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Old 02-21-2012, 10:48 PM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
Post Harry Potter VFX head talks changing Voldemort's death in Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Tim Burke, visual effects supervisor of the Harry Potter series beginning with Chamber of Secrets, recently discussed some of the changes and special effects used for key moments in the finale of the saga, Deathly Hallows: Part 2, including the Gringotts ride, dragon, and Hogwarts during the final battle.

Of particular note was the fact that Voldemort's death in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was changed from its initial filming to what is seen in the final cut (shown below), which was altered mere months before the July 2011 release of the movie. Some may recall a promotional still released online featuring a very different ending for Voldemort, where Harry stood above his dead body. Burke recently won the BAFTA film award for his work in Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and is up for achievement in visual effects for this Sunday's Academy Awards.

On changing Voldemort’s death:
Tim Burke: We were designing end shots for the death of Voldemort a couple months before we delivered the film. There were certain areas of the film unresolved and because of the virtual environments, [David Yates] realized we could recreate shots quickly.

The key thing that changed was the death of Voldemort. That happened after we had locked cuts. We had done some screenings and realized we needed a more epic ending. So we redesigned the sequence and thankfully with the digital assets we could recreate the environment.

We projected some elements of Ralph Fiennes onto geometry of him and added those to the shots, and for a couple shots had to use a full CG Voldemort. It happened way past the 11th hour. The shoot had finished 12 months earlier, so it was long past the point of pick-up shots. We had to take materials from other shots and recreate him.

On the shield (force field) protecting Hogwarts:
Tim Burke: As Voldemort arrived with his army on the hillside, the teachers went into the areas of the courtyard and created a magical shield that enveloped and protected the school. It took a long time to create the magical shield. Then Voldemort bombarded the school and destroyed the shield. We wanted to give that an epic scale.

We referenced the Hindenburg airship disaster, when it went up in flames, to get the scale of the flames and burning materials. That was the reference for pieces of cloth-like fire that dropped down onto the school. It was magical – not in a Harry Potter sense. It was beautiful and shocking at the same time. Those shots were completely CG and had a big design aspect, which is rewarding.

On the Gringotts dragon:
Tim Burke: We had to emphasize and feel sorry for this 60-foot dragon through pure performance. We found reference from badly treated real animals and translated that body language into our character. He was trapped. Unable to fly. Partially blind. And he had been down there his whole life. It was important to emphasize that so you wanted him to escape and when he did, he flew with majesty and pride. That was a lovely story to roll into the character of the dragon.

On the decision to create a virtual Hogwarts:
Tim Burke: We didn’t use any miniatures for Hogwarts. It was the first time we did away with the 24th-scale model. We used a third-scale viaduct for the sequence with the giants. We scaled the architecture they were running on to make the actors look taller. But we didn’t use miniatures to recreate Hogwarts.

It was a big change, a big decision that we made before starting the film. We were still working on the sixth film [Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince] and in discussions with the director and producers. All we had was the book. No script. We realized how much a part of the film and the story the school had become. David [Yates] wanted the freedom to fly the camera outside the school, inside the windows, explore the school as part of the developing battle.

Having worked with miniatures in the past, one big 24th-scale and bespoke models at different scales for key areas, we knew it would be a daunting task to build all those miniatures and nest them into wider shots. Double Negative had technology that we had used successfully on Half-Blood Prince to rebuild the whole of London. It was time to throw away the model.

Order the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 DVD and Blu-ray sets, out today in the U.S. and December 2 in the UK, at the Amazon links below, or through the official Warner Bros Shop. (US) - Deathly Hallows 1-disc DVD | Deathly Hallows 1-disc Blu-ray | Deathly Hallows 3-disc Blu-ray triple play | The Complete 8-Film Collection DVD | The Complete 8-Film Collection Blu-ray (UK) - Deathly Hallows 1-disc DVD | Deathly Hallows 3-disc 3D Blu-ray | Deathly Hallows 3-disc Blu-ray triple play | Deathly Hallows 2-disc DVD | The Complete 8-Film Collection DVD | The Complete 8-Film Collection Blu-ray | The Complete 8-Film Collection BD limited edition

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The video was blocked by Warner Bro's for copyright... well thats wat it said when i clicked on itx
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well that was pt 2 in 10
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The visual on Voldy's death is great, but there was a reason behind having his dead body.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Awesome. I really like the still they did too
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How they made the movie is soooo complicated. And it ended up good awesome. People from the FX department must be very patient people.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes I do like that dragon. Awesome.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #8 (permalink)

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I wish they could of done Voldemort's death properly, how it happened in the book. I really wanted to see Harry near Voldemort's body at the end.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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They recreated Voldemort entirely? I never would have guessed! It looks so real!!!

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Old 02-23-2012, 09:34 PM   #10 (permalink)

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Wow people in the special FX department are really talented people. I might look into something like that when i am still in college XD. They must be very patient people
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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very interesting, they did a tremendous job.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i love this <3
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