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Baseblack Contributes to Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Headed by VFX Supervisor Matt Twyford and VFX Producer Kate Phillips, Baseblack contributed 300+ shots on the record-breaking HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1. That's more than any other vendor.

Headed by VFX Supervisor Matt Twyford and VFX Producer Kate Phillips, Baseblack contributed 300+ shots on the record-breaking HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1. That's more than any other vendor.

Baseblack's work makes a low-key entrance into the film with a poignant moment showing Hermione erasing herself from her parents' memories. Besides a series of shots showing her disappearing from family photographs, Twyford designed a wand effect of a subtle fractal displacement that met director David Yates' concern that the process be low-key and gentle. A more ostentatious look was developed for the Deluminator, which Ron receives in Dumbledore's Will (the will itself is a piece of CG animation by Baseblack). This magical artefact can dim and restore lights and its use recurs throughout the film. Baseblack was also asked to create a look to augment on-set lighting changes, and compositor Stuart Bullen contributed a series of 2D animations of flying balls of light, which, with extensive interactive lighting generated in Nuke and painstaking recreation of optical effects, demonstrated a sense of depth and presence.

Baseblack additionally contributed another of Dumbledore's bequests, in the form of one of the most recognisable icons of Harry Potter's world: the Golden Snitch. The Snitch is given a bit more of a personality in DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 than in previous appearances, following Harry around like a faithful dog and even escaping from a Snatcher's pocket to be reunited with him. While a number of beautiful physical snitches were made for onset use, Baseblack stepped in whenever it was required to take to the air. CG Supervisor Fred Sundqvist built an accurate CG model of the practical version and created a series of wing animations, allowing it either to hover like a hummingbird or to fold its wings elegantly away, before blocking its flight path into the shots.

Baseblack also created a more malevolent object in the form of the Horcrux Locket, which Harry, Ron and Hermione retrieve from Dolores Umbridge in the Ministry of Magic. Once again, Baseblack took over with an animated CG version when Yates' requirements outstripped the limits of the practical locket. This included bouncing it around and setting it on fire as the trio make their initial attempt to destroy it; Baseblack also created the exciting sequence where the tables are turned and the locket attempts to drown Harry as he dives in the frozen pond. This involved complex body tracking of Daniel Radcliffe's spirited performance before animating the locket as it jerks Harry around underwater and twists itself into his neck. To increase the violence of the scene, we also added animated bubbles of air pouring off Harry as he thrashes around in the water.

Baseblack crucially contributed to the film's chilling final scene as Voldemort breaks open Dumbledore's tomb to steal the Elder Wand. The scene was something of a complicated collage job since filming schedules dictated that many of the elements in it had to be shot separately. For the dramatic establishing shot, Compositor Tim Young dropped a matte painted island into a helicopter plate of a real loch before the action cuts to a CG tomb being magically lifted open. Voldemort's face to face confrontation with his dead nemesis was also helped along by Baseblack since Ralph Fiennes and Michael Gambon were filmed separately on greenscreen stages and then combined by Senior Compositor Rudi Holzapfel with a motion-controlled plate of the smashed tomb which stands in a fully CG island environment. Finally, for the film's closing shots as Voldemort tests his new power by sending a lightning storm into the sky, 2D Lead Adrian Banton created a side view of the island, comprising a small live-action element of Fiennes on a matte painted island, hand-animated lightning arcing into the sky and a fully CG cloudscape, which explodes with light.