When we say second unit, we might mean third, or fourth. Or fifth. Or probably anything up to nine or so. Like The Lord of the Rings before it, The Hobbit is an epic undertaking and I’m sure there will be a whole array of units shooting simultaneously.
So, it’s a big responsibility for Serkis, who has not directed anything in live action or any material for a feature film before. Is there anything that he’s worried about? He told The Hollywood Reporter:
The learning curve is The Hobbit is being shot in 3D. [We're using it] dramatically, to give a point of view.
The THR article states that Serkis has already completed recording his appearance as Gollum. Crikey. They’ve only just got going down there and he’s done with the bug-eyed one already? And there I was thinking they’d beef his part up a bit.
Meanwhile, Andrew Lesnie, Jackson’s returning Middle Earth cinematographer of choice, has given some details to IF about his kit. The big surprise is that he’s shooting the film at something like twice the standard cinematic framerate, opting for 47.96fps.
Higher framerates do indeed appear to be the future of cinema, with James Cameron pledging to shoot Avatars 2 and 3 in at least 48fps. If you’re not sure why this the big thing right now, Douglas Trumbull and co. can help you understand: