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Experience the Making of Harry Potter

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. Heather shares with us the experience of visiting the makings behind Harry Potter, and how her children began to discover a world they hadn't before imagined.

London reflects the magical muggle world portrayed in the Harry Potter Series which has become world renown. What’s even more remarkable is how through  J. K. Rowling’s story, it developed into such a believable world that we are able to lose ourselves in 3 hours of cinematography that presented itself to us on the big screen. 

Now, London has the actual sets where the films were enhanced – and where the actors and crew filmed sequences of the films. Although initially I thought it may be a tourist trap, these sound stages were indeed kept intact in a way that if given the opportunity, really help students conceive the amount of work, detail, and time that went into creating the films. Though we have fallen in love with the characters, and often wish we lived the lives of the stars and actors, students who visit this facility, have a chance to explore the various other individual roles which were necessary to create the well-known and familiar films and make them what they are.

In the summer of last year, I was lucky enough to accompany the year 6’s to ‘Experience the Making of Harry Potter’. From the night bus, to the animatronics puppets used in the films, all of the elements were revealed in how every character, prop and set had been created. Students were able to comment and recognize the development of simple drawings into scaled 3D models which slowly developed into larger ones (such as the overall view of the Hogwarts’ school grounds).

The sets that were on display, were made of simple boards, painted, and lacked the third or fourth wall that separates ‘set’ from a real interior, thus allowing cameras to capture certain angles without having to configure in restricted spaces. While some objects were authentic and superbly detailed, others were common or much lighter – built to create an image.

that students begin to realize a whole new world of careers, and the amount of artistry and engineering that goes into a film that will in no doubt stand the testament of time

Students truly did get a sense of all the key parts that are used to splice images from the studio into real-life settings. Those unfinished sets and segments can be duplicated and pasted into others in order to create a gigantic Ministry building or household. Some of the effects I thought had been generated by computer were in fact engineered and made real – such as the floating candles we see in the Great Hall. The students begin to understand all the aspects of the film, and all the skills necessary to create such a masterpiece. Suddenly, maths doesn’t become so irrelevant when you make a model that’s scaled to ¼ of the actual size. Tech skills are magical when creating a broomstick race in front of a green screen. Through admirable pieces of art, students could not only recognize what they’d seen on screen, but began asking questions about why the items looked smaller that on screen, or how did they make Hagrid look so giant.

Film is a lot more complicated than we tend to give it thought. Unless you’re one of those people who eat away at the special features on DVD’s, most haven’t gained an interest in that intricate stuff at their age. It isn’t until they take a gander at the slants and angles of the crazy bridge from the film (among other things), that students begin to realize a whole new world of careers, and the amount of artistry and engineering that goes into a film that will in no doubt stand the testament of time.

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Tags: Heather, Canadian-trained, Harry-Potter, experiences, cinema, teaching, alternatives, London, Canada, 3D,

Category: Australian Teachers

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