One Does Not Simply Walk Into Hobbiton: The Technical Aspects Surrounding Production of “The Hobbit”

Fans of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy are no doubt rabidly awaiting the release of the prequel film, “The Hobbit.” That became even truer since Peter Jackson, who directed the first three films, agreed to shoot the last film in the series. And “The Hobbit” is raising expectations extremely high, with Jackson and the rest of the crew committed to making a film that rises above its three predecessors, the last of which bagged a handful of Academy Awards.

But accomplishing this task is anything but simple. While shooting the film in New Zealand, the production crew is tasked with arrange elaborate movements of cast, crew, sets and production tools from one location to the next, capitalizing on the various ecosystems and landscapes of New Zealand in order to create the diverse settings seen in Middle Earth.

Dubbed, “The biggest logistical move in cinematic history” by members of its production crew, “The Hobbit” is more than just a film: it’s also a masterpiece of planning and logistics. With so many people and equipment involved, and tight budgets that need to be adhered to throughout the production process, it’s just shy of a miracle that its production deadline hasn’t had any major setbacks. Trucks carrying acres of sets and other key equipment must be monitored throughout the transport process to make sure it arrives properly and is not creating unwanted costs.

To make this elaborate and complex planning and management easier, the movie production team has implemented technologies using GPS satellite tracking to perform fleet management and hours of service functions. These services help the production in a number of ways beyond keeping expenses under controlling and freeing up staff time and other resources.

Electronic on-board recording systems can keep driver logs for vehicles and guard against potential compliance issues, ultimately improve the safety and productivity of operations. Usage reporting is much more accurate — instead of going off estimations reported by drivers, electronic logging provides exact readouts. Management tools provide real-time updates of vehicle status, location and fuel costs.

These management tools are also capable of performing various driver management duties and reviewing safety reports. Better yet, all these functions are done electronically, whereas older systems relied on a paper trail that increased the time and money expended on fleet management and hours of service management.

These fleet management solutions may be utilized in the production of “The Hobbit,” but they’re far from exclusive to the film. Fleet management tools are often used by a variety of businesses, including commercial trucking and delivery companies, that need to monitor and track various vehicles and shipments throughout the day. Through these technologies, companies are able to estimate delivery times and let you know when a dispatched fleet vehicle arrives at its destination.

Your company may not be in the process of making a multimillion dollar movie, but any company handling complex vehicle logistics can utilize these applications and tools in a similar way to make operations more efficient and cost-effective.

In the case of “The Hobbit,” advanced tracking technologies have expanded the realm of possibilities for ambitious filmmakers like Peter Jackson, who seeks to reach new heights in the production quality of a movie inheriting the lofty standards of the Lord of the Rings franchise.


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