Ten years ago, Harry Potter and the Wizarding World graced our screens for what felt like for the final time. Little did we know that 10 years on we would be re-watching all 9 movies over and over and the Harry Potter franchise would live on to be one of the biggest phenomena of all time. Just like every Harry Potter movie, it should come as no surprise that the movie is filled with an incredible amount of iconic moments that we will never forget!
To celebrate its 10 year anniversary, we wanted to look back on some of moments that were created by Cinesite’s team for the movie.
Snape uses his doe Patronus to show Dumbledore that he never fell out of love with Lily, his childhood best friend
In J.K. Rowling’s growing arsenal of Wizarding World magic (including potions, spells, charms, and plenty of fantastic beasts), the Patronus charm remains a fan favourite.
Severus Snape might have been rude, but love had a long-lasting and – let’s be honest – tear-jerking effect on his own Patronus too. It wasn’t until after Snape’s death and the heart-breaking revelations in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II’ that we learnt its shape. A doe. And in his final battle with Lord Voldemort, Harry explained the significance of this to his adversary, and to us: ‘Snape’s Patronus was a doe,’ said Harry, ‘the same as my mother’s, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children’.
Cinesite again created a Patronus doe as we did for Part 1, this time from a swirl of ribbons from Snape’s wand in a very poignant moment in the film. Our artists again used a fully-furred CG doe, but the trails were completely redesigned to give a different feel with more energetic movement.
With each installment Cinesite created increasingly complex effects, culminating in our work on this last potter film. The franchise has had a tremendous effect on the UK visual effects industry and it has certainly helped Cinesite evolve into the diverse, creative company that we are today.
Harry Defeats Voldemort
For some, the outcome was inevitable and even though we always knew this moment would happen eventually, we couldn’t write our top HP moments without including this epic showdown.
The final battle. Saving the Wizarding World and defeating his lifelong adversary? Harry Potter did that. Seeing Harry and the Dark Lord go head-to-head is nothing short of perfect and was everything we could’ve imagined and more.Although, we’re still shaken by Harry snapping the Elder Wand. Bad move Harry!
One of Cinesite’s biggest challenges was creating the intricate digital marble staircase environment, which had to appear in various stages of destruction throughout the film, in varying lighting conditions, all seamlessly integrated into the practical set piece, which was shot at Pinewood studios. Our crew worked with the production team to determine the different layouts and levels of the staircase and the amount of destruction and rubble as the story developed.
New wand effects were also created – some of which required advanced CG techniques – for various scenes as the characters go all out in the final battle. They included fiery whips and explosive shields for MacGonagall’s confrontation with Snape, iron chains that Harry fires at a Deatheater, an inky spell fired by Ron that envelopes a Deatheater, and a wand bolt deflection that destroys part of the CG set.
As we did for Part 1, Cinesite artists again replaced Ralph Fiennes’ nose area with Lord Voldemort’s snake-like snout. Voldemort features prominently in the film so we had to generate a large number of shots. As his performance is key to the film, it was even more important to retain the subtleties of Fiennes’ performance by ensuring a highly accurate matchmove.
With Harry since 2001
Cinesite worked on every Potter film in the series bringing our total shot count to nearly 2000 during the course of this epic eight-part franchise.
Our teams work in previous Potter films included the physical construction of the Hogwarts model for films including Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (now on display at the Studio Tour), as well as complex CG environments, CG candles, the Beauxbaton girls’ butterflies, the Howler and stunning time-travel sequences in the third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban & much more!
You can find out more detail about our work on the franchise here – Cinesite celebrates two decades of Hogwarts, witchcraft and wizardry.