Monday, September 29, 2014

warner brothers studio tour: the making of harry potter

Sorry if some of my photos turned out blurry/bad. All photos were taken with my iPhone 5 and under the dim lighting of the studio.

(This post is currently incomplete. I will be uploading more photos of the studio tour but if you would like to take a glimpse of it, here are some photos)

I visited Britain recently and the highlight of my trip has got to be the Harry Potter Studio Tour on the outskirts of London. It is located at Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden and there is a shuttle bus service every 20 minutes from Watford Junction Railway Station. My dad drove us so we didn't have to worry about that. You do, however, need to book your tickets in advance because they are not sold at the entrance. I paid £31 for an adult ticket and booked a slot for 3pm. We collected our tickets using the electronic booth and the ticket allowed us entry from 3-3.30pm so we decided to have lunch at the cafe first before going in at 3.30pm. 
The entry queue had the cupboard under the stairs set but I didn't really take a good look at it because everyone was just walking forward in the queue and I followed. Once the doors opened, we were led into this room with panels showing the film posters for all the harry potter movies. There was a guy dressed in robes who did a bit of an introduction and then showed us a short clip on the film panels. Then, we proceeded into a cinema where a clip featuring emma, dan and rupert was shown to introduce the studio to us. They spent 10 years in this exact studio filming and it was just insane to think that now we are standing in the same place where they stood to do all their filming. 
Right after that, we were led into the great hall. It is one of the biggest sets they have built and I'm glad they left it there because it is really huge. Walking down the aisle, you almost feel like a first year student at hogwarts. The walls were lined with stone structures of each of the house representations. I don't know what they're called. The only thing that I can think of is gargoyles but they aren't gargoyles. It was crowded so the picture isn't very good. Such a bad timing that this dude decided to turn around and walk and cause my photo to look bad, but I still want to share with you how the studio tour is like. 
There are two rows of tables left so that there is more space for us to walk There is also a barrier, so you can't really sit by the tables that have been decorated with utensils and cups. There are tables that haven't been cordoned off so you can sit on those. Apparently these tables have been scratched on purpose to give a worn look, as if it has been around for a hundred years. Behind the tables are sets of uniforms from each of the houses. I only took photos of slytherin's and gryffindor's. These were worn by the cast so little Tom Felton wore that! 
This is Gryffindor's with the house crest. Look how tiny Daniel Radcliffe used to be! Also features the outfit that Neville wore, which is the one with the striped cardigan. 
It is unbelievable how much detail was put into making the set of Harry Potter. So now you know that many of the things you see on screen are not necessarily digitally composed. 
At the end of the great hall were the professors of Hogwarts, just as we saw in the movies. But before that, is a sample of the OWLs examination.
You can open the picture to view the questions. Let me know if you can answer any of them. I guess my magic knowledge sucks because I do not know any answers. 
This is the house point system that you can see in the movies. It was never zoomed in on but it was there. 
Now for some closeups of the professors and what they wore. 
Severus Snape
Hagrid
Minerva McGonagall
Argus Filch
Mad Eye Moody and Sybill Trelawney
Filius Flitwick
The room after the Great Hall is one entire room that consisted of many sets. At one corner was this scale model of the great hall. I've always liked scale models because you can look at a building or room as a whole and marvel at its magnificence.  
Then comes the Yule Ball section which gives a display of the punch station and some of their costumes. 
 Hermione's dress! I wonder if I share the same frame as Emma Watson then. 
I don't quite remember this part but it is the great chocolate feast. They seemed quite edible to me but I guess they aren't. 
After that, comes the hair and makeup section where they gave us a taste of how it would be like to be in the dressing room. I'm not sure if these are wigs for the characters to use or just hair styling models for the hair stylist to follow. 
And this is how their dressing table looks like. What a mess. 
 Clothes rack for Luna Lovegood. 
 Fleur Delacor. 
This rack shows Harry's clothes for 4 different scenes/sets in the movie. It starts off real clean and progresses to a more ruined and rugged look. Wow. I didn't know they really bought 4 sets of the same things to do such things. I thought they ruined it as they moved on into the movie. 
Moving on is the Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory. From left to right is Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley's beds. You can see their trunks under their beds with their initials and there are lots of details to like stuff on the beside table to personalise the characters. 
 Read more here. 
 The main wands used on the set. You can buy them in the store too..or on ebay. 
 Mirror of Erised. I thought it looked dirtier in the movie. It is quite huge though. 
 The fat lady. 
I think this was another dressing room set for their attire for POA? Harry is wearing the invisibility cloak. I didn't figure that out until now. 
 This is the Gryffindor Common Room
 More costumes of Tonks, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. 
 Not sure which movie this set of clothes belong to. 
The Griffin Stairwell. Looks amazing. I wish they showed use the working version of it as well. 
The Griffin stairwell leads us to Dumbledore's office, of course. It is a dome shaped set like what we see in the movie and this is my attempt at taking a panorama shot in a crowded room. Try to imagine the room because it is really circular and dome shaped which gives this weird effect on panoramas. 
This is the cabinet which houses all the memories. 
Pensieve
Dumbledore and his desk. Fawkes will appear later on because they had a whole section of creatures and how they make and operate them in a separate room.
Then in one of the nearby displays are a bunch of treasures in Hogwarts. Here is Ravenclaw's diadem. 
 A bunch of stuff used in the movies. 
This appears in Goblet of Fire. That's the cup and egg. I couldn't see how the egg could open though. I guess that's why Harry couldn't pry it open with his bare hands. 
Here is Potions class! This set is quite long in terms of length. There are like four benches filled with pots and moving ladles. The first photo shows the center view which has one bench in front and one at the back.
On the left is Snape and another bench. Note how there are lots of glass bottles with ingredients even under the table. Plus, there are so many glass containers all around the room. Each of them have labels and stuff inside. Insane! 
 I can't remember the name of this professor. Please let me know.
And this is a panoramic view of the entire set. 
This was one of the most interesting facts of the tour and really left a fine impression on me. The use of forced perspective to give an optical illusion of depth. It is really cool. Check out the photos below. The one directly below shows how forced perspective is used to show a long hallway.
But in actual fact, the set is only this long:
There was a section of the portraits of Hogwarts and the Hogwarts staircases. Most of the portraits were actually paintings of the crew, notably the people behind-the-scenes, which is really cool. 
The green ones are the ones where they do their blue magic and animation, of course.
I always thought that the Chamber of Secrets door was CGI but it actually exists and functions! How cool is that! Too bad they didn't show it moving and all though.
This is another intricately designed piece - the Gringotts vault door. 
The Hogwarts door is really large and long but this is a segment of it. Really love the details. 
The staircases as mentioned. 
And then we have some green screen stuff where they filmed quidditch and flying cars. So, they basically sit on the broom and have a fan blasting at them to give the effect and then the backgrounds are edited in. Lots of tough imagination going on for the actors. 
Some quidditch sets. I think the snitch is really cute for a souvenir. You can get them at the shop outside. 
And this is Mad Eye Mooney's trunk with all 7 layers. I think it really works. 

Okay, that's all for now until I have more time to update with more photos of the tour. We are only halfway there! 

xoxo