Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Burke Talks “Potter”


Feb 24, 2011

Posted by John Admin

Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Burke has given a new interview to StudioDaily in which he talks about his work on the Harry Potter films.

Burke spoke about the challenges he’s faced in both “Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ and the films as a whole, naming hippogriffs as “an incredible challenge to pull off”. The VFX supervisor further voiced his disappointment about what Grawp looked like in the sixth film.

On the move towards a combination of partial sets and digital sets:

For Part 2, we’ve done away with Hogwarts. It was such a major job to stage the battle of Hogwarts, and we had to do it in different stages of production. We had shots with complex linking camera moves from wide overviews, to flying into windows and interior spaces. So we took the plunge at the end of 2008 and started rebuilding the school digitally with Double Negative. It’s taken two years ’ getting renders out, texturing every facet of the building, constructing interiors to see through windows, building a destruction version of the school. We can design shots with the knowledge that we have this brilliant digital miniature that we can do anything with.

How changes in technology have affected Burke’s role as visual effects supervisor:

It’s dawning on me that supervisor is the wrong name. Given the level of what we do now, we’re directing the effects and to direct the effects, you have to understand what the director wants. It’s like composing music. David [Yates] uses words to describe things that are not visual. Ridley Scott draws sketches that I can almost hold up at the end of the day and say we did what he wanted. David is more enigmatic. He would say, “The horcrux needs to be malevolent.” So you have to take a big leap. You have to get inside his head to know how to interpret that. Sometimes, you have to know how to interpret silence. Maybe silence isn’t a good thing. And I had three producers to interpret, too.

On the end of the Potter films:

We were on our own in a building that was being knocked down because Warners is turning it into a film complex. We left just before Christmas. I took a tour before the end. The sets were overgrown with weeds. I watched the diggers come in. The reality of leaving the studio where we made the films and seeing it knocked down was so sad. Now, I can’t think about it. I’m sure I will come summer, though, when I’m looking for real work. Hopefully, someone will say they’re starting up in the fall and I can take the summer off.

On “Deathly Hallows: Part 2″:

I think it’s going to be a roller-coaster ride. There’s an incredible pace to it. The audience won’t be able to take a breath. I hope it will be spectacular, as exciting as everyone expects.

Find the full interview at this link.

16 Responses to Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Burke Talks “Potter”

Avatar ImageHarryPotter-Jk.Rowling says: I can't even imagine how hard it would be to be the director of special effects for a Harry Potter movie because of all the magic! (Woo! First comment)Avatar ImageSrose says: THAT IS CRAZY... Such an amazing job, and such a hard one two, but I bet it will be amazing!Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: I'm sure it will look fantastic in the movie! He really has such a difficult job, trying to interpret everyone's ideas and making them a reality on screen!Avatar Imagebudgie says: I am looking forward to the battle of Hogwarts.Avatar Imageazaadpotter says: I just cant believe how he can manage all the special effects in the movies. Hes really awesome. Cant wait for DH2Avatar ImageFawkes1706 says: The battle of Hogwarts will be pretty intense by the sounds of it, I can't wait! The visual effects team has done a really amazing job with the films. Avatar ImageHunterGoddess says: Bring tissue and probably a paper, seeing as I am probably going to hyperventilate. I can't wait!!!! Hey Leaky, can we start the countdown for DH part 2? Avatar Imageykaitot says: ooohh!! can't wait! this is gonna be sooo EPIC!! ^^,Avatar ImageFiniteincantatum says: Ayy, of course, it'll be breath-taking, and spectacular. I can not wait any longer.Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: I agree with HunterGoddess, a countdown would be nice. But please can we have one with Deathly Hallows pictures, not HBP and OotP ones? (Unless you use pictures from ALL the films - that would be good.)Avatar Imagemolly43 says: I was wondering when the countdown for DH2 would start also. It would be nice to see all of the pictures. Sounds like Tim Burke had and has his hands full. It's kind of sad about the set and knowing it will be torn down. Avatar ImageJakk_pf says: Wow 2 YEARS on the battle of howarts effects!! I can't believe it!!Avatar ImageXNymphadoraX says: See this is why i love Harry Potter films, not only because i so admire all the actors and actresses in it, but also the ammount of work goes in to creating what we see as about a two minute sequence or about ten seconds of wide shot on a field, its so amazing to see what happens. If any of you want to see what happened making the films just watch the special features and see the behind the scenes. (btw watch 'Whats on your Mind?' game thing on HP6 movie features, its so funny!)Avatar Imagekiwimci says: Too true, can't tell you how angered I get when some fan criticises so unfairly because of the tried and tested "they-cut-this-out-of-the-book-ergo-bad-movie-they-don't-know-what-they're-doing" nonsense. I'd love to see you get off your ass and attempt it! I think everyone's done a spiffing job. Opposed to everyone else I can wait to see DH2, I don't want this to end. And yeah a Leaky countdown please, with pictures from all the films sounds brilliantAvatar ImageRaytheforgottenWeasley says: I agree KiwiMcl, I was looking last night for a countdown to put on my desktop, couldn't find anything worth downloading. Maybe some of these young code masters at Leaky can whip one up! ;-)Avatar Imagehewy says: The whole interview is quite amazing. CGI has "come a long way baby" and the time it now takes to make adjustments is now down to "real" time as opposed to having to take two weeks for the same thing. He did a great job of explaining things in the interview so that even someone with now background in that field could understand it! Thanks Tim for all your hard work and for the wonderful interview!!!!!!!

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