Elves and dwarves fill the screen in The Hobbit 2, but most moviegoers don't ever stop to think of the amazing accomplishments achieved by the FX guys behind the scenes. Really, how do they get the dwarves, played by normal-sized actors, to be towered over by the elves, who are in some cases played by actors or actresses even shorter than the actors playing the dwarves?
The answer is trickery. Lots and lots of visual and set trickery.
Check out the December issue of German magazine CINEMA, which devoted a spread to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Disclaimer: It's been translated from German to English, so it might read a little oddly:
Waiting they stand there: Two eerie creatures in skin-tight green bodysuits. Their faces are hidden behind sock masks, only the eyes are visible through slits. Suddenly a command is heard and the spandex duo mutates into two beasts. Fast and without remorse they attack a dwarf and a pointy-eared beauty who fight back with sticks that have orange spots on their ends. After a few minutes of battle a relaxed “Cut” can be heard. Peter Jackson emerges from behind a screen with a cup of tea in his hand. He smiles and praises the attackers as well as his actors Aidan Turner and Evangeline Lilly for their timing – because of the scale differences between dwarves and elves they were recorded in the same hall but on two different sets in front of green screens and are later put together on the computer into the same scene.
The horror insects [sic!] however are not visible on this frosty day in September 2011 in the Stone Street Studios in Wellington. Their part is played by the stuntmen in green outfits, later on they will digitally become arachnids.
(Source: CINEMA magazine via The One Ring)
It's kind of amazing when you think about it. Are you stoked to see all that clever practical effects work and green screen trickery come to life on December 13th? Let's hear it in the comments.