Life as a Hobbit

Hobbiton is a movie set made for the filming of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit franchises. Constructed in the hills of a working 1250 acre sheep farm, the movie set has 44 “hobbit holes” and has a team of gardeners and maintenance crew for the set to keep it looking “lived in” by hobbits.

The hobbit holes themselves are merely the front portion of the house, although most of the holes have a 1-2m depth that you can walk into or that a cameraman could be in. The homes are constructed at different scales to allow for camerawork to make the hobbits look small, and the humans look big.

Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings is very particular about details. Workers were employed to walk between clotheslines and wells to make worn tracks to make it look like they’ve been used for years. Fences were painted with vinegar and yogurt to create mold and moss to grow on them. Fake Plums were attached to trees and this huge tree above Bilbo Baggins’ house was artificially made, with each leaf being attached by hand. Then, once it was up, Peter Jackson decided it wasn’t quite the right shade of green, and each leave had to be repainted by hand.

It obviously was a very time consuming project and there was not great infrastructure to get all of the equipment needed to the area. The New Zealand army was employed to help create roads and help with building. They were also used in fight scenes as Orcs. New Zealand firefighters were used as Orcs during the scenes with fire.

During the party scene, crew members and their families were invited to dress up and have an actual party! Alcohol was served (1%) during the filming and it now it is served to guests as the pub on set!

Now, the movie set is jointly owned by Peter Jackson’s production company and the family who’s farm it is. It welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year.

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