When The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is released April 8th on Blu-ray and DVD, you can bet your ass it's going to be packed full of behind the scenes goodies for fans to watch.
Today we bring you a new featurette that shows the process of bringing the Dragon Smaug to life, and there's also a little bit of footage of Benedict Cumberbatch in a mo-cap suit doing some physical performance work for Smaug.
If you want to know just how big Smaug is, one of the dragon's creators explains that he’s twice the size of a jumbo jet. That's pretty damn impressive. David Clayton of Weta Digital also explained,
"Using our motion capture stage, we recorded [Cumberbatch's] performances, which focused on the conversation with Bilbo sequence. Having Benedict in a mocap suit was lots of fun — for us, and hopefully for him too — and seemed to help get him immersed and hone in on the character. The translation of performance from Benedict to Smaug wasn’t a one-to-one match like you’d get from a humanoid creature. They have very different physiologies. As animators we had to transpose the elements of Benedict’s performance that were critical to the shot, such as head nuances and facial expressions. We then built up the majority of his motion with keyframe animation (meaning that it was animated by hand)."
Smaug is one of the coolest looking dragons I've ever seen brought to life on the big screen, and I couldn't be happier with how he turned out. Thanks to THR for the video.