Aragorn Research - the first steps:
Aragorn is being used as an example, but these same methods
can be used regardless.
Please note... the links is this
section are out of date... pics will be updated soon. However, the
research steps are still useful.
For Aragorn's costume breakdowns,
For Legolas' costume breakdowns,
For the rest of the character
costume breakdowns, start <here>
Everyone has their methods... Here's a view into mine for da folks that
asked. Real step by step instructions would have put everyone to
sleep... so I'm going to walk you though how I research. (Warning, I'm veryyyyyy detail oriented. ) This research would be the same whether
you were doing a beginning, intermediate or advanced project. The only
difference at this time is how much time you spend of research.
(Please note, the questions in these sections have been solved or
moved to the latest section.)
- Beginning step one <here>.
- Just the final results of step one here, <here>.
- Step two: photos for Rivendell outfit - why
we picked these
- Lots of links to guide you along
- Step three: photos for Strider outfit - why
we picked these
- Lots of links to guide you along, but not everything we could find,
only the ones that mattered for the costume.
- Step four: description of Rivendell outfit -
all we have to date
1st phase: I gather my resources
These resources are pictures from any source from
books to web links
to the toys and any other resources I
can find. (More details on available resources is <here>.)
I'm going to review all the pictures I know about, keeping in mind there
are just two FOTH outfits for Aragorn. I'm looking for layers in the outfits
and throwing out pictures that don't belong. While I do a quick scan of the
pictures, I'm going to make my first set of notes right here using general
links already found. To make life easer for myself I
cut and paste links into a Word document... Literally, just like
you'll see below.
First thing, I went to the site where the pictures were grouped by story
to get an overview of the costumes.
(If I didn't have this, I might have tried the movie books first, instead of
Here's an evaluation of each chapter that has Aragorn in it.
- strider shots, there's that cape of his, is that a boot? Leather? Look,
gloves with the fingers cut out... but can't see the back of the palm
which might have more decoration.
- all Strider, all the time. Yummy shots of his mug, but only one pic that
helps on his costume. Med shot, in his leather?/ suede? coat/jerkin?. Does
this picture exist with better resolution somewhere else?
- mostly useless because of resolution. Has a back shot, kinda. Does have
a dead on shot of the side of the sleeve. They're plain except for
- Ack. Don't tell me this is all there is of his Rivendell outfit???? OK,
find the picture w/ the best resolution. It's not the one on the top
right... that's a concept sketch. Scary, two different shots maybe on the
bottom right. Notes on this page: Resolution is low because (by looking at
the picture names can tell) they are taken off the trailer. Additional
note... some of the pictures on this page don't look like they even belong
w/ FOTR. Checking date last updated (at the bottom) says this was done
before the movie came out. OK... maybe why the scenes don't match.
- what IS he wearing at council??? Where is he even seated... that would
help checking by silhouette which outfit he's in.
- The shots in the snow probably won't be useful... but who knows. These
are from a different angle (high) and are decent resolution. We've got
side back, top w/ and w/o cape ???best page for cape??? Maybe
- the mines, THE 3 shot, a bit of sleeve. However, I've know I've seen this
w/ better resolution... will need to check the official pics later (should
also be in IMDB and E!)
- 3/4s down best shot of his boots, IS THIS A WHOLE DIFFERENT TUNIC AND
SHIRT?? Did he pick it up when he got his new cloak? Brown sleeveless
tunic/tabard, belled padded sleeves. Ack how much changed in his outfit.
Boots and pants look the same. (Answer further down)
Looking at other organized pictures. Start looking for better
Next step, find the next place that has organized pics but that has been
updated more recently than this site. Note: purposely skipped Fantasy Planet
for now since I'd have to go though all 1000 pics to find what I want. So I
choose the German site and went over to their Aragorn section:
Ah, some of the same shots we've seen before... and a new costumes that
will be left for another day: The star tabard and his battle shirt (w/ mail
sleeves). Other interesting note for this web: am finding some of the
same pictures, but the resolution is higher or the pic may be bigger.
Big party... one of the sepia portraits is here... full yummy resolution.
