Legolas’ Lord of the Rings horse has special effects versus visual science

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has a wealth of indelible cinematic moments to choose from. Who can forget when he could not swim, when Samyes Gamge swam for Frodo Baggins? Or when Gondal arrives at first light to turn the tide against Isengard’s army? These are touching moments of high emotion that resonate even 20 years after the first encounter.

But what resonates most clearly is when Legolas climbed on that horse like him.

The 2021 mark marks the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings, and we cannot imagine the discovery of the trilogy in just one story. Every Wednesday throughout the year, we will go there and re-examine how and why films ended as modern classics. This is the year of the ring’s report door.

In order to attack The two towers, Legolas has moved on to observe the incoming enemy, and Rohirim rides him on a horse to capture him and brings Gimli to consciousness. Legolas turns, catches her galloping runner by the breast collar, and then he swings in front of the horse, swings into the air, and lands in the saddle in front of Gimli.

It is a spectacular stunt, showing the agility and strength of the elf. And this is a great display of visual effects from Vitta Digital. But why did he need to sit on a horse like that on Middle-earth? And is there any chance that this is possible physically, by man or by an elf?

Certainly, a scientist and people at Wit Digital had answers.

How to put legolas on a horse, with magic

Legolas swings on a horse

Picture: New Line Cinema

Extended version of The two towers The origins of this particular shot are revealed in its half-hour “Veta Digital” section. It features actors Orlando Bloom, director Peter Jackson and Witt Digital’s Matt Aitken, Joe Letry, and Jim Rigill only discussing the scene. Visual effects supervisor Aitan also spoke on Witten Digital today to provide Dore with more information about the scene.

As explained in the DVD feature, digitally placing Legols on a horse was not in the original plan. The three Lord of the Rings films were shot simultaneously, and on that scale, accidents happen. After a horse fell earlier in the day, Bloom had cracked a rib, and was unable to perform the stunts as planned. The filmmakers had footage of Rohirim reaching footage Legolas, with Bloom shaking in the air with one hand. In the editing room, Jackson and company discover the need to complete that sequence. That’s when he decided to use the digital double.

A digital double is a virtual recreation of a live-action character, allowing filmmakers to fill gaps in production and innovate where the use of stunt doubles would be dangerous. Digital dual work of Weta Digital is common nowadays, working in films like Furious 7, Gemini man, And even climate sequences Avengers: Endgame. But during the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the company was still experimenting with this technique, such as crossing the bridge of Khazad with a brief shot of the fellowship’s digital miniatures. the Fellowship of the Ring. In terms of putting Legolas on horseback, the team at Vitta Digital had a more difficult task ahead of them: a handoff to a completely new CGI version of the character from live-action footage of Legolas.

Aitken told Reporter Door, “In terms of the history of Wit Digital, I think this was probably our first big digital double shot. This was a technique we were working on. We had very few background figures and our huge armies in the fight, but they were already quite small in the frame. A digital character that is larger in frame is a much more complete frame. Hold it and not be too distracted to the audience. I think the shot was a turning point for us. ”

Being convinced to create a full-frame digital model was intense work. “[In] Two and a half months, [former Weta Digital animator Christopher Hatala] Said of thirty-five different versions of what this action could be. “He was going to one side of Legolas’ horse, using a stirrup to get up. Another version he lands behind a backflip, spiral into the air, and Gimli. He does one [motion] The way a horse puts its foot forward and builds a ladder. ”

A low-poly digital double of Legolas from the opening render of the shot, where he jumps on a running horse in The Two Towers.

Picture: New Line Cinema

Eventually, he made the film you see in the film at the end, though Aitken admits that “if you look at that action from another angle, it would look ridiculous. It would defy the laws of physics. I think.” [Legolas] Goes through the ground and goes through the horse. I think he will probably go through Gimli. “

Then, Wit Digital again needed to create a space where 3D elements of Legolas could live. “We’ve got the hill,” Aiton explained, “We’ve got a wireframe version of the horse. We’ve got a low-race version of Gimli on the horse, and we’ve got a digital puppet version of Legolas. The camera department has this scene. Makes it look like you’re playing a three-dimensional computer game, and it matches exactly the way it was filmed. “This technique, Match Moving, allowed WETA Digital to manipulate a digital double of Legolas and make it Allowed to integrate into the scene.

