Our driver on the one hour trip from to Hobbiton described the journey as “From Reality to Fantasy”, a fair description of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The movies get some help from Peter Jackson that is not needed by a reader who just accepts the Author’ description of Hobbits as short and sturdy (with big hairy, bare feet!) and Gandalf the Wizzard as taller. in the Lord of the rings when Gandalf had a long conversation sitting in a cart next to Frodo, a special cart was built with the far seat separated from the near seat by a metre and set back. Gandalf in the foreground looks huge in comparison to Frodo. Mind you, they both had to direct their lies to a fanciful spot not the other actor. 3D meant the end of that trick and they had to use midget and giant standin actors.
Let’s start with the Hobbit Houses – there are 44 of them and they come in 9 sizes between 100% and 60% scale. Things like fences, tools and wheelbarrows were also produced in varying dimensions. More interesting was the effect of 3D technology in the the Hobbit.
Julie is no giant, except when standing outside a minIture Hobbit House, or maybe peering over a 40 cm front fence!
Under the artificial Oak tree on the left is Baggend, the home of the Baggins. The best house in the village was on the high point, of course! It needed to have a prominent tree and it didn’t . For the Lord of the Rings Trilogy the set was temporary, so they just found a suitable forest tree, cut it down and stuck it the soil. It died of course. In the Hobbit trilogy, 10 years later later, the farmer negotiated the building of a permanent set to remain as the international tourist attraction Hobbiton has become. The tree in the image above is constructed of steel and vynyl with 375,000 indivually, hand painted leaves. This tree doesn’t die but the leaves do get blown off in heavy winds and need replacing.
The selection of this property as the site for the Hobbiton set depended on this “Lake”, the amazing Party Tree and the rural backdrops lacking 20th century artifacts like roads and power poles. To this mix were added a Hobbit Village of 44 Holes, the Millhouse and the Green Dragon Inn, where you can still buy an excellent drink. The house in the foreground belongs to Sam. It is one of half a dozen houses with a smoke generator in the chimney