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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

TTT Extras 5: Screencaps from the extras compared to final film versions.

Posted on 2008.02.28 at 16:35
Tags: , ,

As was the case for the FotR bonus materials, the extras for TTT contain bits of footage from the films that looks different from the way it appears in the final cuts. Sometimes it is because the sequence shown in a “making of” segment or in a trailer has not yet been digitally graded (changing the colour), or has been graded differently. Sometimes the extras show material that was shot but which was never included in the films, theatrical or EE versions.

As usual, all the caps have been cropped and tweaked slightly for better focus and lighting.

A screencap from the feature, On the Set: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” ~ Starz Encore Special, showing Frodo speaking to Gollum in the Emyn Muil:

Cap from the final version of the same shot, with very different digital grading:

Another cap from the Emyn Muil ("We're not alone"), from the feature, "Return to Middle-earth" ~ WB Special:

Nearly the same cap from the final version of the scene. The digital grading is different, although not dramatically:

Also from Return to Middle-earth, the caps below come from a sequence showing Frodo in the Emyn Muil at night, just opening his eyes to listen as Gollum makes his entrance crawling down the cliff face.

Here's the same cap (or nearly), but from the EE of FotR. Obviously, the same footage was used to show Frodo listening to Boromir and Aragorn as they are argue on the banks of the Anduin. The image has been reversed, but also the grading is quite different.

I've always wondered where this beautiful shot came from (I always called it, "St. Frodo the Martyr"). I have seen versions of it in Internet galleries for years. But it is not in the film, theatrical or EE. As it turns out, it comes from The Two Towers theatrical trailer (not the "teaser") included in the extras.

Version in the trailer:

Although this shot never made it into the theatrical release or the EE, here's a screencap from the same moment in the scene. Notice how different the digitial grading is for Osgiliath in the final version of TTT:

Below is another sequence of caps that shows a very noticeable difference in digital grading between the trailer and final version of a scene. They show Frodo and Sam hiding from the Nazgul in the Dead Marshes.

These are from the trailer:

Here’s a cap from the same scene in the final version of the film. The colour is extremely different:

The sequence below, from Behind the Scenes Preview of “The Return of the King”, not only has different grading from the theatrical version, it shows footage of Frodo that does not appear in the final version of RotK (theatrical or EE).

The setting is still Ithilien, the scene in which Sam wakes to hear Gollum/Smeagol plotting their deaths. Frodo pulls Sam off Gollum, the argument winding down as Frodo says, “We can't do this by ourselves, Sam, not without a guide. I need you on my side.” “I’m on your side," Sam answers. “I know, Sam, I know," Frodo assures him; "Trust me.” The caps below appear to show Frodo’s coverage in the scene as he says, or is about to say, "Come, Smeagol." In the final film, it is Sam's reaction to Frodo's line that is shown. Again, I’d love to be able to have *all* the footage that was shot for this film one day.

Here are the caps from the RotK preview:

Here is a cap from the final version of the scene in the moment just prior to the caps above:

Also from the RotK preview, this series of caps of Frodo from Shelob's lair leapt out at me because of their beauty and clarity. I went through the film scene again, but never could find these exact frames. Judging from the background, the moment comes not long after Smeagol has abandoned Frodo inside the tunnel. After he has put his hand in the spider web ("What is it?" "You will see"), Frodo begins to feel panicky, calling, "Smeagol, Smeagol!"

Here are the caps from the preview:

The cap below is from the final cut of the film. Note the darker digital grading:


Here are some non-Frodo "freebies", caps I made from a behind-the-scenes moment with Liv Tyler from “Return to Middle-earth”, just because I love the ungraded colours:

Below are caps of Liv Tyler with Viggo Mortensen from the theatrical trailer for The Two Towers. I have paired them with caps of the same scene from the final film to show how lovely the colours were before the final grading was added:

From the trailer:

From the final film:

From the trailer:

From the final film:


I dearly wish that some day New Line will produce a compilation of unused footage from the film, especially the stuff that was never digitally graded. I appreciate the mood the grading can produce, but I also love being able to see the real colours of the hair, eye and skin tones of the actors, as well as the gorgeous sets, props and costumes.

