Back to Bag End!
We see: Captain Jackson in all his already-heroically-dishevelled glory, welcoming us back to a somewhat equipment-strewn Baggins residence in his first video blog from the set of The Hobbit .
We hear: "We've been shooting for a few days now, and I just wanted give you a little look at some of the pre-production that led up to the first day.
I'll look forward to keeping you up to date as we go through the next two or three years."
We learn: There are definitely going to be more of these - and we'll be bringing you our synopses and dissections as they land. From the looks of this first instalment, they're going to be pretty cracking, too...
Sneak monster peak
We see: A pretty hideous-looking Middle-earth ne'er-do-well being constructed, with an actor cocooned somewhere inside all that lumpy, pallid amphibian flesh.
We assume the plastic face mask is there to keep bits from dropping off as they work, rather than indicating that The Hobbit is going to be populated by evil but largely recyclable horrors.
We hear: "We wanted to create a very non-human shape."
We learn: It's looking fairly likely that not all of the on-screen action will centre around tea, pipe-smoking and magic fireworks in The Shire.
We see: Costumes! And a lady doing something, er, costumey!
And unless we're much mistaken, what looks like a bag of fake facial hair pinned up next to Adam Brown's Ori laminate. Nice! Also gross.
We hear: "So we're, uh, going up to wardrobe, and we're having a look at a couple of dwarf wardrobe and make-up fittings...which is always exciting.
Not that we'll show you much in this particular blog, because we'll save that for the future."
We learn: That Peter Jackson is a big tease. And that he's borderline aroused by "leather and embossing". Which, frankly, just makes us dig him all the more.
A familiar set
We see: Squee! Elrond's chambers in Rivendell - the very spot at which the Fellowship Of The Ring was first officially formed.
We hear: "It's an exact copy of the one that we had in Fellowship ...in fact just over here on the balcony is where the council of Elrond took place and Frodo volunteered to take the ring to Mordor."
We learn: That as well as areas in Rivendell we've already visited via the LotR trilogy, we'll be getting to explore some new locations around the Elven outpost.
"Some really cool bits, actually," quoth our man in the director's chair...
We see: Jackson picking his way gingerly through a cramped, claustrophobic fissure, and stopping to pick up something distinctly unsavoury off the ground with a gasp of bemused revulsion.
We hear: "The goblin tunnels below the Misty Mountains. We've made sure that all the different walls can be removed so that we can shoot the angles that we need.
Oh my god , look at this thing here! It looks like a foot! Or an arm. Ugh, I don't know."
We learn: It's a good thing Jackson went into movies rather than surgery. Also, that this was the first location used for shooting - the iconic setting for Bilbo's fateful encounter in the dank gloom of the mountain's belly.
Martin Freeman's hefty chopper
We see: That bloke from The Office lugging a gigantic axe or two through what, in the movie, will be his own hallway at Bag End.
Looksas though he's come well prepared for a potentially fractious blocking session.
We hear: "This'll be fun. This'll be more fun when everybody's in make-up and costumes and dying of the heat."
We learn: That there's even a strict order to the way Jackson wants his 13 dwarves to be seated around Bilbo's dining table. God, the logistics of this thing must be just mind-frazzling.
We see: Gandalf, slumped in a folding chair and grinning wryly at Jackson's prediction that "it's all going to go incredibly well on the day...don't you agree?"
We hear: PJ: "The good news is, you're not in a fat suit. You're a winner every step of the way. And we can stick a fan up your robe just to, sort of...give you a bit of air conditioning."
McKellen: "Ha! Promises, promises..."
We learn: That Sir Ian is precisely as cool as ever. Although perhaps not in a literal sense, judging by his consternation over the ambient temperature of a dining room full of sweaty dwarves.
Andy Serkis is made up
We see: Serkis having a pointedly bubonic-looking rash of green welts painted on to his fizzog, and appearing to be genuinely thrilled at being the very first in on day one of the shoot.
We hear: "So I'm officially the first person in the make-up chair on The Hobbit ? That's amazing! That's something, isn't it?"
(Well, yes, Andy. Although the fact that you're, y'know, in the film is probably even more exciting, if we're honest.)
We learn: That you have to get your face done even when your face isn't technically going to be onscreen. No rest for the wicked, precious.
Martin Freeman's fresh threads
We see: Freeman following up a lovely speech - partly delivered in native Maori tongue - by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), thanking assorted locals and project partners for their hospitality during the shoot.
We hear: "My name's Martin Freeman, and I'm in the cast as well. [Such modesty, Bilbo!]
He stole everything I was about to say, but I hope by the end of this journey, we're all as close as we have the potential to be." Aww.
We learn: That, although he may be endearingly self-effacing, our Martin sure knows the correct sartorial approach to attending a Powhiri welcoming ceremony.
Take note, lest you look a fool at your next one.
And they're off!
We see: Jackson, looking like a proud dad-to-be gazing up at an ultrasound, overseeing some portentous opening rushes of a ring - the ring! - being delicately scooped off a grimy cavern floor.
We hear: Orchestral swell! Pan pipes or whatever!
"Aaaand roll sound...and, ACTION."
Oh, that other noise? That'd be the distinct pounding of our own heart rates ratcheting themselves up several gears.
We learn: That this whole video project is a chuffing ace way to start getting us all giddy about our looming return to Tolkein's world.
A world that, as is wonderfully apparent from this first quick taster, is currently very much Jackson's too.
See you lot back here when the next Hobbit blog drops, then...