Film lovers and J.R.R. Tolkien fans rejoice; The Hobbit is currently being shot with thirty of the new, advanced, hand-machined RED Epic-M cameras. Shot entirely in 3D, The Hobbit will take us on the adventure of a lifetime all in 5K resolution and 48 frames per second, with up to 300 frames per second for slow motion filming – pushing the new limits of RED technology.

Filming is just starting in New Zealand and the picture quality of the RED camera will enhance all the visual aspects of this fantastical tale by providing a level of never before seen detail. Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings series and now The Hobbit, says he’s really enjoyed working with the RED Epic-M and it has made translating the literary into reality possible. Jackson notes “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image RED produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”

–Such innovative technology does come at a lofty price – $58,000 for each body alone – but we think audiences will agree that the end result justifies the cost.–

So what does the making of The Hobbit mean for the future of RED Epic-M cameras? Seeing as it is one of the first productions to be shot with the RED Epic-M, we’re looking forward to seeing more directors and film-makers mirroring Jackson’s endeavor with this new technology. (We’ve heard that James Cameron has just placed an order for 50 RED Epic-M stereo rigs) Almost any movie worth seeing nowadays is shot in
3D as well as 2D, and the manageable size and weight of the RED Epic-M makes mounting 2 cameras on 3D rigs easy. As 3D motion pictures continue to gain new ground, the RED camera will be at the forefront of this revolution…

Perhaps looking back The Hobbit will be a milestone in the history of HD cinema. For further reading, see the RED user forum.