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How the first animated sequence in a 'Harry Potter' movie came about

Harry Potter 2 
We asked animation director Ben Hibon to discuss the animated sequence in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," which picked up two Oscar nominations, one for art direction and one for visual effects. Here's what he had to say:

"This is the first animated sequence ever to appear in a Harry Potter film, so it had to be distinctive and special. It’s not animation as we might think of it today; it is a moving illustration of the story being read aloud by Hermione — the story of the Deathly Hallows. The fact that the sequence would be explaining the origin of the title made it all the more important.

"In a moment that takes our central characters to a world of ancient fables, the titular tale of the Three Brothers, found in the book ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard,’ has an eerie undertone, reminiscent of the timeless Grimms’ fairy tales, which I found particularly relevant for us. Although they are labeled as ‘children’s tales,’ they often tell stories of dark kingdoms and sinister characters. We wanted the audience to experience the story as if through the imagination of a young child.

"The work of artist Lotte Reiniger from the 1930s was another early reference. Her silhouette-style stop-motion animations are beautifully handcrafted and captured the naïve visual tone we were after. We also looked at Asian shadow-play, which is visually striking, very intricate and yet so beautifully simple. The technique is basic, but the end result is particularly charming and engaging. There’s something so ingenious about projecting shadows onto a simple cloth.

"The shapes and motions can be very enigmatic and leave a lot of scope for invention, experimentation and interpretation. A shadow play evokes a sense of wonder and enchantment. It can take one’s imagination beyond what’s actually on the screen. What you don’t see is as important as what you see. Of course, the characters are the centerpiece of the story, a set of elongated human-like dark silhouettes.

"Their designs are reminiscent of handcrafted wooden puppets; their gestures are limited to basic articulation. The crude feel of the animation accentuates the characters’ theatrical performances, the simple outlines drawing our attention to the smallest of details — each subtle hand movement, each head motion gets interpreted as another nuance of human emotion.

"Animation is the art of smoke and mirrors, lights and shadows, and the team of artists behind this piece are true magicians."

 — Ben Hibon

Photo from Warner Bros.

Comments () | Archives (14)

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This was by far the most incredible sequence in any of the Harry Potter films, which I am big fan of. It was captivating, beautifully told. Congrats, Mr. Hibon for being recognized for this. I really wish this would have been nominated for an Oscar in the animated short film category. You and the team deserve it.

I personally thank you Mr. Ben Hibon and your team to keep up the hardwork and we love it the way you are going with it.Love You All

I think this animations is really good. and it should win an award..

I really enjoyed this tale in the book and wondered if Harry was a decendent of the third brother becuse of his invisibility clock that he recieved from his father via dumbledoor. Really alot of fun to imagine death and his frustration trying to locate the third brother and how he was finally found.

this scene was great, it didn't go out of tone, but it mixed so well and so softly with the whole movie, but I think is mostly because of this great concepts of the deathly hallows which I love of course. And I just think this scene was fantastic.

i agree max!

What would be absolutely fantastic is if they could do the whole 'Tales of Beedle the Bard' book into animated shorts in this same style of animation that 'The Three Brothers' was done.
I'd love to see that book brought to life and maybe released as a companion dvd to the DH part 2 dvd when it's released, or something. It would be nice to have that as part of the HP collection.

I loved this animation in DH. It is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Absolutely amazing animation.


Totally fascinating, a triumphant success ... a work of art!

the animation is awsome n i like all the parts of harry potter

animation of film is awesome & its effect is great

This was by far the coolest part of the movie! Wish they had done more of this throughout the series.

I'm so glad that this is getting mention & notice .... I came away from the film as this being my favorite part.... it was done so well!!!

That animation sequence was the most innovative, stunning, and mind-blowing sequences I've seen in film in a LONG time. Just gorgeous and I love that they put so much thought into it.

It was pure perfection. I'm going to be really surprised if the Oscars overlooks that sequence when it comes time to award the Visual Effects Oscar.

I absolutely LOVED the animated sequence. It contributed to the story, was beautiful and not at all distracting.



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