Weta Workshop: Wikis


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Weta Workshop
Type Privately held company
Founded 1987
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Key people Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger, Jamie Selkirk, Peter Jackson
Industry Visual effects, animation
Website www.wetaworkshop.co.nz
Costumes designed by Weta Workshops, Elven soldiers in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Weta Workshop is a special effects company based in Miramar, New Zealand, producing effects for television and film.

Founded in 1987 by Richard Taylor and others, Weta Workshop has produced creatures and makeup effects for the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess and effects for films such as Meet The Feebles and Heavenly Creatures. A digital division, Weta Digital, was formed in 1993.

Weta Workshop's output came to worldwide prominence with director Peter Jackson's film trilogy The Lord of the Rings, producing sets, costumes, armour, weapons, creatures and miniatures.

The company name comes from the weta, "...New Zealand's coolest little monster, a bizarre and prickly prehistoric cricket..."[1]




For The Lord of the Rings realistic looking PVC chainmail was made for not just the lead actors, but also for the hundreds of extras that appeared throughout the films. PVC pipe was cut into rings, assembled by hand into armor, and then electroplated, so the rings had some rough edges to them. 12.5 million links from 7 miles of PVC pipe were used in this extremely laborious process.[2]


The term "Bigature" is Weta Workshop's nickname for a very large miniature model.[3] They are used in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, with the largest of them measuring some 9 metres high. Extensive computer graphics techniques and computer controlled cameras were used to seamlessly mesh the Bigature photography with live actors and scenes. Weta also used Bigatures in Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Bigatures used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy:

Weta Tenzan Chain Maille

The workshop now has a division Weta Tenzan Chain Maille making chainmail for film work. PVC injection was used for the armor in Kingdom of Heaven, giving better results than the process for Lord of the Rings.[4] Versions electroplated with a thin layer of metal have the same look as real chain mail, moves like metal at one third the weight, and is much cheaper. Aluminium or steel mail for high-impact stuntwork is also produced.[5]

Special effects filmography

See also


  1. ^ About page at Weta's website
  2. ^ As a result, the two workers who spent all their time linking the mail pieces together rubbed off the fingerprints on their thumbs and forefingers. [1]
  3. ^ The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Special Features DVDs
  4. ^ WetaNZ: The home of Weta Collectibles and Weta Tenzan Chainmaille
  5. ^ 2006 Costumes - Guild Forums

External links


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