From “Ring Masters” by Jody Duncan, Cinefex, issue 89, April 2002.

 The fellowship survives the Watcher and enters the Mines of Moria, the abandoned realm of the dwarves. Digital color grading was a pivotal element of the nearly twenty-minute-long Moria sequence, as Jackson had decided that his lead characters should have a sickly pallor throughout. “I wanted to create the impression that as they go into the mines, the life is drained out of them,” stated Jackson. “So they would all have a gray, lifeless look to their flesh. The grading tool allowed us to do that.”

Grant Major designed full-size sets for the mines that revealed a progression of color and texture from the entrance to the deep interior of the stone world. Major also designed the sets to clearly illustrate the dwarf culture. “Whereas elves work with wood and nature,” observed Major, “dwarves live under mountains and hack out spaces with stone tools. Even their writing is chipped out of stone, like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Their style is also more angular, art deco in its bluntest form; but their culture is glorious in its own way.”

While the first entrance into the mines and other medium-to-closeup sections for the live-action were full-size sets, wide views within the Mines of Moria were miniatures. An exception was the vast, abandoned dwarf city of Dwarrowdelf, buried inside the mountain. (p. 115)


Caption to shot of Gandalf leading the fellowship through Moria (p.91):

For wide views within the Mines of Moria – and in many other instances throughout the film – ‘little people’ scale doubles, often in masks or appliance makeups resembling the principal actors, stood in for the hobbit characters. A foreground mine interior set, built by production designer Grant Major, was extended into the distant background through miniatures. Both full-scale and miniature sets were designed to reflect the rough, angular, stone-based dwarf culture.