Warner Bros. Studio London, UK House of Harry Potter for more than 10 years at Leavesden is home to thousands of beautiful artifacts, iconic props, and costumes of the Harry Potter series and the team behind the scenes wanted to preserve all these so that the fans could experience the film making and the cast ad crew returned to the studio to reassemble all the props and costumes before the studio was opened to the public on 31 March 2012.
Did you Know?
70 wands were used during the Harry Potter series.
Filming of the movie started on 29 September 2000 and the last part Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 were filmed back to back from 19 February 2009. On your visit to the studio, you get to explore the Sets, Props, Costumes, Audio & Visual Effects, Creature Effects, and Art Department all used in the making of the Harry Potter series.
Sets: The Great Hall was the first set built for the series and was the backdrop to famous scenes such as Yule Ball & Battle of Hogwarts. This set was used for 6 more films.
This hall also has the costumes of the students at Hogwarts House and two table sets for dinner, teacher’s table, handcrafted props, Professor Dumbledore’s lectern, and House Point Counter where Indian Glass Beads were used.
Forbidden Forest was a combination of location & studio shooting, the set of this is also seen here which is filled with 19 trees of over 12 feet.
The Hogwarts Express train used to transport students from Platform 9¾ to Hogwarts School, this set was used for the first shot of the series and the very last shot of the series.
However, the shooting took place at King’s Cross Station in London. All the scenes inside the train were shot on the sets here at Leavesden. The Diagon Alley set constantly changed throughout the series though the part of it can be seen here too.
This set was inspired by the work of Charles Dickens. This set also had the Dusty Ollivanders Wand Shop from where Harry uses to select his wands.
Props: You get to see Potions classroom here with 950 jars and each having unique props in it including baked animal bones, dried leaves & herbs, and shrunken head which was designed by Minalima. Memory Cabinet had 900 memory vials and labels which could be found in Professor Dumbledore’s office.
Some of the memories in the cabinet features Argus Filch & Professor McGonagall. Professor Umbridge’s office had some other interesting prop which included a pink office in the ministry of magic wherein moving kittens for which 130 plates were created for filmmakers to photograph & film real kittens with crystal balls, witch hats & balls of wool.
Puking Pastilles has fireworks, extendable ears, Weasley’s Wizard wheezes which were designed like an 18th-century storefront and it took 3 months to build, and maximum time was taken in constructing 20-foot mannequin above the main entrance. The Puking Pastilles dispenser can be seen in a studio tour that was created by Pierre Bohanna – head propmaker.
SFX & VFX: The most important role during the filming was played by SFX & CFX technology and the Chamber of Secrets door is the operational door which is created by the special effects team based on the sketch given by the art department.
The articulated snakes were powered by an electronic motor that was hidden behind the door. Each snake was cast in resin and painted before attaching them to the door and was arranged in such a manner to avoid the collision.
Several different cloaks with a green fabric lining were made for filming with the help of Visual Effects to make Harry Potter & His friends invisible during the post-production work whereas, the cloak which is seen in studio tour is made of velvet & printed symbols and ancient runes in it by the costume department.
Whomping Willow – the tree was first made as a sketch and then with the special effects team created operating branches that would whomp Weasely’s flying car.
For the shooting of Prisoners of Azkaban, branches were added digitally by the post-production team. The next amazing part not to be missed in the studios is the green screen experience and fly a broomstick just like the cast did during the filming of the series, as the scenes with the visual effects are often shot with the green screen which is later replaced with a different background or computer-generated sets.
Creatures: All the creatures played a very important role in the filming of the series which were all created through a mixture of practical & visual effects.
A full-size Basilisk mouth was created for the final scene which was measured up to 30 feet long and 3 feet deep jaws. They created an aquatic model that was able to move with CGI.
This model could even move up the track for fight scenes while getting close to Harry.
Three Buckbeaks were created for the series which included one standing, rearing & other one lying down. Each feather of the Buckbeaks was individually inserted which was used during the shooting of Prisoner of Azkaban.
The next important character in the movies was Goblins which enacted the role of bank officials and tellers at Gringotts Bank. All these Goblins were created by Nick Dudman where each Goblin was given distinctive ears, chins & noses and they all looked different from each other.
To create the scenes 140 make up artists from all over Europe were called up to turn 60 actors into Goblins in 4 hrs and the worst part was the prosthetics created couldn’t be used the next day once they were removed hence multiple goblins were created each day of the shoot.
Aragog another important creature was created by Nick Dudman with a leg of 18 feet which was able to crawl and have the dialogues with Harry Potter.
Each hair in the Aragog was inserted by hand using the needle and different materials such as brooms, bristles, and pieces of coconut to hold the feathers at the center. 15 People were used for operating this Aragog and 4 would act as the puppeteers for the back legs.
Art Department: Art Department did a wonderful job by creating the design of the Hogwart’s Castle with every courtyard, turret, and the tower which were filmed in the 1st part, and the enhanced look was given by the digital effects team.
A team of 86 artists and crew members built this Hogwart’s Castle. 2500 fiber optic lights, stimulating lanterns, torches, and illusion of the students passing through were also created by the model makers.
Artists also used real stones, rockwork, boulders, real plants for landscape & trees and to create this, if counted all the hours it would 74 years to complete it.
Art Departement also created thousands of props to bring life to the world of Harry Potter. 40 editions of wizard world newspapers were designed by MinaLima duo and each copy was dipped into coffee and left to dry before ironing the wrinkles.
Dozens of different concept artists, illustrators, and art directors created all the props and environments of the Harry Potter film series.
Visiting this amazing world of Harry Potter is a very unique & enthralling experience and those who haven’t visited yet need to visit it once in a lifetime to experience the magical world of, Harry Potter. Ticket Charges are for adults £ 47 child £ 38 and for a family £ 150.
Visiting the magical world of Warner Bros. Studios Hollywood & Warner Bros. Studio London is an experience that shouldn’t be missed for all the age groups.
Warner Bros. Studios have made it possible for people visiting UK or US can have a visit there though both the studios are completely different from each other wherein the US is more of sets of the past and ongoing TV series & Films whereas the UK is completely dedicated to the Harry Potter series.
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