Anybody that knows me is aware that the Harry Potter films are my absolute favourites. (Just the films because I have to shamefully admit I’ve never read the books, I know “fake fan” shame on me”. I recently visited the Warner Bros stood tour for the second time as since I went a few years ago many more has been added to the tour. let me just say its incredible and inspiring and completely overwhelming to understand the lengths gone and roles taken to create these wonderful films.
As a Fashion communication student and having studied Garment construction in the past I was amazed and appreciative of the Incredible detail on costumes and the sheer amount of costumes created. So many people were involved in creating the movies and just for costumes alone you would have multiple designers, dress makers, fitters/ dressers, just to name a few.
I was told a lot of interesting facts during my tour of the studios but some that have stuck with me are linked to the costume department. I was told by one guide that some of the Gringots Goblins were actually played by Warwick Davis’s children! Warwick himself actually played a professor at Hogwarts and the conductor for the school choir. I also was told that on the day of filming the scene in the forbidden forrest with Luna walking barefoot , special rubber boots that fit like a sock and replicated her bare feel were created in order to allow the actress to walk around in the cold on un even surfaces without being in pain so she could focus on the scene and not be in any discomfort.
This was the most overwhelming part for me because its easy to not notice the endless props while watching the movies but when looking up close and seeing how many tens of thousands of props were created its almost emotional to understand the time and effort that went into creating them. Here is a tiny glimpse into a few of the props I saw on the tour.
When visiting the potions classroom I was told by a guide that each student in that room was given a “text book” which had a realistic potion intrusions on each page. This had to be done so if the camera passed a student there would defiantly be something relevant to the class on the page. To “keep the magic alive” she said. She also told me that this was beneficial for the actors and extras in the scene as they were all young and bored after many takes of the same scene so it gave them something to actually read and engage in while filming.
Some people may think that by seeing the sets stripped down without the special effects may ruin the magic of the movies but I beg to differ. Its incredible to see how fragments of a room or a house are filmed in such innovative ways that we as the viewer are none the less, and buy into this being a real world. Perspective is used so cleverly when filming to give illusions. One particular set that amazed me was the Leaky Cauldron Hallway. In the books and films its a long rickerty hall way which would be too extensive to create in full. So a much smaller set was made that tapers at the end of the corridor (Alice in Wonderland style) so when filmed straight on gave the illusion of a 50ft corridor. Also there was a scaled down version of Gringots bank which was used when showing full shots of the building or sweeping sky shots.
One detail in the Griffidoor Common room particularly caught my eye because It goes un noticed in the films but adds depth and realism to the sets. Hanging on the wall of the Girifindoor common room are portraits of part griffin door great wizards and there is actually one of Professor McGonagall.
I thoroughly recommend the tour to all Harry potter lovers and also to people who may not have much of a love for them but may be art and design lovers keen to learn more about the different processes involved.