Peter Jackson Continues To Use Innovative Technology in His Work



  • Jackson co-founded Weta Digital, a visual effects company that revolutionized special effects in movies.
  • Jackson’s documentary They Shall Not Grow Old is a heartfelt and respectful tribute to World War 1.
  • Jackson’s team worked to make one last song from The Beatles using previous advancements in entertainment technology.

Peter Jackson’s name has become synonymous with The Lord of the Rings, the trilogy he brought to life by developing movies that did justice to J.R.R Tolkien’s extraordinary novels. Starting with The Fellowship of the Ring, the epics captured the extensive world Tolkien created, which included original languages and bloodlines. No stone was left unturned in the creation of Middle-Earth. Therefore, it fell to Jackson to put the same amount of care and accuracy into his projects.

However, whilst being greatly associated with The Lord of the Rings isn’t something to be sniffed at, Jackson’s innovative work hasn’t stopped there. The creator has continually pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in film, also delving into other genres and branches of art. As well as fantasy movies, Jackson has lent his abilities to documentary making and music, all of which have benefited from the input of modern technology.

Peter Jackson Co-Founded Weta Digital

The Battle of Helm’s Deep Was Always in Rohan’s Favor – Here’s Why

Weta Digital (now Wētā FX) is a visual effects company co-founded by Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk. In 2021, the company’s VFX tools division was sold to a video games software company. Weta Digital was originally formed to do the special effects for Heavenly Creatures, for which Jackson was a screenwriter and director. As stated on the Wētā FX website, they leased their first computer when making the 14 visual effects shots needed. The film used scenes of landscapes that transformed into images of paradise. Heavenly Creatures was made in 1994, a time when technology wasn’t overly advanced, but Weta Digital led the way in taking visual effects further.

From there, Weta Digital continued to implement new technology in other projects. Inspiration from George Lucas’ Star Wars encouraged Jackson to push boundaries when it came to producing The Lord of the Rings. Realizing there wasn’t technology readily available to generate vast armies in battles like Helm’s Deep, Weta Digital was put to work to develop such software. The impressive result allowed for each CGI fighter to have their own movements and fighting techniques. At a distance, the thousands of fighters are convincing and believable as real beings. Had the technology not been so advanced, the battles would’ve been deflating and not remained as favorite scenes for many a fan.

Jackson Was the Creator Behind They Shall Not Grow Old

How World War 1 Influenced J R R Tolkien’s Work

When it comes to handling the topic of World War 1, it’s essential that stories are given to the right creatives. The subject is sensitive and deserves full attention to keep soldiers and their families alive as far into the future as possible. Jackson’s responsibility was taken to the next level when the Imperial War Museum approached him to create a tribute by using hours of archived footage from the time. He understood the weight of the project, as his Grandfather had fought in the British Army. Though he survived the war, he died at a young age, passing away in his early 50s. Jackson’s idea was to restore the footage with color and make the content far smoother than how it was first filmed. The videos themselves were effective in their original state, but combining modern technology with black and white, shaky footage had even more impact on the history that people have learned about regarding the Great War.

Slowing the footage down allowed viewers to really see the facial expressions of each person and their movements, whether that be a soldier lighting up a cigarette to steady their nerves or a number of men climbing out of a miserable trench. The nature of the sped-up footage, which saw soldiers marching at an unrealistic speed, separated audiences because it wasn’t true to form. Having color restored made it feel as if the film had been recorded yesterday. The dull, muddied colors of war uniforms suddenly became visible, contrasting with the rosy tones and often youthful faces of the military. The audio heard is only of veterans, gathered from material of interviews over the years, a lot of which came from the BBC. The omission of historians was powerful. Audiences could solely focus on the words and images of those who could speak of the war with the utmost emotion and truth. The film felt like a heartfelt and respectful tribute to the war that was to end all wars, a term that only adds to the impact of Jackson’s work. As epic as his previous works have been, Jackson truly used his skills for a wonderful purpose in a documentary that was and will continue to be, necessary in the teachings of history. The film is titled They Shall Not Grow Old, a sentence which Jackson has evidently stood by as the heroes of World War 1 are given their due honor in what can only be described as a momentous and poignant acknowledgment of war.

Jackson Helped the Beatles to Release One Last Song Together

How Glass Onion’s Beatles Soundtrack Foreshadows the Movie’s Plot

Without context and explanation, being told that Jackson helped The Beatles to release one last song together is somewhat of a riddle. But, as he’s proven time and again, there’s not much Jackson can’t do with the aid of modern technology. “Now and Then” was recently released by The Beatles, with the inclusion of John Lennon and George Harrison’s vocals and instruments. Decades ago, John Lennon had recorded a demo tape on which his vocals for the track were backed up with a piano. Lennon was killed in 1980, with no further progress on his demo tape. Some 10 years later, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr were working on songs for Anthology and considered using Lennon’s piece. What stopped them was the inability to extract Lennon’s vocals, disconnecting them from the background piano, which they didn’t want to use. George Harrison passed away in 2001, and seemingly any hope of reviving Lennon’s demo dwindled.

That was until Jackson was working on the documentary Get Back, detailing how The Beatles album “Let it Be” came to fruition. During this time, Jackson’s team developed the technology that would go on to isolate Lennon’s vocals from his demo tape and place them directly among the sound of the rest of The Beatles playing along. George Harrison was as much a part of the track as a recording of his guitar playing was added to it. The beautifully eerie sound of Lennon is seamlessly surrounded by Harrison, McCartney, and Starr as if the four had all been in a studio together at the same time. As well as a short documentary, a music video was made to accompany the song, again under the guidance of Jackson. Perfectly fitting, viewers can see the four legendary musicians come together in both old footage and newer recordings, visually merging the different periods as if they were playing together. A brief montage of each Beatle, stretching from their days as young boys to their successes as men, was a flawless celebration to bow out to. Jackson has become one of the most innovative filmmakers of the modern day. His visions have repeatedly created the next step in both film and technology, setting a bar that other creators have the challenge of meeting. The Lord of the Rings was the first showcase of what he and his team were capable of doing. If they’d failed to uphold the high standard of Tolkien’s work, it could’ve hurt his fan base and following. Thankfully, the optimistic reaction he received set him on a path that he’s persistently built upon.

The pressure of developing a World War 1 tribute with hours of archived footage from the time must’ve been strenuous. But there’s no doubt that it is one of the finest, most captivating contributions to understanding the harrowing narrative of 1914-1918. Leaping into music is another admirable string to Jackson’s bow. Fans have been gifted the joy of hearing The Beatles in all their vocal glory. The thoughtful composition of the music video holds the band in deserved high esteem, much to Jackson’s credit. Hopefully, more astounding projects will come from Jackson and his team. It can’t be known what projects will be taken on by him in years to come, but one guarantee is that whilst Jackson continues to make art, the industry will never become stagnant.

The Lord of the Rings Franchise Poster

The Lord of the Rings

Created by
J.R.R. Tolkien

First Film
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Latest Film
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

First TV Show
The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power

Latest TV Show
The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power

First Episode Air Date
September 1, 2022


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