After perpetual delays, financial woes, health problems, and other miscellaneous issues, The Hobbit officially began production some three-and-a-half weeks ago. Peter Jackson is once again at the head of this new cinematic adventure in Middle-Earth – and he seems all the more happy to be doing so.

Jackson posted a fairly detailed note online the other day, explaining why these films are being shot at a higher frame rate, and now he’s unveiled a much more tantalizing gift for fans: a ten-minute long video that includes footage of some familiar sets from the Lord of the Rings trilogy – along with the first official day of filming on The Hobbit.

One of the things I love about Jackson’s trilogy (and I know I’m not alone, in this regard) is the way it integrated detailed costumes, props, practical sets, and the unusual New Zealand geography with more modern digital tools to create Middle-Earth. That approach made the fantastical world feel all the more alive and natural – as opposed to films that rely too much on CGI settings and green screen effects (Star Wars prequels, still looking at you).

The Hobbit will continue the tradition of Lord of the Rings and this behind-the-scenes video that Jackson posted offers a look at the technical crew as they develop actual costumes, tools, and props for the two-film project – as well as some gorgeous sets both familiar (Rivendell from Fellowship of the Ring) and new (the goblin tunnels beneath the Misty Mountains).

Check out the video (via Facebook) below:

There’s something infectious about the energy, passion, and adoration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material, which the cast and crew of The Hobbit clearly possess. Jackson has assembled a collection of talents who are not only aware of what a big deal these films are to (literally) millions of people, but also love the story of Bilbo Baggins themselves and want to do it justice on the big screen.

Hobbit cast members include Martin Freeman as a young Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Andy Serkis as the creature Gollum, no less than thirteen notable thespians as a pack of dwarves led by the warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and some additional familiar faces reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sounds like a good time so far, no?

The Hobbit: Part 1 will reach theaters in December 2012, followed by Part 2 a year later in 2013.

Source: Peter Jackson