I am not a Harry Potter fan. To be honest, I saw only fragments of the first episode when it was aired on TV. I was entranced by the story at that moment. I was not unaware how the series took the world by storm. However, I never pulled myself together to read the novels. Well, thanks to Nana, I had the chance to visit the studio in Watford before leaving the UK to gain a quick understanding of the stories and the films.
During my last trips, I wasn't too ambitious. I wanted nothing but to learn more about British culture, in which Harry Potter plays a rather important part. Seeing how an author's sheer imagination transformed into images, I was quite touched.
This is the Great Hall in the studio. In fact, two weeks later, we went to the dining hall in Christ Church College in Oxford University where the film crew took shots. What a comprehensive trip!
This is the set for the Yule Ball, the inspiration of which derived from Brighton Pavilion. I happen to have been there in winter.
The production designer Stuart Craig originally imagined Goblet of Fire as a small metal cup decorated with jewels. But in the end, he went for wood, and the goblet took on an organic look. The final work was hand-carved out of a trunk of English elm, measuring more than five feet tall.
During the ten years when all the films were made, the crew developed deep affection. On the walls of the Hogwarts hang 350 portraits of wizards and witches. They are actually hand-drawn portraits of the crew. This is also a tribute to them and their hard work.
Though there is no such invention in the original novel or script, the director Alfonso Cuaron designed the Hogwarts Bridge to make Harry's and Hermione's Time-Turner experience more exciting. Only part of the bridge was built, and Visual Effects team used computer-generated effects to create the remaining sections.
In the Harry Potter movie series, there are numerous amazing characters. To visually present them, the makeup artists and their techniques were especially crucial. I was particularly interested in the plant genies on the uppermost row. Later I drew the image in my sketchbook. When I asked for directions in the Lake District, the conductor couldn't take his eyes off the picture.
Despite my instinctive rebellion against mega-blockbusters, I do believe that they don't succeed for nothing. And Harry Potter is definitely one of the best examples!