MyLeaky Login

Join the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web! | FAQ

In the News

Sparking Fire in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HBP Film
Posted by: Edward
July 25, 2009, 12:03 AM

The July issue of Post Magazine, a trade resource for editors of video and film, features a cover story regarding the creation of a number of elements used in the cave scene in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film.  One element, fire, was a particular difficult special effect to create, the article explains. Noting that the sequence encompasses "complex compositions of live actors, greenscreen, CG characters, environment, simulated natural phenomena and simulated fantasy phenomena," this article goes in to much detail about the work Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) put into the creation of the fiery climax of the film, relating the many steps in the process.  Tim Alexander, a VFX supervisor on the film for ILM, relates the fact that the sequence "chewed up a great deal of our time and energy. Fire's pretty difficult and we didn't have a solid solution for it."  He goes on to say, "You have to have such a high density of particles to create the detail that you need in fire that it very quickly becomes unwieldy and slow... We still did a particle sim, but it's a very low particle-count, like fuel flying around in the air, just to tell us where it's going to burn." This process, a creation of ILM dubbed the Verte engine, the article goes on to describe it as:

Horvath's engine calculated how the particles would burn "but he does it in two-dimensional slices so he can do very high-resolution simulations very quickly," Alexander says. The fire effect's 3D volume is "sliced" like a loaf of bread, focusing on the X and Y dimensions, but not the Z axis. "You can get really nice detail around the edges of the fire and you can get speed out of it because you're not worrying about depth."
Since the fire itself is moving, the particles move from slice to slice in 3D. "If you look at a fire, it's actually pretty difficult to tell how deep it is. By piling up a bunch of slices together, you still get dimensionality to it but you're giving your time and energy to the screen space, where you need it, like the edges of the flame where you want to see those little licks.
The story continues, relating the many people and processes involved in creating such a intensive special effect.  Additionally, the article speaks to the creation of the Inferi, which were created to "not look like grotesque zombies — rather, they appear very skinny and sickly and make Gollum seem like a he was on steroids."  A decision by director David Yates, the article goes on to speak of the process of creating these creatures, and the live-action and CGI production of the underwater scene. 

The full cover story article in Post Magazine, covering the many parts of the creation of special effects in Half-Blood Prince, can be read right here.

Many thanks to Wayne for owling!

Previous Article | Next Article Browse all Recent HBP Film News

62 Comments

Avatars_tagline_june08_001_thumb
2707 Points

yes the dead did look like Circus played quite a few people in this movie.

Posted by jediofthelost on July 25, 2009, 12:07 AM report to moderator
Capture10_thumb
16258 Points

I love finding out how they do certain things for the movie. I wish they would show us how they did everything in every Harry Potter movie.

Posted by Gryffindor1991 {ROAR!!!} on July 25, 2009, 12:09 AM report to moderator
1
281 Points

The effects are amazing and it boggles my mind how they do it.

Posted by Phylis {ROAR} on July 25, 2009, 12:11 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Well hopefully they have learned and can do the Fiendfyre for the 7th one easier.

Posted by gcw07 on July 25, 2009, 12:22 AM report to moderator
Iheartfredgeorge_thumb
3554 Points

Oh yeahh, I almost forgot about the Fiendfyre scene. Yeah, hopefully this is practice for that scene. :)

I’m always amazed by special effects. :o

Posted by Mera004 on July 25, 2009, 12:34 AM report to moderator
Raven_avatar_thumb
80450 Points

The fire effect was fantastic!

Posted by Won_Two on July 25, 2009, 12:35 AM report to moderator
Before_qudditch_thumb
240 Points

amazing :D

Posted by TasyaWeasley on July 25, 2009, 01:13 AM report to moderator
0606091731_1__thumb
1275 Points

just fantastic =]

Posted by Jesse~{ROAR}~ on July 25, 2009, 01:18 AM report to moderator
Minerva_mcgonagall_thumb
23113 Points

The cave scene was well done I thought

Posted by oldenoughtoknowbetter♎ROAR♎OoM1, CW on July 25, 2009, 01:24 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
256 Points

The effects were amazing, it is one of the things that made the cave scene great

Posted by WolfyWizard on July 25, 2009, 01:50 AM report to moderator
Avatar_shadow_thumb
82 Points

They aren’t kidding about the Inferi. When the first one climbed out of the water, my first thought was something like “Gollum?”

Posted by redwall_hp on July 25, 2009, 01:53 AM report to moderator
Dsc08588_thumb
2976 Points

That scene and its effects were amazing, so I hope they know it was worth their hard work! <3

Posted by Jade Danielle (WBM) on July 25, 2009, 02:41 AM report to moderator
Harry_potter_and_the_half_blood_prince_1__thumb
106 Points

I really really liked that scene!

Posted by chanman on July 25, 2009, 02:45 AM report to moderator
Ron1_thumb
3703 Points

Loved that scene! I clutch my heart everytime I see it because it’s so amazing. Haha.

Posted by Christine on July 25, 2009, 03:01 AM report to moderator
Before_qudditch_thumb
240 Points

freaking amazing

Posted by TasyaWeasley on July 25, 2009, 03:03 AM report to moderator
You must be logged in to MyLeaky to comment. Please click here to log in.

Finding Hogwarts
PotterCast Interviews Jo Rowling! Click here to Listen! The Books Everything...Half-Blood Prince...and the rest of the HP Films Leaky Apps
Learn to knit your own 'Weasley Sweater'. Learn to brew your own 'Butterbeer'. Find out how at Leaky Crafts!

Guess That Book

"I am [i]not[/i] joking, Mr. Weasley," he said, "though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar..."[br]Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly.

Scribbulus Essay Project

Issue 28 - Aug. 2014

Scribbulus is THE place for Leaky Cauldron readers to submit their essays and opinion pieces!
See more over at Scribbulus!