23 April 2009 at 07:06 GMT
Last year I had the privilege of visiting Leavesden Studios, the film set where Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was shot. Whilst at Leavesden, I was given a guided tour of the sets (both new and old), conducted interviews with the cast and crew, and watched filming. Part two of my report (part one available here) follows.
We set ourselves up on a table in the Great Hall and watch as the cast and crew prepare for filming. Again, the attention to detail is paramount. Everything from the cereal boxes to the books on the table are appropriately themed. A “Win Win Slytherin” banner sits in the corner alongside similar Gryffindor paraphernalia. Quiet is called on set, and David Yates shouts action.
You’ve probably guessed by now, but this morning we’re watching the infamous placebo-potion breakfast scene. Dan Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), Emma Watson (Hermione) and newcomer Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) all take the stage and the scene begins. On the ninth take I pick up subtle variations in the movement, dialogue and pace. It really emphasises the sheer amount of detail and persistence that goes into achieving a single shot.
It’s off to the flight-shed next, a small trip away from the main stages at Leavesden. Giant wooden frames and scaffolding are visible as we enter the stage. Building is still in the very early stages, though we’re given a sneak peek at some very detailed blueprints. The rather colossal build is none other than the streets of Diagon and Knockturn Alley. The sentiment is woven throughout my report, but it is only necessary to mention that once again, no detail has been spared. My hat off to production designer Stuart Craig.
A 360 degree look around Leavesden’s backlot will reveal an assortment of famous settings from the Harry Potter universe. In front of me are giant Quidditch posts and a huge sandpit sits below. An enormous green screen covers the perimeter of the set. A little further on, construction of the Spinner’s End set is well underway. Further on still, the crew are working feverishly on building the large Hogwarts entrance gates.