Watch: Peter Jackson Talks About Remastering ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy in 4K
The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy are both now available on 4K for the first time ever, which means that director Peter Jackson had to go back and go through all six films to get them up to snuff. In a new featurette, Jackson explains that the biggest problem he had was inconsistency – the six films are meant to tell one huge, linear story, but since they were all shot at different times on different kinds of cameras, they all looked different. But that’s changed.
Lord of the Rings 4K Restoration Featurette
For the first time ever, all six of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies are now available on 4K – and they look great. If you’re hoping for a deluxe release with many special features, well…you’re going to have to wait. Because a 4K UHD “Middle-earth” Ultimate Collectors’ Edition featuring the theatrical and extended versions of all six films, along with new bonus content, previously released Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit trilogy, and remastered Blu-ray discs of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will be released in the summer of 2021, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy featuring remastered Blu-ray discs of the theatrical and extended versions of the 3 films will also be released in the fourth quarter 2021, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
But for now, you can still pick up the six films in their newly restored 4K forms. But to get the films ready for release, some work was needed. As Peter Jackson explains in the video above, the first film to be shot – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – was shot on 35mm and used an old mechanical color timing process. The next two films – The Two Towers and The Return of the King – were also shot on 35mm, but they used digital color timing. Then when it came time to shoot The Hobbit trilogy, Jackson shot everything digitally. As a result, all of these films looked different, even though – according to Jackson – they’re supposed to look like one continuous story.
Now, with advanced technology, Jackson was able to go through all six films and create something that looked like they were all shot at the same time. Jackson also points out that restoring the films to 4K revealed some imperfections in the visual effects. That’s to be expected, since – believe it or not – the first of the films was shot 20 years ago, so technology has only advanced. Jackson took this opportunity to “paint out” the imperfections – although he’s also quick to add that none of the special effects have been changed or updated. Just cleaned up a bit.
But most of all, Jackson adds that the films – which are about ordinary people (or rather, ordinary hobbits) trying to fight back against a harsh world – feel more resonate than ever. “It’s not a story of heroes of superheroes, it’s about ordinary people who set out to save their world,” the filmmaker says.
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