SPOILER Week 4: Beren's Adventures on the LOTR Blue Screen Set - Company of the Ring: Tol Galen

Beren, webmaster of Company of the Ring: Tol Galen, landed himself a six-week job working on the blue screen unit during the final phase of Lord of the Rings principle photography.

Here is an excerpt of his report about Week Four on the job:

Monday started off with finishing Saturday's stuff, so that was more stuff in Fangorn. Now this was another very very cool day, John Rhys-Davies was on doing Treebeards voice. This only happened a couple of times while we were shooting, we usually had a stand in voice. I suppose that's what happens when you play two characters. Johns voice is great in this role, very deep and booming, what you would expect Treebeard to sound like. This was another excellent casting choice on Peter's part.

The second scene we shot was more stuff I don't really think I should talk about. Then we did a shot of Merry in Fangorn, again nothing spectacular what we shot but when it's all finished it should look great. Then we did some Treebeard walking shots, now this Treebeard we were using is big enough to pick up a couple of actors and move them around. This is all done with poles. He sits on a rocker so he can move from side to side to get the walking motion and his legs go back and forward.

So you can have Treebeard striding through the forest, then add into this a radio controlled head with a mouth that moves, eyes the open and close and a head that moves from side to side as well as up and down. Now imagine all this working at once, it's a site I can tell you, on film it is going to look really great. But if you stop him from moving and close his eyes you would think it was a tree. I will say now that when we finally get to see him in about two years with all the postproduction work done to it, it should look totally amazing.

The detail is really great to, his skin looks like tree bark, his beard is made of twigs and has a snail living in it. He has fungus growing on him, basically imagine an old gnarled tree that's been around for a hundred plus years and you'll start getting a picture of what he looks like. But it's a bit hard to describe exactly what he looks like, you will just have to wait to see for yourselves.

The final shot for the day was Treebeard striding through the forest with Merry and Pippin sitting on him. They had to wear harnesses when they were up on Treebeard because of the height factor and we were also doing the walking motion, which moves them around quite a bit. In this scene all the ents are following and the hobbits have to look around in wonder at them all. And so ended the first day of week four.

Please click on the link below to read more, including scenes involving the Balrog, Osgiliath, Isildur, and lots of horseplay.

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