Jun 3, 2016

Wingardium Leviosa to Warner Bros Studio (The Making of Harry Potter), London

Blows off dust from my blog...wow it's been ages since I have updated, the last entry was in early Jan 2016 and now it's half a year gone from 2016. Truth is I do not have that blogging mood anymore and plus I don't really like to post about personal stuff here anymore or anywhere else, so yea, only travelling and photography related will be able to make an appearance here.

I have been travelling to Europe or specifically Norway, Finland, Estonia and UK the last 3 weeks or so. It's a break I have been longing for a very long time and take some time off to not think about stuff. For me the highlight of the trip gotta be the visit to Warner Bros studio tour, the making of Harry Potter. I was a Harry Potter fan, having read all the books and watch all the movies, so this tour of the studio for the making of the movie really sets the expectation. I have been to the studio making of LOTR, so I half expected something like that and full of tourists.

We actually booked the tickets in advance but only managed to get the 1.30pm slot, probably due to bank holiday. We stopped at Watford Junction station via train and since we were 2 hours early, we decided to stop by for some early lunch/late breakfast at one of the pub. Bad decision as our food only came after almost 45 mins wait and we gobbled down the food in 5 minutes in order to catch the 12.20pm bus. The bus ride is about 15 mins and cost about 2.5 pound both ways. It was the fastest breakfast/brunch I ever had!

The bus itself was decorated with the Harry Potter related stuff on the outside and once we reached the entrance of the studio, we were blown away. It felt like we were brought into the movie itself. Giant posters of the actors and actresses decorate the main hallway upon entrance and the queue was long. We had to line up for half and hour before getting in. Once we were in the waiting room, the staff brief us on the movie production and we were shown some footage of the production. It really brought back good memories of why I love the books and the movies in the first place.
The shuttle bus from Watford station to the studio

Entrance to the studio, we were so excited!
Right before the entrance. Seeing the photos of the actors brought back a lot of memories

Once we enter the main hall, we were so excited with the props and keep reenacting the scene in the main hall with all the floating candles and the famous sorting hat in the middle of the hallway. The studio for the making of Harry Potter comprise of studio J and K with a backlot in the middle of the two studio. Studio J is more like props and location used for the filming while studio K is more the makeup, drawing board and conceptual art.
Sorting Hat at the Main Hall

Gryffindor common room
Scene from the headmaster room when Dolores Umbridge is the headmaster
After the main hall, we headed to the main studio J and this is where all the location such as the Weasley's home at the Burrows, Potion room, Gryffindor common room and the boy's dorm, the goblet of fire, the snake door from the Chamber of Secrets and not forgetting Dumbledore's headmaster room. The highlight will be the trying out the flying broom via green screen. It was fun looking as yourself at the tv and trying all funny sorts of expressions and motions. Although we did not purchase the video and photo, the experience itself was really fun. The next best part was trying to get the letters from Hogwarts which was spit out from a door every 10 minutes. And then off to the Platform 9 3/4 and the real Hogwarts train.

Hogwarts choo choo train
Going through Platform 9 3/4
We took a break at a cafe at the backlot and had some butterbeer drink, ice cream and cupcakes. Privet drive was opened for visit only for that week and we had a chance to peek inside of the living hall when letters from Hogwarts was flying in from the chimney. The letter are practically floating in the air!
Remember this scene from the first movie?

Butterbeer drink, ice cream and cupcakes (though it looks more muffin to me)

Another impressive stuff in studio K will be the Hogwarts model which is not miniature at all. It's so surreal to see the details and effort being put in to construct such props. And not forgetting the impression drawings and the makeup and hair!! saw Luna's hair/wig being display.

Check out the drawing board, literally every single prop up to Dumbledore's chair are drawn to detail!

At Diagon Alley

Model of Hogwarts

Another view of Hogwarts. The model really blew us away

We finished touring the place in 5 hours as we took our own sweet time reading and appreciating each of the details. This is definitely the best studio I ever had and highly recommended for Harry Potter's fan. Take your time to see each and every detail and try out all the simulation especially the green screen. It was really fun and interactive and able to take photos and videos made it well worth the 35 pound spend. If possible, go early in the morning as the crowd will be less compared to afternoon.