In addition to settling on a specific movement, several factors work together to make the sequence reliable. The lighting of the digital model has to match the actual lighting on the day of the shoot, to match the live performer in the hair and cloth simulation, which has to paint itself from the shot as soon as the digital double is taken. All those elements are then layered to form a solid CGI character which is the focal point of the action.

The CGI version of Legolas was also not the only digital element in the scene. Aitken told me, “[Bloom] An arrow will fire as well as digital. One thing i can guarantee is [Bloom] The actual arrow was not fired at any point The Lord of the Rings. They all later joined CGI. “

How to put Legolas on a horse, with science

Understanding how the scene was created is one thing, but it is obviously impossible for a real human, isn’t it? Until… Reet Allen, who has a doctorate in physics and is a science consultant for MacGyver, Spoke with Dorr on the real-world logistics of Legolas’s horse leap.

The first problem Allen raised was that the amount of his movement would be on a human arm. Ellen told Reporter Door, “You hold with one hand, and then you’re going from 0 to 10 mph in a very short time. This is a great force on your arm. If I did that, I think it would make my shoulder wiggle. ”

Another issue is how the artists approached animation. Regardless of how it looks in epic motion, how Legolas moves remains odd. “I don’t think it’s physically realistic, but stylistically, I was trying to figure out why they would animate this way. I couldn’t figure out the reason why they would do it.” If he When the horse climbs, it is to the right of the horse. You would think that he would swing on the right side of the horse, but instead he swings in front of the horse and on the other side. “Ellen said that not only would a person be seriously injured, but would try to attempt action, it is more likely that they would mount the horse from his right side or be pulled over trying.

But Legolas is not a human being at all. Can his Yogini heritage have any effect on our theory?

The Fellowship moves swiftly through the deep snow as Legol steps on a hill, over it into the Fellowship of the Ring.

How much does legolas weigh?
Picture: New Line Cinema

“Let’s say he’s an elf and the elves don’t weigh as much as humans,” Allen said. “Or elves are not as strong as humans we don’t even know. If they have a lot more strength than their weight, they probably can.”

How much do elves weigh? To determine the weight of Legolas, it has a view Fellowship of the Ring It serves as a guide. As the fellowship attempts to travel through the Karadras, they all struggle as the path is choked with snow – except for Legolas, who demonstrates his ability to walk on top of the deep snow, leaving only scars. except. In 2017, Kyle Hill Because science Use these parameters to show that Legolas’ body density is 72 or less kilograms per cubic meter.

With that information in hand, Alan said … “His mass is probably, and I’m just guessing, 20 kilograms or something super small like that. It would make him easier to drag himself on a horse, because you’re less. Not changing speed with mass. “Even so, it does not come under scrutiny.” I would say that it definitely stands out as a strange looking motion. This is something that we would expect goes out of bounds, ”Allen said.

Even if it looks a little strange when you see Legol ascending on that horse, there is no denying its effect. The two towers. It is a crowd in every aspect. And for Wit Digital, it was also an important scene in their history. It proved that digital doubles could be used in place of real actors.

“Digital doubles are a core part of our work that we are asked to do on every show we work on, and it was a real proving and turning point for us.” “To be able to get that shot as a visual effects feature, it showed the filmmakers that it was available to them to help them not only get out of sticky situations, but they Let your characters do what the actors would probably do as well. Aitken said he wouldn’t be able to do it or feel safe. “We’re thrilled that we were able to pull it off and I’d like to think [Jackson] Was very happy as well. “

The spectacular feat that Legolas did may not be possible for either the man or the elf, but still, Legolas rode that accursed horse.

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