~ Mechtild

Recent Entries:

~ TTT Extras Pt. 1: 'The Long and the Short of It'.

~ TTT Extras Pt. 2: Assorted caps with Elijah Wood.

~ TTT Extras Pt. 3: Elijah Wood interviewed, looking like angel.

~ TTT Extras Pt. 4: Miscellaneous stills and publicity shots.

~ TTT Extras Pt. 5: Screencaps from the extras compared to final film versions.

Other links:

~ Other behind-the-scenes screencaps.

~ Main page of all links.


(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2008-02-29 00:52 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Mews, can't you just *imagine* the beauty and clarity of the Frodo material, just based on the difference between the Trailer frames and "final cut" frames of Aragorn and Arwen's material?

I heave a HUGE sigh of pleasurable anticipation: someday, these shots will be available. I just hope I'm not dead my then! :)

Edited at 2008-02-29 12:52 am (UTC)
theartoffic at 2008-02-29 01:51 (UTC) (Link)
wow, these are amazing! I love seeing the comparison between the originals and graded shots. I would love to see more of the untouched footage too! Thanks you for sharing this! :D
mechtild at 2008-02-29 02:36 (UTC) (Link)
I would love to see more of the untouched footage too!

So far, that makes three of us! Maybe we could send a petition? ;)
aliensouldream at 2008-02-29 20:02 (UTC) (Link)
You have such a magnificent eye for color! And how clever of you to spot the re-used flipped frames. It's lovely to have some of these ungraded shots. And the unseen moments of Frodo are amazing. Thank you very much. Always so much beauty to be found here! :-)
mechtild at 2008-02-29 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
Isn't it interesting, the difference a change in colour makes? No wonder they use digital grading; it really affects the mood without the viewer even being aware of it.

The art design people (or PJ or both) on these films must have had a wonderful and trying time making their minds up which way to go, colourwise, for each scene. I wish they'd release an un-graded album of shots, though. I really adore being able to see the actual colours for all the super costumes and props, as well as the actors.
(Anonymous) at 2008-02-29 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
Mechtild ~ I love Frodo's expression on the unused ROTK 'I need you by my side' shot. You are so observant to notice the flipped shot of Frodo waiting for Gollum to pounce ~ I've recently made screencaps of the scene where Frodo is listening to Boromir and Aragorn on the riverbank, and would never have made the connection.

After seeing the trailer for TTT, I was disappointed not to see 'St Frodo the Martyr' in the final film. IMO those few seconds of film produce an incredibly powerful image ~ as do your beautiful caps of the shot.

The colours in those caps of Arwen and Aragorn are really exquisite, as are those shots of Frodo and Sam hiding in the Dead Marshes. Digital grading creates an atmosphere, a certain 'feel' the film-makers are striving to achieve in any particular location or situation, but from a purely aesthetic angle, these originals are stunning. Oh, for Frodo originals. I would sign any petition to see Frodo's unseen footage ~ pre or post digital grading ~ all of it, every shot and every scene. We can only live in hope.

Thank you for sharing these terrific screencaps.
~ Blossom.
mechtild at 2008-02-29 22:02 (UTC) (Link)
Isn't that a great shot that wasn't used? He looks very mature in it, and very much a thinking person. I wonder what he was actually playing in the scene? Having seen how shots got shuffled around according to changing script needs, maybe it was his reaction to some line that got struck!

The colours on the Arwen and Aragorn scenes are exquisite, aren't they? The focus is crisper, too. Yes, I can see how the mood of "end of an era" was enhanced by the grading, but how I'd love to see the whole film ungraded! (ESPECIALLY all the Frodo stuff, yes!)

If you are looking for good quality ungraded shots, it's been my experience that the best place to find them is in the theatrical trailers (or "teasers"). The stuff from the films in the documentaries is sometimes of a lesser visual quality, made from lower resolution or something. But the material in the trailers, meant to be scene in the theatre, to entice prospective audiences, is always very good. Also, because the trailers were made before each film was actually finished, it has been the case that some footage is included that has not yet been digitally graded, or has been graded differently.

