When Peter Jackson puts up a new ‘Hobbit’ production diary, Ringers go nuts. And for good reason. They show incredible exclusive on-set footage and give tantalizing sneak peeks at what is to come. They are also peppered with flashes of things that fans of the books and movies can recognize and enjoy. But most of all, Jackson gives some wonderful insight into what is happening as they bring Tolkien’s classic tale to life.

Last night, Peter Jackson put up his fourth production diary on Facebook, and this one focused primarily on the 3D aspect of shooting. Now, as somebody who is burned out on the 3D craze and who has turned staunchly against its overuse and ubiquitous presence in entertainment these days, I have to admit that this production diary actually sold me on ‘The Hobbit’ in 3D. Watch and see what you think about it.

My own personal distaste for 3D comes from the overuse on it particularly with movies that were never intended for 3D, creating an effect that looks almost like moving cutouts on the big screen. This has reduced 3D to nothing more than gimmickry for me. But what Jackson is doing to make ‘The Hobbit’ as immersive as possible has made me curious to see the final product as he intended it.

In the beginning of the video, Jackson confesses that he had originally intended to shoot ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in 3D, but the technology had not yet caught up to his intentions. He did, however, take a number of 3D production stills that he hopes to one day put on the 3D Blu-ray for ‘The Hobbit.’ There are a few teases of these pictures in the video, but I still can’t shake the idea that there might be a little revisionist history at play here.

Jackson and his crew go into great detail about the cameras and how they work, and I’ll spare you the techno-babble here. You can watch the video and learn all the gritty details for yourself. I will say that I found it very impressive – primarily by the fact that, with it being shot in 3D and digitally, everybody is able to watch what they shoot in 3D while they shoot it. There are many funny shots of cast and crew watching monitors with 3D glasses.

Is that Frodo?! Wearing 3D glasses?! You may swoon now, ladies.

Jackson also revisits the fact that they are shooting at 48 frames per second as opposed to the standard 24, which was talked about in greater detail in an earlier production diary. What really sells me on all these technological advances that one might dismiss as expensive gimmicks that add nothing to the film is Jackson’s own enthusiasm about it. Seeing his passion for this and his excitement for how much it will bring the audience into Middle-earth makes me excited to see his vision. As a dyed-in-the-wool fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ I’ve always been impressed with how Jackson has been able to turn this mythical world into something believably real. I have no reason to doubt him now.

Most of the shooting that we see in this video takes place in the forest of Mirkwood, a deadly forest that is home to hordes of giant spiders and the Wood Elves – elves like Legolas. The design for Mirkwood is very interesting with trees and webs and vines snarling everywhere. The most striking thing is how psychedelically colored the entire forest is. They explain that, due to the HD filming, the colors need to be more defined. So while it looks like a pretty trippy forest now, it will look more normal in the final product. This need to “overcolor” everything also translates to the actors, as we see the dwarves being made up in very deep reds that make them look either very flushed or very tan. I don’t claim to understand all the technical reasons for this, so I’ll just have to take their word for it.

The most surprising thing of the whole video is when we talk with conceptual artists John Howe and Alan Lee. Since Jackson has been so intent on making this 3D, the two of them have done something neither have done before: creating conceptual art in 3D. It’s fascinating to see them draw in red and blue colored pencils and coordinate with each other to create the right offsets. The final product is something you could actually see for yourself if you happen to have a pair of cheap red and blue 3D glasses lying around (and who doesn’t, really?).

Put your glasses on now!

Jackson wraps up the video as they wrap up their studio shooting and begin to move on location. Many news reports are already flying over the various locations around New Zealand that are being closed off and built up for these shoots. The next video diary will be on location, and is sure to be very exciting. There is no telling when the next one will go up, however. Jackson puts them up on his Facebook page sporadically and with only about a day’s notice. Despite that, seeing this first-hand look at what is happening in New Zealand is fascinating, and is a wonderful way to build up excitement for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ when it premieres next year.

Thanks to SciFiMafia‘s Channel on YouTube here’s the latest video posted on Facebook:

Jackson’s previous production diaries can be found here: