How ‘Rings of Power’ Artisans Brought Middle Earth to Life, From 2,000 Costumes to Epic VFX Battles

It took a village to bring Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” to life and into homes.

The Middle-earth fantasy drama wowed Emmy voters with its craft- work, scoring nominations in main-title design, prosthetic makeup, fantasy/sci-fi costumes, sound editing, special visual effects and original main-title theme music. Set thousands of years before the Third Age of the Peter Jackson-helmed “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, the first season introduced viewers to elves, dwarves, orcs and Harfoots (one of three hobbit races) during a time of prosperity and relative peace.

Costume designer Kate Hawley and her team built more than 2,000 outfits. By using vegetable dyes as well as berry stains, she achieved unique shades and tones for her costumes.

As for the sets, 20 visual effects studios and 1,500 visual effects artists came together to deliver close to 9,500 shots. From set extensions to glorious battle sequences, VFX helped Middle-earth come to life. VFX producer Ron Ames says the violent storm sequence with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Hal- brand (Charlie Vickers) attempting to cross the seas of Arda took weeks to put together, with a special focus on making the waves look terrifying and violently strong.

Also helping immerse audiences in the world: Howard Shore’s main theme music. Supervising sound editors Robert Stambler and Damian Del Borrello tackled the epic task of building out the sound, brick by brick. When it came to the orcs and their established sounds that had been laid out in Jackson’s films, vocals were key. Depending on the size of the orc, some were considered to be leaders and talked, others simply followed and grunted and made vocalizations. The sound of buzzing flies were layered in to create a sense that they were, as creatures, suffering and decaying.

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