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Grawp Gives Hermione a Helping Hand: More on the Visual Effects Used in OotP

OotP Film
Posted by: sue
October 03, 2007, 05:19 PM

We have another look for you today about the special visual effects and processes used in creating the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film. Back in August we told you about a lengthy detailed look at some of the special effects OotP that featured the Centaurs, Kreacher and more. Now, CGSociety has another such look, which is very technical yet fascinating account of the amount of time consuming and careful meticulous work that went into creating the visual effects seen in the fifth Harry Potter film.

In this feature, we learn about the various processes used to film certain scenes, such as the scene when the Trio encounter Grawp in the Forbidden Forest. Noting that for the part when Grawp picks up Hermione (Emma Watson) in his hand, ” the effects crew composited greenscreen footage of the actress filmed riding a giant hand attached to a motion control unit, replaced that hand with a digital hand, and then fit the two into the forest.”

Even the smallest of detail can be important in this magical world of Harry Potter, and the article also details the efforts made by certain crews, including the Flight of Fred & George and the fireworks that light up the Great Hall of Hogwarts, all led by a man named Greg Butler, who did the work on the incredible Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

“Basically, the fireworks were lots of little colored dots that were glowed in compositing,” he says. “But, we started off with the idea that the fireworks would look real and act real. So, we used only colors that real fireworks have.” ... Integrating the fireworks into the scene, however, meant that the actors and objects in the room needed to reflect the changing colors. “We knew one of the things about adding 3D self-emitting objects is that they would have to light up the room and we couldn’t do that in post in any decent way,” says Butler. Instead, they determined the color palette and locked down the animation in previz. Then, they used the previz as a guide for a turning on a bank of lights in the ceiling that they controlled with synchronized timers during the live action shoot.

“We could look at a plate and see that on this frame a blue light went off, so we put blue fireworks somewhere near that time and space,” Butler says. For the fireworks dragon that attacks the Ministry of Magic’s pernicious Dolores Umbridge, the visual effects artists emitted particles from the surface of an animated model.

Tim Burke, the visual effects supervisor for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, will return again on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is currently filming in England.

Thanks very much one!

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