Event Reports,


Monday, April 02, 2012 Craig Grobler 1 Comments

The Making of Harry Potter TourI'll start by saying that going along to The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour could possibly have only been bettered by an actual invite to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft And Wizardry & a ride on the Hogwarts’ Express from Platform 9¾. The second part of our Top 12 things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour can be found here!
The trip to Leavesden Studios where the Harry Potter films were actually made, 15 minutes outside of London even felt a bit like the Hogwarts trip as we took the train to Watford Junction and were picked up by one of the special Harry Potter Tour buses and driven to The Making of Harry Potter Tour over a small rise.

Writing about my visit to The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter was a bit of a challenge. Firstly I do not have the faculties to adequately describe just how wonderful the Harry Potter Tour is, or how to condense the scope of what can be seen and experienced without a book like thesis accompanied by a 1,000s of illustrative photos to do it justice (I ended up with 720 photos and a gig of video).

Video: Making of The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour Timelapse
Watch live streaming video from wbstudiotour at livestream.com

I’m pretty sure that if most of you were to read the glowing and emotion inducing endorsement of The Making of Harry Potter Tour that I had originally planned you would be suspicious that such a cynicism free recommendation from me. So rather than an adjective rich and spoiler laden walk through of the Harry Potter Tour in which there are lots of surprises. I thought showing you some of the magic would be a better way to go and decided to collate a list of the Top 10 things to do on the Harry Potter Tour as chosen by myself, people who visited the Harry Potter Tour and the stars and team behind the Harry Potter films.

I can only imagine that the title The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter means a lot more to those with a broader overview but it doesn't really flow off the tongue easily so I refer to it as The Harry Potter Tour in this post.

Just to set the tone I have never read a Harry Potter book, I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with the films ranging from - wondering what on earth I was doing sitting in the cinema watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone through to the frustration of wishing that all the Harry Potter films had the same level of detail and care put into them as with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – which I absolutely loved. But I do not for one second not think of the legacy of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as anything less than a British institution, part of popular culture and the actors we saw grow up on screen - National Treasures. 

The Harry Potter Tour is a fitting testament or rather celebration of not only of the actors of Harry Potter series but more so for the many unknown and unsung craftsmen working behind the camera & scenes to make the Harry Potter films as loved as they are. As with the last Harry Potter film the overriding sense that I got from the Harry Potter Tour is that is has been designed and put together by people that really cared about what they were doing. The amount of care and attention and though that has gone into the detail of designing The Harry Potter Tour is significant. It is a landmark destination for not only Harry Potter fans, families but anyone interested in the making of film and there is nothing like it in the UK or elsewhere.

We spent 4 genuinely magical hours exploring the Making of Harry Potter tour. The Harry Potter tour is split between 2 staggeringly giant sound studios (Studio J & Studio K - pure coincidence as mentioned to us on a number of occasions) and an outside area on the Leavesden lot. All of this comprised of 11 large sub areas; The Lobby (tickets, posters and some props),

The Studio Café (Snacks & refreshments), Cinema area (brief introduction), The Great Hall, Interior Sets, Quidditch Photo Experience (also flying car), Exterior Sets & outside refreshment area, Creature Shop, Diagon Alley, Model Room (& concept art) and finally the Studio Shop leading back to the Lobby.

Part museum housing an absolutely ASTONISHING collection of pieces from across the Harry Potter films including props, costumes, sets and concept art. Part interactive playground – complete with magically moving items and animatronics characters, green screen Quidditch & flying car photo or video opportunities or replicas of Hagrids bike, the flying Anglia or even the Knight Bus that can be sat in.

 All the time being guided by interactive installations or helpful tour guides I was encouraged to challenge their knowledge which wasn’t necessary as on two occasions they appeared out of nowhere to offer up some insight into the items of interest. The third time I needed help identifying an almost hidden golden centaur statue - it was from The Fountain of Magical Brethren. I did notice that the kids visiting the tour each received a passport that they could stamp at certain points during the tour so I presume that you are directed to all the good bits of the tour, but here are my 10 Top must do or see things at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter.

1-5 of The Top 10 things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Tour
Bear in mind there is some grouping here a there is just too much to list or take in on a single visit. Also bear in mind that these are my 10 favourite things from the tour and I am a grown man but there are many, many other things to see and do

1. Spot Harry Potter’s spectacles in his closet home under the stairs.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone we are introduced to Harry Potter when he is living with his Aunt & Uncle  Petunia & Vernon Dursley at their home at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. They treat Harry rather badly and force him to live in the cupboard under the stairs.

In the closets you can see a pair of Harry Potter's spectacles that Daniel Radcliffe wore during filming . At the end of filming Radcliffe kept a pair of the spectacles as a keepsake from the Harry Potter series

2. Discover the secret entrance to the Great Hall & visit The Great Hall
One of the highlights of the Making of Harry Potter tour is walking into The Great Hall. An awesome experience and it easy to see why this is a favourite of many of the cast and team behind Harry Potter. I saw more than one person in my party overcome with emotion whilst the kids in the group were initially dumbfounded only to break out into cheers seconds later.

Walking into The Great Hall is everything you would hope it to be and you'll be hard pressed to experience anything quite like it off the screen. The Great Hall was taken apart brick by brick and then reassembled in it's current location for the Making of The Harry Potter Tour.

Video: Great Hall time-lapse at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

3. In the Inside sets area find Neville Longbottom’s bunk in the Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory
For many, Neville Longbottom may be the bravest hero of the Harry Potter series. Despite the odds not in his favour he stood defiant in the face of certain death.

On the Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory set you can see the bunks of Harry Potter, Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom.

4. Visit Professor Dumbledore's Office
 In the Inside Sets area you can find Professor Dumbledore's office, jam packed with amazing artefacts from the film series. Look out for the 48 Portraits of former Headmasters, Dumbledore's Bookshelves, The Memory Cabinet, the Sword of Gryffindor, the house Sorting Hat and Dumbledore's Telescope amongst other pieces.

5. In the green screen area ride a Quidditch broom
Not a personal favourite but many of my party and the team involved in the making of the films enjoyed the opportunity to ride a Quidditch broom in the clouds. My understanding is that it comes with a seatbelt as the stunt brooms in the films did. You can also have your photo taken in Arthur Weasley's Ford Anglia flying high over London.

In the Special Effects area you can also see moving Quidditch brooms, a Gringotts Bank Mine Cart and Hagrid's Motor bike and how the Special Effects team made them seem moving on screen.

7. Visit the Magic is Might sculpture in the Ministry of Magic area in the Interior Sets
One of the darkest pieces in the Harry Potter series, not only as it shows 58 Muggles being weighed heavily down upon by the Might of Magic obelisk but it has tones of 50s politics shadowing it.

The Magic is Might replaced the The Fountain of Magical Brethren sculpture which can be seen above the the exit doors to the outside area. Spectacular to see in real life.

7-12 of my Top 12 Things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour can be found here: http://www.theestablishingshot.com/2012/04/establishing-shot-top-12-7-12-things-to.html 

Our full photo set from The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Tour  is over here! Or you can view our slideshow below.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour slideshow

For more info on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour head ove to: http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/


Craig Grobler You want to get out of here? You talk to me!
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.  A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

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1 comment:

  1. im about to go on this tour and wasnt quite sure what it was going to be like! thank you so much for making this! looks amazing!!!