Monday, 1 May 2017

Harry Potter London Studios Tour | Over 150 magical photos & filmset secrets revealed

On a scale of 1 to 10 I am 9 ¾ obsessed with Harry Potter and so is my boyfriend so for David’s 25th birthday I took him to the Harry Potter Studios and it was simply magical.
Excuse the Harry Potter puns in this post, I solemnly swear it is just for true Potter fans. But let’s be Sirius and talk about the tour.
We got there at about 2:45pm and our tour started at 3:30pm so it gave us time to go to the toilet and check out the gift shop. I knew exactly what I was going to buy before we even went on the tour. I recommend giving yourself half an hour at least before you go into the actual tour.
The tour itself lasts about three hours and at first, you have a tour guide who talks to the group (120 of you at one time) and then you enter through the doors of the Great Hall. And not just any old doors, the real doors that were used in the films. Your tour guide will ask just before the doors open ‘is it anybody’s birthday today?’ and if it’s your birthday you get to open the doors. David got to push the doors open and he was over the moon, I can’t lie I was a little jealous.
You can either stay with the tour guide as he/she goes around or you can walk around and do your own thing. We decided to walk around and do our own thing as I wanted to take a tonne of pictures and there are digital guides and readouts all throughout the tour so you can easily go at your own pace. There is no time limit, you can be in there for as long as you like.
We had a Butter Beer each and it was too sweet to finish, a chocolate frog and a ham and butter sandwich for £3.50…
I won’t go into detail as to what is inside the tour as you can see that in this massive picture based post but the Dobby exhibition was so leviosa good.
I must have spent over £100 in the gift shop so if you want to see what I bought comment below and I will post it!

Hair and makeup 

'It was like being a mum and a best friend. We became involved in all aspects of the actors' lives.' - Amanda Knight, makeup designer.

Of all of the studios' crew members, perhaps no one got to know the cast better than the hair and makeup department. Everyday, the cast spent hours in the makeup chair not only getting ready for their scenes, but also laughing, crying and sharing stories with the hairdressers and makeup artists. The department ran like clockwork, able to handle more than 800 cast members daily with a talented team of just 20 makeup artists and hairdressers. Lead makeup designer Amanda Knight led her team for the duration of the of the films, while the hair department was led by chief hair designers Eithne Fennell for the first four films, Colin Jamison for the fifth film, and Lisa Tomblin for the final three films. 

The Weasley Burrow

The version of The Burrow on the tour is only a small part of the larger set. The original was the tallest built for the film series: it stood at more than 44 feet tall and nearly touched the ceiling of the soundstage. For Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, a model of The Burrow was set ablaze and partially destroyed. Afterward, the entire interior part of the set - inside and out - was rebuilt and redressed on the studio backlot for the final films. The charred walls were given a quick coat of whitewash, and of course, the set retained all of the familiar Weasley touches.

The Weasley Burrow was designed to look as tough had built it all - including a pigsty. No wall is at a right angle, and every surface deliberately and noticeably slopes. To achieve this off-kilter look, the construction crew, under the direction of the art department, pushed and pulled support beams  and wall units out of place with chains after the set was constructed. 

'Magic is might' statue 

Once Lord Voldermort and his Death Eaters seized control of the Minister of Magic, a new centre piece commanded the Atrium. The 'Magic is Might' statue was hand-sculpted by Julian Murray o portray Muggles in their appropriate place in the eyes of Lord Voldermort - crushed under the rule of the wizarding world.

'Now a gigantic statue of black stone dominated the scene. It was rather frightening, this vast sculpture of a witch and a wizard sitting on ornately carved thrones, looking down at the Ministry workers toppling out of fire places from below them. Engraved in foot-high letters at the base of the statues were the words 'Magic is might.' - J.K Rowling. 

Bathilda Bagshot, who explodes into snakes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.
Makeup Effects

Creature Shop artisans transformed many cast members into creatures such as goblins, werewolves, and even the Dark Lord himself, using applied makeup pieces called prosthetics. 

Design - the Art Department provided the Creature Shop with initial sketches and drawings of each character and creature. From there, the artists transformed the images into three-dimensional models called maquettes. 

Moulding - once the designs were approved, makeup appliances were sculpted to fit the performers. Moulds of actors' mouths, heads, arms or entire bodies were cast, which artists used to create and test new prosthetic pieces. 

Application - multiple copies of each prosthetic were made from silicon or foam. Then, makeup artists carefully glued each piece to cats members' heads and bodies, a process that took just three minutes for Lord Voldermort's eyebrows and up to three hours for a Gringotts goblin. 

Filming - Because of the hot lights in the studio and the actors movements, makeup artists were standing by on set to touch up smeared lightning bolt scars, broken goblin ears or crooked teeth. 


The Creature Shop team built three different animatronic models of Fawkes: this beautiful adult phoenix, an older moulting version, and a fledgling newborn that rose from its ashes. Fawkes' plumage was made of real feathers, each individually hand-painted in his fiery phoenix colours. For Fawkes' flying sequences, the Visual Effects team created a digitally animated bird that could perform the soaring, swooping, diving actions that a model could not. 

Creating the creatures

From the Basilisk to Buckbeak, the Harry Potter films called for the creations of hundreds of creatures. A team of artists, sculptors and engineers in the Creature Shop turned concept art into three-dimensional versions of these creatures with makeup effects, antimatronics and detailed models. In many cases, the Visual Effects Department scanned the creature models with a laser to create a three-dimensional copy of the creature on the computer. Digital artists then turned the the computer-generated models into fully animated, beautifully textured creatures that were added to the film during post-production. For ten years, the Creature shop was led by creature effects supervisor Nick Dudman. 


1 comment

  1. I took my other half a couple of years ago and it was amazing! I'm going back in a couple of weeks with friends to see the new stuff they have added! So exciting! Hoping to do a blog post too haha!

    Great post :) The pictures are amazing!

    John :)


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