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Watch: Behind-the-scenes of Mount Doom’s eruption in The Rings of Power

Cinematographer Alex Disenhof discusses the workflow behind one of the show's pivotal sequences

ARRI and Amazon Studios have partnered on a special behind-the-scenes video analysing the cinematography, VFX, lighting, and cloud-based workflow of a key sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

One of the show’s first season’s major events is Mount Doom’s eruption at the end of episode six, with the aftermath featured in episode seven.

The series was shot using ARRI’s ALEXA Mini LF and ALEXA LF cameras combined with DNA LF and Signature Prime lenses supplied to the New Zealand-based production by ARRI Rental Munich

“When I hit the ground in New Zealand, one of the first things we had to tackle was how to shoot this post-apocalyptic landscape,” said cinematographer Alex Disenhof , who shot the pivotal sequence.

Disenhof rigged a sound stage with hundreds of ARRI SkyPanel S60 and S360 LED fixtures behind muslin screens around and above the village set, allowing him to fine tune the red colour and create soft backlight in every direction. Fire and smoke on set was supplemented by VFX in post, adding more fires, airborne particles, and shadowy details in the background for greater compositional depth, said ARRI.

From the studio scenes set immediately after the eruption, episode seven progresses through a series of visual transitions as the characters leave the village and eventually emerge to clear skies. These sections of the sequence were shot on location, with Disenhof matching the red colour from the sound stage with tobacco filters of gradually decreasing intensity, finessed by on-set grading.

Despite the cutting-edge workflow, Disenhof said that the visual effects team “were essentially surrounding us with this tech bubble that we could just work within…it was actually one of the most freeing experiences I have had on this kind of level of filmmaking in terms of the technical side. I didn’t have to worry about any of it. We could just focus on telling the story.”

Season two of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently shooting in the UK, with ALEXA Mini LF and ALEXA LF cameras and DNA LF lenses supplied by ARRI Rental London.