|Harry Potter Tour|
But you'd be wrong. The tour at Leavesden is exceptionally well put together, and incredibly informative about how this ground-breaking series of films was brought to the screen.
|Hogwarts dining hall|
You can wander through Diagon Alley too. Whoever designed and dressed these sets clearly had huge fun. The visual style of the film is a sort of nostalgic trip back to the 1950s - but with added magic.
It's a world that is old-fashioned and new-fangled all at the same time, both familiar and unfamiliar. Seeing the sets make you realise how much thought went into the design and art direction of the series.
The displays are genuinely revealing about how the movies were made. At Escape Studios we tend to focus on visual (ie digital) effects, but it is clear that the special effects team on the series did an impressive job, and plenty of old-school non-digital physical effects used on set long before digital artists got started.
Below you can see one of the goblin masks, used to create the goblins at Gringotts bank. The actors had the latex head masks attached to their faces (in a painstaking hours-long makeup process) that made the mask a living part of the actors own faces.
|Robbie Coltrane's head. In latex.|
|Paulina Kepinska goes to Platform 9 and 3/4|
Dragon heads peer down at you from the ceilings, and you realise how much work went into the creation of so many different monsters and creatures.
Most impressive of all is the scale model of Hogwarts, created by the model department at Cinesite (though none of the companies which worked on the films get a credit).
|Scale model of Hogwarts|
I really can't think of a better way to introduce students to the world in visual effects in film.
How to Get There
The Harry Potter Studio Tour is located in Leavesden, 20 miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways. The postcode for your GPS SatNav is WD25 7LR.
A regular shuttle bus from Watford Junction train station costs £2.50 for the return journey.
The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt starting in September 2016, follow this link. To apply, visit the offical page here.