Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2: making the Hogwarts battle

The effects supervisor for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 has been revealing how one of the film’s key sequences has been tackled…

Please note: if you have no idea at all of what’s coming up in the final Harry Potter film, then it’s best to give this article a miss.

An interesting new interview with visual effects supervisor, Tim Burke, has appeared online, in which he chats about his work on the upcoming Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Burke, who has scored an Oscar nomination for his quite brilliant work on Part 1 (the opening half hour of that film, I maintain, is terrific, even if the following two hours is much harder work), has been chatting about putting together one of the major sequences for the last Potter film.

We’re talking about the mass battle of Hogwarts, which has seen Burke and his team recreate the school digitally this time around. “For Part 2, we’ve done away with Hogwarts,”,Burke said. “It was such a major job to stage the battle of Hogwarts, and we had to do it in different stages of production. We had shots with complex linking camera moves from wide overviews, to flying into windows and interior spaces. So, we took the plunge at the end of 2008 and started rebuilding the school digitally with Double Negative [visual effects company.”

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It’s certainly a bold move to rely on an entirely digital Hogwarts for such a key sequence, and it’s clearly been a task with its challenges. “It’s taken two years – getting renders out, texturing every facet of the building, constructing interiors to see through windows, building a destruction version of the school,” Burke revealed.

“We can design shots with the knowledge that we have this brilliant digital miniature that we can do anything with. With a practical Hogwarts, we would have shot it last summer and been so tied down. Instead, as David Yates finds the flow and structure, we are able to handle new concepts and ideas.”

We’ll be seeing the fruits of Burke and his team’s labours from July 15th in cinemas. And you can read the full, fascinating piece over at Film & Video, here.

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