“Potter” Special Effects Supervisor discusses the challenges of “Deathly Hallows – Part 1”

In light of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 being nominated at this year’s Oscars (to be held February 27th), Potter Special Effects Supervisor Christian Manz spoke with Coventry Telegraph about his work on the film.

Interestingly, Manz discusses the challenges they had when it came to creating Dobby:

One scene proved especially challenging. Harry Potter and his friends, including Dobby, have to escape from a knife that has been hurled at them, by magically vanishing into thin air.

Although the disappearing act lasts just a few seconds on screen, the Framestore team experimented with 100 different effects before they felt they had captured the right look for the scene.

In the following scene, the group magically reappears on a windswept beach. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) realises that Dobby was hit by the knife, he cradles him in his arms and they talk briefly before Dobby dies.

On location, Dobby was again played by an actor, who was much larger than the animated Dobby. So when the special effects wizards got to work they found that the actor had obscured much of Radcliffe’s body. This meant Christian Manz and his colleagues had the task of ‘recreating’ bits of Radcliffe’s clothes, arms and hands.

“It was such a crucial scene, we knew we had to be perfect down to the tiniest detail,” said Manz. “As Dobby passes away we made his eyes appear watery and we slowly changed the texture of his skin texture to make him appear wan and pale.”