) This picture will be the main reference photo. Costume check...
this will be our base photo... Suede jacket of X length with matching long
sleeves attached by a braid design. Middle layer, can't tell exactly????
Ties??? Inner layer, old faded shirt, "XXX" in hand embroidery on small
Looking to better resolution pictures. Start looking for real
Next, where to look????
Went back to our links list... Since I'm looking for high res... went
over to the Internet Movie database...
http://us.imdb.com/Gallery?0120737 This loads faster than the pic
direct from New Line... but are the same. (Muttered at the pop up adds)
Check Fantasy Planet (
http://www.fantasyplanet.cz/lotr/galerie.asp ) for any brand new
additions.... nope... Not desperate enough to go though all the pics now.
(Famous last words, as it turned out.)
OK... next step. Found a new site with less pictures than Fantasy
Planet's, but some of the better ones, and shorter links. Site is
selected... good picks, not every pic. Hummmm, fond a dark close-up for
Rivendell outfit. Can almost see the collar... Yes, two layers here again.
(Note, mark this for Arwen too) xxxxxx
Ohhhh, found a better resolution picture:
http://www.elbakin.com/film/images/galerie/frodon_aragorn.jpg , Final
battle in FOTH where he's kneeling by Frodo. Looking at this photo, notices
the light spots are really washed out. Has this whole scene been digitally
lightened??? More thinking about this . Still can't tell if this is a
One more from the same scene:
fighting, arms are raised.) Can be useful, look at the tabard edges. Here
these color is not so bright. Could this still be his original middle
What, besides the web?
OK, enough with the web sites....... there is only so much that can be
done this way. (Though LOTR is allowing a lot more than most movies)
Folks... now it gets confusing..... open things in multiple windows if
you need to (right click on the links and 'open new window'). Try and
follow... or reread a couple of times. I tried to capture the confusion and
the research... think it's more confusion than anything else... but at least
it proved that figuring out costumes isn't "poof! magic!" These observations
in the book also entailed a lot of web surfing to bring up images so you
could follow along.... Remember the web images are much, much lower in
I get out the movie books and start flipping pages. <Sigh> Most
of these are glamour shots... not good for costuming. Whoa! Visual
Companion has an 8x10 with him right after the big fight. (This pictures
is also in the smaller, inexpensive Insider's Guide.) Visual has a tiny shot
of the bridge, no new use. Insider has at least two shots of him in
Rivendell. Maybe there is hope for this costume yet.
- Back to studying the leather outfit.... from the end pic where his
shirt is torn and the arm is bandaged.... I'm sure the picture is on the
web somewhere, but I can't find it. (OK did find it, but not telling you
how long it took. This picture is lousy resolution from scanning , but
gets the point across.) The post-battle picture:
What do we see here????
- The coat w/ the braid edged sleeve isn't on in this picture.
- Here the sleeveless tunic look like the sepia picture. Maybe??? Same
ties. Color is dark... but not quite black. Is there at least some brown
there???? Yes. IS this a film color thing then????
- Look at sleeve cap there's smocking up there.
- Small picture it looks like lines... back to the picture w/ him
OK, question for the group. Is Aragorn 's outer layer in the post-battle
picture the same as the middle tunic in the sepia photo:
. If you've got the Visual Companion use it.
- Shirt study:
- Can't see the sleeves now that he has Boromir's leather wrist
guards (w/ the tree pattern).
- The shot where he's kneeling there are multiple lines.
- The shoulder is a bit of a drop shoulder? yes, on both. What the
heck is this fabric???
- Is the body of the fabric causing it to look one way in one photo
(padded) and then soft when the wrist guards are on. (OK, Rob, what do
we call those guards???)
Books have been taxed out for the general study. They will matter again
when we get to details.
Pop quiz... what other sources do we have?????
- Toy - will help with layers and accessories. Maybe wrong at main
torso. Give us any hint on the books and the construction of the
- Casa Loma pics won't help with basic identification... they're for the
next step... detailed description
When we're all done, what does all this really mean????
