Behind the scenes

Janet Murray

An exhibition about The Lord of the Rings film trilogy offers an insight into the science and technology of film making. Janet Murray reports

The inhabitants of Middle-Earth have taken up residence at London's Science Museum and can be seen in an exhibition based on JRR Tokien's epic The Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition, explores the use of digital technology in creating special effects, as well as film production techniques.

More than 600 artefacts from the films are on display. They include prosthetic models, armour, weapons and outfits worn by many of the leading characters. The exhibition also features a series of interactive computer displays, animatronics and mechanical demonstrations.

Educational resources including a teachers' guide are available to support a wide range of curriculum areas including science, drama, design and technology, information and communication technology, and media-related studies. This interactive guide includes activities that will allow students to solve problems and challenges faced by filmmakers.

Ben Gammon, head of learning and audience development at the Science Museum, says: "This exhibition offers exciting opportunities for learning about the science and technology of filmmaking, from the use of high-tech trickery and special effects to the more basic techniques that have been around now for years."

The interactive exhibits demonstrate how the film's director, Peter Jackson, was able to show hobbits and humans in the same frame and how he combined real and digital action using computer-generated-image (CGI) technology. The special effects on display also allow visitors to have their photographs taken after they have been reduced to the size of hobbits using CGI.

The exhibition won't be shown anywhere else in Europe but will go to Sydney, Singapore and the US as hype builds around the trilogy. The exhibition runs until January 11 and the third film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will be shown at the museum's IMAX cinema on its release.

Admission pound;3.95 per pupil for school groups with one adult receiving free entry for every 10 pupils. Tel: 020 7942 4777. General admission, children pound;6.95, adults pound;9.95. Weekends, pound;8.95 and pound;11.95. Tel: 0870 870 4868. Teachers' guide: www.sciencemuseum.org.ukexhibitions

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