New 'The Hobbit' Video Production Diary Explores Remote New Zealand

The last time we got a look at the set of Peter Jackson's two films based on The Hobbit, the focus of the video diary series had turned to the logistics of location shooting. Jackson has just released the first Hobbit video diary of 2012, and while he opens it with a tease of things we're not allowed to see until 2013 — sets for Lake-town, perhaps? — this episode turns back to location work.

Unsurprisingly, that means there is a lot of talk and footage in this twelve-minute video dedicated to representing just how jaw-droppingly beautiful New Zealand is.

But you'll also see Andy Serkis at work as the second unit director and get some info about how the remote second unit stays in touch with Peter Jackson. The logistics and scale of this production continue to impress — there's nothing quite like the cinematic army that Jackson & Co. have assembled to bring Middle-Earth to life.

Facebook provides the video, and you can see it there in HD.

The first of the two Hobbit films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is slated for a December 14, 2012 release, with The Hobbit: There and Back Again following on December 13, 2013. The sprawling cast includes Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mikael Persbrandt, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Jeffrey Thomas, Mike Mizrahi, Bret McKenzie, Ryan Gage, Barry Humphries, Conan Stevens, and John Bell.

"The Hobbit" follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities ... A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.