For an example, I'll use some Frodo screencaps.

Here’s a link to a post with caps from the final “blue” version of the Lorien scene. Below, there are caps made from a teaser for FotR, caps of the same scene, but *before* the footage had been digitally graded at all. The colours are natural (and GORGEOUS).


But here’s a link to another LJ entry, this time featuring close-ups of Frodo—in the scene in Lorien on Galadriel’s flet—but in a *lilac*-coloured grading. These caps were made from an FotR teaser, too, but a different one:


I remember in the FotR EE extras that there was a discussion about how originally they were thinking of grading Lorien in purple tones. Thus, I am sure this lilac-Frodo sequence was the result of that early grading.

Looking at all three versions, I think it’s interesting how very differently the same scene “feels”, just based on colour: the warm-toned natural version, the lilac, or the blue.
(Anonymous) at 2008-03-01 19:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for the links to those earlier entries, Mechtild. I'm sure I saw them first time around, but I enjoyed browsing through them again, and made sure to save
them all too.

The lilac 'eyelashes' screencaps are simply gorgeous ~ again, that specific shot didn't appear in either the theatrical or extended FOTR films, though how it didn't make the final edit I will never know. I can see I'm going to have to find time to trawl through those teaser trailers and extras yet again. Such a chore!

~ Blossom.

maeglian at 2008-03-01 21:07 (UTC) (Link)
Diligent and interesting research and comparison, Mechtild. I completely agree with you - in nearly all your examples the scenes as seen in the movie are inferior to the pre-final-digital-grading scenes.

It's also very lovely seeing "Angelic Osgiliath Frodo" from the TTT trailer again. I remember well how completely mesmerized I was with that shot in the trailer (well, all the Frodo fans were...). Lots of comparisons to midieval saint images were being made and we all swooned mightily. And then the shot wasn't in the film! That was a disappointment for sure. Thank you for posting these lovely images from the trailer. My God, he looks beautiful there.
mechtild at 2008-03-02 00:37 (UTC) (Link)
It's also very lovely seeing "Angelic Osgiliath Frodo" from the TTT trailer again (...) the shot wasn't in the film! That was a disappointment for sure. (...) My God, he looks beautiful there.

Hi, Maeglian! Yes, he looks *out of this world*. "Angelic Osgiliath Frodo" -- I love that! I understand the reason they graded the film, setting the mood, but, for sheer beauty, the ungraded caps are the best. You are absolutely right. I want an ungraded LotR!!! (Or at least a "highlights of" abridged version.)

Edited at 2008-03-02 12:37 am (UTC)
magpie_2 at 2008-03-02 05:54 (UTC) (Link)
oh I adore the Saint Frodo shot, one of my absolute favorites (and it didn't make the cut!)

wow, that is amazing the difference with color gradation, do you think it was a bit heavy handed or is that standard?
mechtild at 2008-03-02 13:56 (UTC) (Link)
I don't know, Cat. (If it's standard.) I know people have been grading things even before digital resources - underexposing footage shot in the day to look like the night, that sort of thing - making a film's palette look sepia (done for "The Sting"), to increase the sense of the film happening in the past. I think PJ was very into digital grading to increase the sense of LotR being a tale, happening in another time and place. It seems that every scene was graded to a degree, perhaps to keep the look consistent. Maybe that was because PJ just loves technical toys and couldn't keep his hands off the film, or it could have been a choice encouraged by the art design team. On stage designers use different coloured gels in the lights to change the look and mood of a scene, so I guess it's not that different; the filmmakers are doing the same thing digitally. I would say the grading was a little heavy-handed in LotR, but would I even know that if there weren't ungraded clips floating around? Probably not. I would have thought they shot Rohan on consistently wintery-looking days (not a very green place for a pasture land, was it?), or used a lot of gels in the lighting to establish mood (like in Lorien). I didn't know there was such a thing as digital grading until LotR! But I've used it a lot myself, making my manips.
frodosweetstuff at 2008-04-05 13:19 (UTC) (Link)
This was very very interesting! Thank you! :)
mechtild at 2008-04-05 13:43 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome!
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