proportionately look like full grown men. They could easily have used stand-ins there to keep consistant.
    I also noticed, when Aragorn is letting Frodo leave and enfolds the ring in his hand, that is obviously a small child's hand. At the front of the movie, Gandalf shakes Bilbo's hand, and theirs look more of an equal size. Well, I guess they can't think of everything. I'm not really a perfectionist, and I would hate myself to have to be judged by the same standards we tend to have for PJ.

    (One funny point is, I have a Japanese friend who watched my DVD but had never heard of the books before. She really DID think the Hobbits were that small, and was surprised to see them in other pictures, like the featurettes, as normal sized. :) I think she thought they were like midgets or something.)
  11. Carantalath

    Carantalath Elf Princess

    Thank you for your input in this. I like to pretend when I watch the movie that the actors really are hobbits and that size but now I can tell my mom how they do that.
  12. Ascamaciliel

    Ascamaciliel Dropper Of Eaves

    i saw on tv that is was mainly camera tricks and all the hobbits had short doubles. i also heard that sometimes it was the hobbits standing on there knees with the others standing on their feet. (example: in the scene when the fellowship is going up carhadras(sp) and frodo falls and aragorn helps him up. then aragorn's hands are on frodo's shoulders.
  13. Talimon

    Talimon Registered User

    Difference between paying $9 to enjoy a movie and paying $9 to suffer through it. With technicalities this miniscule (and arguably controversial), only someone who is trully looking to be dissapointed will let that get in the way. When I watch a movie I try to enjoy it. I'm sorry if I can't say that for most folks.
  14. Confusticated

    Confusticated Registered User

    I agree that it makes sense to go see a movie because you want to enjoy it. Though there are times when someone might do this for other reasons.
    I also agree that such small things should be looked past if someone wants to enjoy the movie to it's fullest extent.
    However, my point was that if someone fails to see the errors no matter how good their reason is (such as wanting to enjoy the movie) it is no different than someone who fails to see the good because they do not want to.
    The point is that sometimes people see what they want to see, defending of offending a movie they often overlook things which do not support their side of the discussion.
  15. Rangerdave

    Rangerdave He's Back!

    There is an old film trick pioneered by Georges Melies known as "forced perspective" and it works very well for making things look either very small or very large. This trick is much easier to do than to explain.

    One way is to have regular size people standing net to very huge (or very small) to force the illusion, another is to have two similar sized object filmed at different distances from the camera.

    Just for fun I have included a photo of one of my favorite examples of this. These are the New York Street exhibit at the Disney Studios in Florida. The skyscrapers in the background (circled in red) look huge and far of. But in reality they are about 15 feet away and about 35 to 40 feet high.

    A better description than I can provide can be found at this link

  16. Carantalath

    Carantalath Elf Princess

    I understand what you mean Rangerdave. I saw in a magazine an article about making trick photos and its kind of the same thing.
  17. Longshanks

    Longshanks Registered User

    The problems of making actors of different sizes fit into the fantastic proportions that Tolkien's characters must have been truly daunting. I think, on the whole, Jackson did a fine job of creating the illusion of Hobbits, Dwarves and Men existing in a real universe. If you watch the film with an eagle eye, like one trying to figure out a magician's tricks, you can spot the places where child doubles and CGI were used, but overall the illusion was good enough to easily suspend disbelief. I suppose it's interesting to figure out all the tricks, but I'd rather enjoy the magic:)
  18. Talimon

    Talimon Registered User

    In general, yes, that is the nature of discussion. :) Arguement makes for more interesting discussion, unfortunately. However, in this particular case, I am only backing up that which I agree with. There are many small aspects of PJ's movie that do bother me. However, seeing as how I enjoy 99% of the movie, I don't let that get in the way of my enjoyment.
  19. Talimon

    Talimon Registered User

    Surely the fact that the Argonath were CGI jumped out at you too, didn't it? And the fact that the orcs weren't real orcs? Or Orthanc, Barad-dur...the Balrog... the point is that, as the viewer, you make some effort to get "lost" in the movie. Granted, some folks might not be able to do that, but for people who commit so much time to reading books about orcs, elves, dwarves and wizards, one would hope this wouldn't be such a big issue. I never noticed the midget-doubles, but somewhere way in the back of my head I obviously knew there were doubles. The whole point was to forget everything was fake. It's only when it slaps you in the face over and over that you have to admit the movie is not doing it's part. I may have noticed at one spot or another that they weren't the real actors, but I know folks who didn't, and so I mainly attribute this to my previous knowledge rather then to any problem on the movies part.
  20. Confusticated

    Confusticated Registered User

    Talimon I think you misunderstand what I said. The doubles, jumped out at me. I have NO complaint about the orcs, Orthanc, or Barad-dur. I think a superb job was done with the costumes of the Orcs and of the towers, and even Minis Tirith. It was more than me becoming aware that in some scenes we were seeing doubles, it actually stuck out as a flaw. As I already said: I was not looking for errors during my fist viewing, I was glues to my seat, my eyes left the screen once during the movie that I was aware of. I was watching Middle-earth. Talimon, I was NOT looking for doubles. I just seen them.

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