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Popular Mechanics on Special Effects Used in Half-Blood Prince

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
July 15, 2009, 11:27 AM

Popular Mechanics has a new article online today that gives some new insight regarding the special effects used for two scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince done by Double Negative. As seen in the many trailers and clips from the film, HBP features an attack on the Millennium Bridge in London, England to showcase the rampant actions of the Death Eaters, as well as the Inferi in the cave. While there are movie spoilers contained in the article, the piece does contain technical info on how the scenes were created with legendary VFX house ILM:

"Once modeled, the Inferi went to a painter, who laid down the creatures' color and texture, while another designer put a skeleton inside the Inferi model to make it move. Next, animators began motion tests. Because Yates wanted to avoid zombie cliches, ILM spent a lot of time researching the movement of the Inferi. "It really came down to their expressions and movements to keep them out of zombie land," Anderson says. Yates cast actors and filmed their movements using motion-capture technology, which was eventually combined with hand animation, to create the Inferi's final movement. "Not having them groan and stick their arms out gets you away from the zombie look," Anderson says. Animators used an in-house software called Zeno to animate the Inferi crowds and the flocking above and below the surface of the lake.
Creating the Inferi scene "was extremely challenging work," Anderson says. It took six people 45 weeks to create the Inferi; once they were created, the team needed 25 more artists to complete the necessary shots. The final result? Two very impressive minutes of screen time."

Related: The New York Daily News let us know about some cool pics they have of work done by ILM  creating special effects for various blockbusters, including this of the Inferi for Half-Blood Prince, as well as Dobby in CoS.

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281 Points

That was an impressive two minutes of film! I can’t believe it was only that long. Wow!

Posted by Phylis {ROAR} on July 15, 2009, 11:32 AM report to moderator
504 Points

I love this kind of thing even though it’s way over my head.
Shouldn’t we get John to translate the article to English ;)

Posted by pinkmoosely on July 15, 2009, 11:45 AM report to moderator
504 Points

I love this kind of thing even though it’s way over my head.
Shouln’t we get John to translate the article to English ;)

Posted by pinkmoosely on July 15, 2009, 11:45 AM report to moderator
8317 Points

The special effects are the life of our favourite HP movies.Cheers to the animators! :-)

Posted by forgetmenot_007 on July 15, 2009, 12:18 PM report to moderator
4208 Points

They did a great job on the special effects, judging by the trailers I have seen. It’s amazing how they stay true to JK’s descriptions while bringing life to Dobby and the inferi. Cool Stuff!

Posted by Fresca ROAR on July 15, 2009, 12:42 PM report to moderator
80450 Points

Excellent piece…

Posted by Won_Two on July 15, 2009, 01:03 PM report to moderator
209 Points

Well done Yates, I knw this stuff is hard to make. iam sure your work will be recognized…..

Posted by Picazo on July 15, 2009, 01:18 PM report to moderator
49 Points

Wow just seen the film it was AMAZING!!!!! Best one of the seris i think!!!

Posted by ginny_potter4ever on July 15, 2009, 01:52 PM report to moderator
16258 Points

cool. there are a lot of thing i would like to know how they do for the movies.

Posted by Gryffindor1991 {ROAR!!!} on July 15, 2009, 02:22 PM report to moderator
337 Points

everything they do to make the film look so realistic is really cool.

Posted by Mugglejeff on July 15, 2009, 02:24 PM report to moderator
2525 Points

that part scared me to death when i saw it it looked so real

Posted by The Nerd on July 15, 2009, 02:35 PM report to moderator
20305 Points

so cool, it was defintly worth it. me and my friends were freaking out, they kinda remind me of pictures you see from concentration camps.

Posted by friendofblob on July 15, 2009, 02:56 PM report to moderator
4452 Points

wow!!! 45 weeks? thats a loooong time!!!

36743 Points

All this work for 2 minutes!
The scene is great, but really, what a waste!

Posted by simos girl {WBM} ~Lemon~ on July 15, 2009, 03:43 PM report to moderator
2976 Points

Some of the fx were a little bit meh, to be honest, but I cannot deny that the Inferi scene was TERRIFYING. They looked so creepy. Their time was not wasted!

Posted by Jade Danielle (WBM) on July 15, 2009, 04:28 PM report to moderator
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