- Rivendell outfit:
- We don't have much, BUT we do have shapes so we know how many
garments. We have close up of the collar so we know a bit about the
neckline. The rest is going to be handled by seeing the movie.
- Two layers of Fabric (?) tunics, belted
- Inner layer is long sleeved, diamond patterned
- Outer layer is soft with embroidery(?)
- Later this week, I'll get my movie notes posted and that will give a
bit more... and I'll pretty up the links. Then I'll sum it, even if I
don't get back to the movie to check my work.
- Strider outfit:
- We've got a big enough collection of photos to get close on
describing the whole outfit - even if there is a question of what he is
wearing at the end.
- We know the layers.
- Cloak we first see in Bree
- Leather duster/coat (with braided seam at sleeve cap)
- Something that ties as a middle layer, maybe a sleeveless jerkin.
- Very faded shirt, that has smocking at the sleeve cap and gets
torn in the final battle.
- Lothlorien Cloak
- Grungy boots
- Misc accessories and weapons.
- We have long shots and close-ups and everything in between We have
shots from different angles and really killer resolution pictures like
the sepia photo and the movie book pics.
- We still need to decided if the sleeveless
tunic is the same.
We have enough to start working on describing the individual garments. We
need best pictures to work from to describe the Strider outfit.
Most of the pictures have been listed above, but we don't have all the
best resolution items.
http://www.theonering.net/movie/scrapbook/large/1213 - the 3 shot (just
because) Remember, there are more links in the
2nd phase: Find the best pictures
What am I looking for?
Here's where I start being picky about photos. I have to look at the
I look at lines for clues of pattern shapes, fabric drape, seam
lines. (It's not a complex as it sounds... it just takes some staring..
and some practice to look at photos differently.) It's time to compare
details seen on other clothes. If a shape or the drape of a fabric on
something known matches, it helps describe the current garment.
This is hard to explain... so I'm going to start by presenting photos a group of
us have pulled
from various sites and walk though why these were chosen.
When I first starting researching this I thought it almost was a lost
cause. There just isn't that much film time of him in this outfit... and
what little there is happen to be in ultra close-up or at council. Also,
since it's not his gritty battle outfit, the guys (that do most of the web page)
basically skip over the images if they're "swiping" them. As of
now there are no major reference shots, but we have most of the costume after
all. The number of images increased looking closely to see slight changes
in poses. It took looking at very similar images and beyond.
I found the same pictures out there with different resolutions as well as
different levels on contact.
(I will admit for looking at the dark photos, I temporary modified the
brightness setting on my monitor so the photos were lighter.).
Since there were no great reference photos, I had to use most of the photos
we found of him in Rivendell and not each for the piece I see.
These photos are all two shots of Arwen and Argon whispering sweet elven
phrases to each other.
- Long shot. Very dark, but some detail
- Can see the length of the tunics, the belting and a bit of sleeve
- Long shot, circular framing, dark, low rez but different lighting.
- Long two shot, excellent res, some detail
- Looks like the same thing in the shot above, but notice it's a bit
different and you see other details, still not much. However, when
you have nothing... everything extra counts.
- poor resolution since it is yanked from the trailer. However,
the lighting is different. You can see the back of the yoke back
(or back embroidery). Any opinions???.
- same shot, better resolution, darker
- CU over Arwen's shoulder, can see some of the finer collar detail
- If you have an idea (from the movie) what the collar looks like you
can actually see the embroidery pattern. Notice the curve of the the
velvet overtunic's collar.
- CU over Aragorn's shoulder (reverse of the previous pic), can see
some color detail from the back
In the hall
Full council meeting at Rivendell
- Special summary of this outfit:
Step 3 - Collect the photos when there are plenty.
Sometimes too many photos can be a confusing as too few (well almost).
You need to concentrate on the best photos. Organize extra photos based on
which details they show.
While picking these photos, it can be very useful to open a lot of windows at one time and
stare at bits side by side. Remember you are picking the photos for costume details, not
something that shows the actor's face. So sometimes you look for weird
lighting, the camera in a different spot or an action shot. Also, look for
all the pictures you have (not just your web ones) by sets of criteria.
