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Wand Week Returns to Studio Tour Starting May 27th
Posted by Megs

We reported last week about Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter’s 2014 events. Today they have sent a press release discussing the return of Wand Week from May 27th – June 2nd. Visitors will discover first-hand how duelling scenes were developed and the incredible amount of planning that went into each wand movement. They’ll get the chance to duel with a Death Eater after learning wand battle choreography with an interactive experience created by expert Paul Harris.

By popular demand, Wand Week will return to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter this May and visitors will be invited to delve into the world of wandmaking and wizarding duels.

From Friday 23rd May – Monday 2nd June, visitors will discover first-hand how duelling scenes were developed and the incredible amount of planning that went into each wand movement. They’ll get the chance to duel with a Death Eater after learning wand battle choreography with an interactive experience created by expert Paul Harris. Paul composed the battle scene between Dumbledore and Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and is the world’s only Wand Combat Choreographer.

Those exploring Diagon Alley will be able to see a special effects demonstration created by BAFTA-winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson. By pointing a wand, visitors will be able to cast a spell that will make the sign above Potage’s Cauldron Shop bang and flash as if by magic.

Original moulds, concept art and wand designs will be displayed in the attraction and members of Head Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna’s team will showcase some of the techniques they used to hand-carve wands for the Harry Potter film series.

The iconic duelling table, as seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, will also be on display in the iconic Great Hall set.

Spellbinding secrets:

  • In the first and second films, the wands looked quite plain. This was drastically changed in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when the wands were given distinctive shapes and carvings, reflecting the owners’ personalities. For example, the wand of Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is inlaid with silver slug trails and has a slug-shaped handle.
  • Prop makers designed a series of wand holsters for the Death Eaters that would attach around their waists for easy access. The Death Eater wands were also more showy and aesthetic than the other characters’ – to match their extravagant masks which were made of filigreed silver.
  • More than 3,000 wands were produced for the Harry Potter film series, including the elaborate wand that was created for Professor Dumbledore before the Prop Making Team discovered its importance as the Elder Wand.

Tickets must be pre-booked and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Report: Photos and Q&A from Feathers and Flight Launch Event
Posted by Megs

This past Friday, our correspondent Maura (of fantasticbeastsmovie.net) attended the launch for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London‘s Feathers and Flight event.  This special feature for the Harry Potter tour will run until April 27th and shows fans how animals were trained for the films.  At the event Julie Tottman and Guillaume Grange, the head animal trainers for the films, answered some questions from those in attendance.  The full Q&A can be read here, and photos may be seen over at fantasticbeastsmovie.net.

What is the strangest animal you’ve ever worked with?

Julie – The strangest animal? Well, I guess, on the third film, Alfonso, the wonderful director, kept coming up with the oddest ideas and we never quite knew what he was going to pick so we had armadillos, we had we had bats, we had baby ostrich, we had whipped scorpions, all kinds of different animals, and we did in one of the films have a baby hippo!

Did the actors who played the owners of the animals get any time to bond with the animal they had and did anyone get close with a certain one that they then had to leave?

Julie – Before we start any filming we have about four months of prep so we can get ready so nothing’s a big surprise for the animals and within that prep I’d say we try have the actors work with us as much as possible – sometimes we can get them one or two times a week, but particularly Daniel had to work so much, cause he was small on the first – he’s still small isn’t he! – he was small on the first film, and it was a big bird for him to learn to carry so we had to spend a lot of time with him with the animals.

Emma loved Crackerjack, the main Crookshanks. She’s a massive, massive cat lover so she was waiting until the third film to have her own animal so as much time as she could spend with him, she was there. She saw him just before Christmas when we were here she came and saw him.

Are any of the animals going to be working on the new movies? The Fantastic Beasts ones?

Julie – Not these particular – well, actually, I can’t say for sure but most of the original Harry Potter ones are retired apart from the birds, so possibly some birds, but haven’t had that call yet, waiting for that!

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
WB Studio Tour London Events Coming in 2014
Posted by Megs

This past weekend, Graphic Designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima visited Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter to celebrate the second anniversary of the grand opening.  This is one of many exciting events slated to take place at the Studios this coming year.  The Studio sent over a release with the various events planned so far:

Feathers and Flight (we reported about this here and will have a correspondent at the event)
Friday 4th April – Sunday 27th April
Let your imagination take flight this April at the Studio Tour’s first Feathers and Flight feature. For three weeks, the attraction will host the feathery actors that played Hedwig, Pigwidgeon and Errol, as well as ravens and crows who will demonstrate their flying skills in the backlot. Visitors will be able to pose for pictures with the famous owls and learn some of the training processes involved in bringing their performances to life on screen.

