The Making of Harry Potter
Back in September, I bought tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour as part of a birthday present for my youngest. Last week we finally got to go…excited doesn’t do justice to how we felt!! Be warned, there are a lot of photos on this post…I won’t apologise because there is so much to see, and given that I took over 450 pictures, these are the keepers 🙂
The front of the studio:
The entrance displays large pictures of the main characters, as well as various props used in the films. You also get presented with a Harry Potter passport!
Whilst in the queue for the tour, you get to see “The Cupboard under the Stairs” – Harry Potter’s room in the Dursley household, a small and dusty place, with lots of spiders.
The tour starts with a short promotional movie, which ends on a shot of the doors to the Great Hall, and then the screen goes up and there are the REAL Great Hall doors!! The Hall displays lots of props, school uniforms and the teachers’ outfits. It isn’t as big as I thought it was going to be, but it was fabulous to see all the details. There is a guide at this point who talks you through the various elements in the room, but after here the rest of the tour is self-guided.
You then go into a huge area which is partitioned into various small sets and other miscellaneous items dotted about. You get an insight into the film’s screenwriting, costume design and make-up.
Other miscellaneous items and sets include the ice sculpture from the Yule Ball, Hogwarts gates, the Leaky Cauldron, the Pendulum (from The Prisoner Of Azkaban), the Phoenix, the Chamber of Secrets door and the cloak of invisibility.
The Griffindor Dormitory and Common Room:
The Potions Classroom:
The Burrow; this had some fun interactive actions that enabled you to wash up, chop up vegetables, iron clothes and knit with the power of a wand:
Props from the Room of Requirement:
Horace Slughorn’s Hourglass:
Death Eater Masks:
“Magic is Might” Statue:
The graphic design corner – this was one of my favourite parts of the tour (hence the number of pictures!):
The next part of the studio tour takes you outside, where you can see the Knight Bus, Hagrid’s motorbike and the flying Ford Anglia, all of which you can get on and pose for photographs.
There’s also 4 Privet Drive, Tome Riddle’s Grave, the Covered Bridge, the Potter’s Cottage and the Wizard chess pieces. You can also buy a Butterbeer (but we stuck to coffee!).
You then go back inside to the creature effects workshop which reveals the technology behind the beasts and the magical creatures, such as Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Fawkes the phoenix and the giant Basilisk head.
The next part is Diagon Alley, complete with cobbled streets! You can peer into the windows of Ollivanders Wand Shop, the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Flourish and Blotts, Gringotts Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium.
The next few areas are dedicated to the art department. Dozens of concept artists, illustrators and art directors created every environment, prop and character of the Harry Potter series. Each design went through several different iterations as it was tweaked and finally perfected. Then the artwork went off to draughtsmen, model makers and digital artists to be developed and constructed for filming.
Paul Catling, Concept Artist:
Andrew Williamson, Concept Artist:
Rob Bliss, Concept Artist:
Adam Brockbank, Concept Artist:
Dermot Power, Concept Artist:
Probably the most impressive exhibit is the Hogwarts Model – a 1:24 scale model of the whole of Hogwarts. The model was built for the first film – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and has been used for exterior shots in every film since. When you add all the time spent by 86 artists and crew members, it took an amazing 74 years to build. It measures 50 feet across and has more than 2,500 fibre optic lights to simulate lantern torches and students passing through hallways.
And the last part of the tour is a recreation of the interior of Ollivander’s Wand shop featuring thousands of wands and wand boxes.
The Making of Harry Potter is a fantastic exhibition – you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy it – the detail in the sets, costumes and props are quite amazing. I would definitely go again!
All photos taken with an E-PL1 (and no flash).