You do not have to get as formal as we are here, but you should know what you
have... and therefore know what you are still missing. What is listed here
does not have to be followed to the letter, but it's a useful guideline.
- Master Reference Shot
- Best high resolution shot with good contrast you can find.
- Detail is more important than color here.
- This is the shot you always want to come back to to check
details. The other photos should be just for side and back
shots... or close up on details or accessories.
- We're lucky researching LOTR to have the Sepia photos. These are the best
of most of the costumes. Many movies never issue photos that are
as good as they are.
- Full Length Shot
- Want to be able to see everything including the pants and boots.
These shots are rare.
- the character is hardly ever just standing there.
- Often may need a long shot of the character walking... or settle for a
shot that gets about 9/10s in and then supplement it with a long shot to
confirm things like the height of the heals in the shoes and other details.
- Correct Color
- This is probably a shot you already have. Best bet is often natural
- Be careful if you are dealing with pictures from both the web and
photographs of the real costumes. The colors may be different
enough you will need to choose which version you are making.
- Remember the old "V" TV serious. Those bright red
jumpsuits were brick red in real life.
- Look at the issues we're having with Aragorn's clothes.
- Any other high detail shots
- Want collars, sleeves, boots, gloves, belts, outerwear
- look for different angles, different lighting.
- Don't look at the face, look for clothing resolution
- Action shots
- Shots do not have to be good resolution
- seeing how a coat swirls can show you construction
- Lighting changes and movement can give you clues to the type of
- Fiddly bit shots
- Sometimes you take what you can get, any shots that come close to
giving you a view of something when you don't have a detail shot
- To do this list, you really need a list of the bits you're looking
for. Example: cloak, boots, gloves, etc.
- Emotion shot
- This one is very important... and may have nothing to do with costume
detail. Post this one over your sewing machine. This is the one
that best identify the "spirit" of the costume. This remind you of the
costume you're recreating... and why you are spending the hours making it.
He wears this though most of the movie just pealing layers off and on.
By the final scene there is a bit of transformation so we will end up with two
reference shots. Also, note this is just for FOTR.
Summary of the Strider layers:
- In Bree, is wearing the Strider black cloak, leather long sleeved
duster, brown jerkin, black silk shirt that has seen better days, suede
pants, boots, and much mud.
- From Lorhlorien on, duster is not worn. Cloak changes to the one
given by the elves
- After the final battle, Aragorn dons Boromir's Vambraces.
Main reference photo
- Beginning of the movie reference - The Sepia portrait photo
- Main reference photo for end of FOTR - The torn shirt, wounded Aragorn
Full length reference photo
- The fancy 3 shot of Boromir, Legolas and Aragorn
- The 8" Strider toy, as a secondary full length reference
Various detail shots
- Stone wall background
- Aragorn looking back (against mountain side)
- Crouching in grass field
- Good rez, While too dark, there are a number of things to note... with the
other things we know.
- only one sleeve of the duster has all the details on the lower arm, his right
- look at the color of the duster wrapping in front of his leg, it's a very
dusty dark green, though the rest sucks into blackness
- Notice the knee that sticks straight out at us, that's definitely reflecting
light like suede. It's reflecting a bit different than the leather duster
- Another angle, closer up
- 3/4, the duster really has a brownish look here.
- Standing in Grass field, close up
- Standing in forest, right arm forward
- Fighting Wraiths
- Mora, chamber fighting
- Mora, stairway falling - Aragorn and Frodo
- Last FOTR Battle kneeling w/ Frodo
- Aragorn fighting at the end of FOTR
- Jerkin is in motion. See slits and how hem behaves.
- On shirt, it's interesting that sleeve is not sliding down. Does
that sleeve have more weight than we suspect -or- is that a movie
trick and the shirt sleeve is just secured.
New pictures to be organized.
Step 4 - Describing the Rivendell Outfit
|We've been discussing this off and on over on the Yahoo board, time to
ante up with a description guess.
This outfit is only seen in Rivendell for a short time so we do not have
a large description. It's worn for the bridge romance with Arwen and
at the Rivendell council over the fate of the one ring.
