One of the main challenges for director David Yates on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, other than creating an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the largest franchise in movie history, is to destroy a castle. This won’t be simple demolition job. It will occur during The Battle of Hogwarts which sees the Dark Lord, his Death Eaters, Giants, and Spiders descending upon Hogwarts.
We’ve seen the exterior of Hogwarts in every Harry Potter film to date, usually during scenic transition shots, however for the finale the special effects team have spent 2 years creating Hogwarts digitally in order to destroy it on-screen.
For Part 2, we’ve done away with Hogwarts. It was such a major job to stage the battle of Hogwarts, and we had to do it in different stages of production. We had shots with complex linking camera moves from wide overviews, to flying into windows and interior spaces. So we took the plunge at the end of 2008 and started rebuilding the school digitally with Double Negative.
It’s taken two years – getting renders out, texturing every facet of the building, constructing interiors to see through windows, building a destruction version of the school. We can design shots with the knowledge that we have this brilliant digital miniature that we can do anything with. With a practical Hogwarts, we would have shot it last summer and been so tied down. Instead, as David Yates finds the flow and structure, we are able to handle new concepts and ideas.
(Double Negative is the visual effects company responsible for the ‘bending street’ scene in Inception, as well as other stuff in Iron Man 2, 2012 and Kick-Ass).
Producer David Heyman has said The Battle of Hogwarts will last 30 minutes long and they have beefed up the final Harry vs. Voldemort battle, so we can expect a finale of epic proportions.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will be released July 15th, and we will hopefully be seeing the first official trailer for Part 2 in March.