Designing and Building Fantasy

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London provides a behind the scenes look at the making of the Harry Potter films and gives a detailed look at the design and fabrication process for the sets, props and costumes used in the movies.  Like with all design, the process is the same.

The sets are conceived of and designed in the traditional way we are all familiar with as designers.  Concepts are developed, architectural drawings are made and models are built before construction begins.

Paper models helped the film makers and production designer understand what needed to be physically built and what could be added in digitally.  Plywood, plaster and scaffolding make up the majority of the set material.

Meticulous detail went into each set and color was used to identify characters and Houses within the school of Hogwarts.  Some items were made and others were purchased at flea markets and auctions and then altered to fit into their fantasy settings.

Large scale props were constructed and some made to function using animatronics technology.

A puppeteer would control a creature with a remote control console and “act” through the puppet.

Outdoor sets were well represented and built to last the duration of all 8 films over a ten year period.

The design process, much like our own here at FRCH, involved understanding every detail of a space and setting up key shots where the actors could perform, setting the stage for all the action.

After months of concept design and drawing, sets were ready for final construction and dressing.

In addition to the concept, design and architectural phase, an extensive graphics package was created that included store signage, product packaging, bottle labels and book jackets, all created to make this magical world as convincing as possible.

The grand finale of the tour showcased the exterior model of Hogwarts used for long shots and flyovers in the movies.

The main tower was as high as 20 feet and the model took many months and over 80 builders to complete.

All great themed events must end with exit retail.  A huge variety of merchandise from cheap and cheezey to high-end and collectible were made available in the gift shop.

About PhillipFreer
Draws, paints and builds stuff. Designs Theme Parks, places and family destinations.

3 Responses to Designing and Building Fantasy

  1. TechSkirt says:

    Wow, what a great display of what it took to bring those books to life!

  2. Jeyna Grace says:

    Love the pictures 🙂

  3. Can you believe that this all came from a book? Shows the power of words to create worlds! 🙂 Thanks so much for showcasing this. What tremendous detail! But that is what it takes in the world of design, right? Thanks so much!


%d bloggers like this: