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The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012 | by Karen Roe
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The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012

Potions Classroom

Hidden deep in Hogwarts dungeons is the Potions Classroom, a room lined with dusty shelves full of peculiar jars and bottles which was the haven of Professors Snape and Slughorn.

For Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the classroom was actually shot on-location at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, England. For subsequent films a version of the set was built here at Leavesden with some additional magic touches. More than five hundred bottles line the walls of the classroom, many with their own handcrafted labels.



Self-Stiring Cauldron

To add a bit more wizardry to the classroom, John Richardson's Special Effects team designed this cauldron that mechanically stirs itself.


Gilded Archways

These brass-leafed archways contain cryptic Latin and English inscriptions of potions ingredients and rare minerals, all selected from ancient alchemy recipes.


Giner Roots and Salamanders

Among the ingredients kept on the classroom shelves are plastic animals from Regent's Park Zoo gift shop, baked animal bones from a local butcher shop and dried leaves & herbs.



A Magical Transformation

Portions of this room were constructed for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone but since then this room has gone through several changes.

The room was first seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the small closet where Fluffy the three-headed dog guarded the trap door leading to the Philosopher's Stone.

For Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the production team revamped the space to create Professor Snape's office.

In 2008 the set was redressed again for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as the potions classroom and the entire room was made larger.


People the world-over have been enchanted by the Harry Potter films for nearly a decade. The wonderful special effects and amazing creatures have made this iconic series beloved to both young and old - and now, for the first time, the doors are going to be opened for everyone at the studio where it first began. You'll have the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see many things the camera never showed. From breathtakingly detailed sets to stunning costumes, props and animatronics, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides a unique showcase of the extraordinary British artistry, technology and talent that went into making the most successful film series of all time. Secrets will be revealed.


Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter films - the most successful film series of all time. This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.


Here are just some of the things you can expect to see and do:

- Step inside and discover the actual Great Hall.

- Explore Dumbledore’s office and discover never-before-seen treasures.

- Step onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium.

- See iconic props from the films, including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle.

- Learn how creatures were brought to life with green screen effects, animatronics and life-sized models.

- Rediscover other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, Potion’s classroom and Professor Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic.


Located just 20 miles from the heart of London at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, the very place where it all began and where all eight of the Harry Potter films were brought to life. The Studio Tour is accessible to everyone and promises to be a truly memorable experience - whether you’re an avid Harry Potter fan, an all-round movie buff or you just want to try something that’s a little bit different.


The tour is estimated to take approximately three hours (I was in there for 5 hours!), however, as the tour is mostly self guided, you are free to explore the attraction at your own pace. During this time you will be able to see many of the best-loved sets and exhibits from the films. Unique and precious items from the films will also be on display, alongside some exciting hands-on interactive exhibits that will make you feel like you’re actually there.


The magic also continues in the Gift Shop, which is full of exciting souvenirs and official merchandise, designed to create an everlasting memory of your day at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.


Hogwarts Castle Model - Get a 360 degree view of the incredible, hand sculpted 1:24 scale construction that features within the Studio Tour. The Hogwarts castle model is the jewel of the Art Department having been built for the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It took 86 artists and crew members to construct the first version which was then rebuilt and altered many times over for the next seven films. The work was so extensive that if one was to add all the man hours that have gone into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years. The model was used for aerial photography, and was digitally scanned for CGI scenes.


The model, which sits at nearly 50 feet in diameter, has over 2,500 fibre optic lights that simulate lanterns and torches and even gave the illusion of students passing through hallways in the films. To show off the lighting to full effect a day-to-night cycle will take place every four minutes so you can experience its full beauty.


An amazing amount of detail went into the making of the model: all the doors are hinged, real plants are used for landscaping and miniature birds are housed in the Owlery. To make the model appear even more realistic, artists rebuilt miniature versions of the courtyards from Alnwick Castle and Durham Cathedral, where scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were shot.

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Taken on May 29, 2012