Wand Week
Friday 23rd May – Monday 2nd June
Delve into the world of wandmaking and duel with a Death Eater as Wand Week returns to the Studio Tour by popular demand. Visitors will be able to discover firsthand how duelling scenes were developed and explore the incredibly detailed process behind each wand movement. Original moulds, concept art and wand designs will be showcased in the attraction as well as the iconic duelling table from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Bludgers, Board Games and Broomsticks
Friday 18th July – Monday 1st September
Learn how magical sports and wizarding games came to life on screen at the Studio Tour this summer. Authentic costumes from Quidditch scenes will be on display as well as the rattling ball crate from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Visitors will discover how a combination of special and visual effects were used to make cast members fly and chess pieces move – as well as getting the chance to test green screen technology for themselves!

Dark Arts
Friday 17th October – Monday 3rd November
Secrets behind the Dark Arts will be revealed this October half-term at the Studio Tour. For two weeks only visitors will learn how the Dark Arts were brought to life on screen, get the chance to duel with a Death Eater. Something wicked this way comes.

Hogwarts at Christmas
Friday 14th November – January 2015
The most magical snowfall of the season will take place at the Studio Tour this November as the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model is covered in a blanket of snow. Some of the attraction’s intricately-detailed sets will also be given a festive makeover using the actual decorations and food props seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Eight Christmas trees will line the Great Hall, along with festoons of holly, mistletoe and golden wreaths.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Buckbeak the Hippogriff Gets Replenished by Featherologist Val Jones
Posted by Megs

Click to view full size image
To help prepare for Feathers and Flight at WB Studio Tour London, Buckbeak the Hippogriff has had His feathers buffed, preened and replenished. Some photos may be seen in the gallery and you can learn about the process in the press release below:

Featherologist, Val Jones, who worked in the creature effects department on the Harry Potter film series, has today been drafted back to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter to refresh Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

Val, who was instrumental in creating the animatronic, was called in to re-feather and preen the delicate winged creature in preparation for the Feathers and Flight event, which is taking place at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter from Friday 4th April to Sunday 27th April.

This is the first make-over Buckbeak has received since the hugely popular Harry Potter film series was made. His intricate coat is created from thousands of individually airbrushed chicken and goose feathers that Val will carefully clean and replenish in time for the start of Feathers and Flight.

After beginning her career as a Textiles Designer, Val made costumes for films before specialising in hair, feathers and animatronics. By painstakingly inserting thousands of feathers, Val worked tirelessly to create the Hippogriff’s intricate feathery coat and was responsible for transforming the model into a believable creature that moved like a real animal.

She said:  “Buckbeak was one of the most challenging creatures I’ve ever worked on. It took almost a year and a team of 20 to build three versions of him. We worked closely with mechanical engineers to replicate the exact wing movement and skeleton of a real bird. Each version required thousands of feathers to be sorted, dyed and then individually glued in place by hand. As the Buckbeak on show at the Studio Tour is more than 12 years old now, it’s important to refresh and replenish his coat as the glue wears and feathers come loose when he bows.”

Feathery facts:

  • Buckbeak’s coat consists of thousands of real goose and chicken feathers which were individually airbrushed with dye in order to create an authentic layered effect.
  • It took Val and 20 artists one whole year to fully coat the three Hippogriff animatronics, as each feather was individually inserted by hand and then glued into place.
  • The Buckbeak model seen in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was an animatronic; his wings, neck, eyes and beak all moved. In other scenes, the Hippogriff was created digitally by the Visual Effects team and the cast were given props – such as a beak on a stick – to interact with on set.
  • As well as working with Buckbeak Val also spent her time with some of the other feathered creatures from the Harry Potter films including Fawkes and Hedwig.

This April visitors to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter are invited to discover how filmmakers brought feathered creatures to life on screen and created the illusion of flight on the sets of the most successful film series of all time.  As part of the three-week feature, Featherologist Val Jones will lead an expert team to demonstrate the techniques that made winged wonders such as Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Fawkes the Phoenix a reality on screen.

The Studio Tour’s Feathers and Flight feature will run from Friday 4th April to Sunday 27th April 2014. All extra activities are included in the ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
New TV Ad for WB Studio Tour London
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has released a new television advertisement for the attraction. The description of the video is as follows:

Grab your glasses, robes or wand and watch our brand new TV advert!

Our advert was shot by some of the original production crew from the Harry Potter film series, on the authentic sets housed within the Studio Tour, including Director of Photography and Harry Potter crew alumni Roger Pratt (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Roger was joined by original Camera Operator Peter Taylor (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), Gaffer Tommy Finch (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Steadicam Operator Alf Tramontin (the Harry Potter film series).

Tweet us @wbstudiotour to join the conversation using #JustLikeHarry

 

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
MinaLima Designers Visiting WB Studio Tour for 2nd Anniversary
Posted by Megs

The second anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is fast approaching and it has been announced that Harry Potter graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima will be there from March 28th – 30th:

to demonstrate the creative processes they used to develop the graphic style of the Harry Potter film series. You’ll be able to take a closer look at some of the iconic graphics they created including issues of the Daily Prophet, the Marauder’s Map, fanciful Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products and wickedly enchanting books.

Take a trip back in time with your time turner and check out our coverage of the grand opening on March 31st 2012.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
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