Harry Potter – The Making of

WARNING! Spoiler Alert! Following post contains spoilers about Harry Potter world from movies :)

So, few days ago me and my girlfriend went to see The Making of Harry Potter studio tour during one of the couple sunny days we had in May. Here is my review/pictures-to-make-you-jealous about the place.

OK that was last Anti-Spoiler Wall-off picture. Next ones will reveal secrets. if you haven’t been to the place yet and planning to go, better hold on with reading :) Its much more fun to explore it without knowing what to expect. Otherwise, keep on reading :) There are plenty of images to follow. They may load a bit slow as they are quite big. However, they are worth to see :)

So, simply its worth to see. The place is stunning. Big, full of props from the movie, secrets on show, clips showing behind the scenes stuff and it takes about 3-4hrs to see. You can see it quicker, but obviously you don’t want to miss anything :) I am huge Harry Potter fan. I read books countless times. Back to back. All of them are great. However, I think Chamber of Secrets was a bit … meeh? It had great potential, but I remember that it was a bit confusing? Well I was like 14 years old at a time when I was reading the books :)

The movies are … meeh. I don’t like them. I saw them all a while ago, but I liked the last 2 the best. Why I don’t like them? Simply, because they were done too fast and had too much stuff missing from them. Don’t believe me? Read the books. Then watch movies. You will see that there were plenty of scenes, important events omitted from the movies. I think those movies had massive potential, that wasn’t fulfiled 100%.

Now, before all of you start screaming about me complaining etc. Look at Lord of the Rings movie that was made by Peter Jackson. He and his team put a lot of effort into making the movies to show every single detail from the book. about 90% stuff that happens in the books is on screen. Maybe in shorter version etc, but its still there. In Harry Potter movies, plenty of scenes were not included in the movies.

Example? When Harry, Ron and Hermione is close to finding Philosopher’s Stone, they have to pass through plenty of traps/tests to final chamber. What is being shown? Chasing the key on bromsticks (cool!), massive chess match and thats it. Where is fight with troll? The test with poisons and potions? It would have been so cool if every movie had  everything from the books.

However, the team that was tasked in creating props did their job amazing. Here are pics to show it :)



Massive dining hall. It could fit about 400 students at the same time? Everything has so much detail. Even engravings on the plates, cups, cutlery … Even tables themselves and floor look like they were here for few hundreds of years.

Yep. Thats the size of Harry’s bed. Little fact: when they started working on Harry Potter movie no.1, they made beds to fit 11 year old boys. By the time they reached movie no.5, boys were too big for their beds :) They had to film them from different angles etc :D

Gryffindor’s Common Room. It was a proper room. With chairs, carpets, comic books about wizards :D And different outfits for the main cast. See that green cloth on the last photo? Its Invisibility Cloak :)

Yes. Thats Dumbledore’s office. Full of magic equipment, books (they are in fact Yellow Pages books in leather cover) and other stuff. :)


More detailed prop work. Wands, masks, armour, stones, magical things :) Everything had to be made in few copies. Master copy with most details, broken/destroyed copy if required, back up copies and so on. But the amount of detail in each prop is unreal. Its simply done to the last littel scratch.

Snape’s Potion Class. Each one of the bottles had to be hand labelled and had stuff inside it. Stuff like bones, feathers, stones, and other things to make it look like magic ingredients etc :) Its really impressive how many little potions they had to make to fill up whole wall.

 

All the mechanisms and mechanical doors etc actually works. Imagine having a door with moving snakes as your entrance to your house :D

All the Death Eaters masks. In a shop in Central London I saw a mini version of the masks. About 9cm big (these ones can fit into adult size head) in a nice wooden frame. Would love to have them on my wall :) Need to find the shop again.


All the characters, monsters, massive decorations had to be made by hand. Yes, many pieces were done in CGI in post production to bring them to life etc. But things still had to be built, so actors would have a reference to where e.g. Dobby was standing etc. The details were impressive. You could see wrinkles on Dobby’s face.

Each set, room, outdoor scenery, bigger prop had to be built from paper first. This way director and DOP could visualize camera angles and actor placements etc. But also, to visualise how the finished piece would look like.

Final cherry on the cake. Hogwarts castle. Its massive. Huge. And it has all the details you can imagine. You can see individual bricks, windows, lights inside the rooms. Everything. Simply stunning. The size and detail is well, impressive. You just have to see it.

Thats all. All photos were taken on iPhone. Thats why they have a bit of noise or are blurry. Its difficult to hold it steady, especially if you zoom in.

Anyway, should you see whole thing yourself? Yes. Go for it. You won’t regret it. Place is big, takes time to see and simply brings back memories from the movies, books. If you are into making films its extra bonus for you. You can learn a thing or two about big scale movie production. What goes to make it look believable.

What is a bit sad is nowadays everything runs around money. Rights to books have been bought by Warner Brothers, so they could make movies. Now, once movies are finished, DVDs are released they found a new way to squeeze cash from Harry Potter world. I think ticket price should have been lower. By the amount of traffic this place has now, they are definitively covering all the costs without effort and making tons of profits.

But the biggest rip off are souvenirs. I think its way to expensive to charge for a pack of Jelly Beans nearly £5. Yes, it has designs from Harry Potter movies etc, but £5? You can get a kilogram of Skittles that taste much nicer and it will cost you less than HP Jelly Beans. Or action photos on a broomstick, where you sit on one in green screen and have photo taken and background is replaced with Hogwarts castle etc. Price? £12 for one or £15 for 2. I think its a joke. Yes, companies are run by guys in suits a.k.a. investors who care about profitability, but £12 for a photo that is bad quality? I can’t imagine what all the families had to spend on all that stuff, when their children wanted to have photo each.

At least you could take as much photos as you wanted yourself. As long as you didn’t use big pro camera. But wait, there were people snapping away with DSLRs. So how do you classify pro camera then? Medium format? Or simply size of the lens? My 5D mkIII is not much bigger than some other people’s 500D etc. I didn’t took it with me as I though I will get banned with it (it even says on tour website). But I guess next time just do it and pretend you are tourist :P