Class 4 had a tiring, but wonderful day when they visited the Warner Bros Studios at Leavesden. This visit was almost the culmination of a project based on Fantastic Beasts.
After arriving at the Studios, the children investigated the enormous rug which displays all the wands for the key characters, and where they posed for a group photo underneath the incredible dragon (Agnes).
We went into a cinema, then entered the Great Hall, resplendent in its Halloween decorations. There was a Halloween feast on the tables and pumpkins floating from the ceiling. At the far end of the hall we saw the costumes for the four House Ghosts, as well as the costumes for the main teaching staff.
After the Great Hall, we moved into the area where there were costumes on display, one of the prop makers who had made a masks of the Death Eaters, the Mirror of Erised, the Griffindor Common Room and so much more. We also had a turn at flying broomsticks against a green screen.
After visiting the Forbidden Forest, home to acromantulas (giant spiders) and coming face to face with the mighty Aragog, we entered Platform 9 3/4. There was more green screen adventure when we boarded the Hogwarts Express and learned how the actors had to react to nothing but green. Finally it was time for a snack and a drink opposite 4 Privet Drive before entering the Creature Workshop.
Here we saw goblin masks, Hagrid's animated head, and Dobby the House Elf. There were many of the other weird and wonderful creatures created for the films, from the acromantulas to the basilisk. The greatest highlight was entering Gingotts Bank. A stunning pillared hall, with enormous chandeliers. Like all film making sets, the chandeliers were made from plastic crystals, reducing the weight and cost of them.
What was even more spectacular and breathtaking was when we rounded the corner into a destroyed version of the bank, where we were faced with the sight of yet another dragon (Doris) breathing smoke and flames at us.
We had a wonderful day and have come back with a real sense of how the written word is transformed into a feature film.