Basic description: Soft velvet over tunic worn over a long sleeved
diamond patterned tunic. We have grouped
Rivendell pictures together.
- Articles we need to describe:
- Over tunic
- Under tunic
- Pants (?)
- No hat or cloak with this outfit.
||Aragorn Rivendell outfit guess. Click photo to
- Very minimum we know about them.
- They can be seen in the long shots at the Rivendell bridge.
- Assumption, probably a version of elf boots (since he was raised
there) but loose fit of boots makes that questionable.
- Flat heeled
- Do not look fitted
- Unknown if they go to the top of the calf or mid-calf.
- Looks like soft suede or leather
- Assumed to be free of mud.
- Know nothing about them.
- Assume they exist because the tunics only reach to mid calf and film
makers would not go for bare-leg gap-osis.
- Assumption Description
- Doubt it is suede pants underneath. Knees would catch on soft
- So, pure guess: Some kind of silk. Probably a bit loose.
Tucked into boot tops.
- Pictures are minimal of details. Best shot up close is from the
official screen saver.
- Silver metallic and black brocade in a diamond pattern - aprox 1/2
to 3/4 inch
- Black threads form the raised diamond edges
- Inside of diamond is mostly silver with black design (not heavily
- Speculation: look for this fabric with the opposite colors.
What we see may technically be the standard back side of the fabric.
- Medium-heavy weight fabric
- Thin for a brocade, but stiffer than most.
- Would make a smooth underlining for the soft over tunic.
- Basic pattern
- High collared, long sleeved narrow 3/4 length tunic
- Length is a major guess, but based on the fact that it would be
a smoother fit. Also would be more complete than ending at
waist or shirt length. Don't think it's just tacked to the
- If 3/4 length, guess that the tunic is split on the sides.
(Though this is debated by some of the other folks.) May be
seeing the edge of the under tunic in the full length bridge shots
just under the velvet tunic.
- Long sleeved
- No cuffs but sleeve appear to flare out just slightly a few inches
from the end of the sleeve.
- Sleeves are fitted into body of the tunic - armscye curve
- How know? There is no bunching of fabric under the arm and
no dropped shoulder needed for a straight cut.
- High collar - Nehru style
- Collar looks to a separate pattern piece from the body of the
- Only about an inch stand-up collar. Drops down to a point in
- No closure evident. It is open enough down the front that it
could be slipped on over the head. (However, there is evidence of
invisible zippers being used.)
- We have only minimal pictures since the outfit is seen only in
Rivendell. Even the color is questionable given that all scenes in
Rivendell have a yellowish cast.
- Tunics in made of what appears to be stretch velvet. Color is
guessed to be either steal grey, teal, blue or green.
- Why the color mix up? It could be silver to match the under
tunic, but the yellow cast that has been added to the Rivendell scenes
could cancel out the colors.
- Sleeveless tunic with basically a sweet-heart neckline or yoke.
Tunic opens down the front to the waist. 3/4 length tunic. Belted
and tunic slightly bloused.
- Closures: 4 silver decorated buttons, top to waist.
- Belt: silver buckle, wrapped around the bucket and knotted.
the rest hangs down. Belt is about two inches wide. Not
sure the length of the belt.
- Yoke area
- May be a separate attached yoke that is interfaced or is just
heavily interfaced under the decorations.
- Sewn embroidery surrounds the neck opening. Pattern is
rather circular, about an inch wide. There is a gap of about
two inches, then the same pattern is repeated.
- Open questions:
- Is this a closed A-line, slit on the sides or open down the full
- There is absolutely no consensus. Everyone is looking at the
same picture seeing different things. Will probably take seeing
the tunic in person or getting the DVD to answer.
- There does not appear to be any goes on the side, but stretch
velvet is 60" wide. That is wide enough to add the flare that
can be seen in the full length pictures.
- Yoke on tunic - one piece or separated?
- Details on belt and buttons.
- The color?
| Basic pattern of the
velvet outer tunic.
||Rough sketch of the diamond pattern
fabric of the inner tunic.
Main contributions thanks to Judy, Tammy and Cat.
For the current section of research, please go to the
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