In a feature on FXguide, we get a pretty insightful look into how one VFX shop was able to bring several character designs, animations and environment builds to life in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The latest Harry Potter spinoff, and a direct sequel to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016) - see where both rank on our definitive Harry Potter ranking article here - the J.K. Rowling-written (and David Yates directed) feature is a VFX wondershow that showcases some of the best VFX design and animation in the industry.
Let’s take a look into how Framestore was able to digitally recreate locations around London and Paris and animate several of the fantastic creatures therein.
Behind the Fantastic Beasts
According to the feature, The Crimes of Grindelwald was shot on the Alexa 65 and the Alexa Mini with footage rendered at 3.2K for 2.39:1 delivery. For this fantastically little creature called "Niffler", the Framestore team worked had to work with the fine details and feathers - even diving into the nature of a groom to reference how real feathers react to fire.
The Zouwu Dummy Head
In one sequence from the film (not a spoiler, don’t worry) we see a Zouwu (one of the fantastic creatures) escapes from Newt’s suitcase. The shot became tricky for the animators as even with a dummy head on set, the dimensions didn’t exactly match for the odd-sized creature so Framestore team had to block out lots of space and motion.
One of the most interesting parts of the feature is the fact that the Framestore team in Montreal had the dubious task of recreating Hogwarts. It turns out, that while the original set still exists, it was unavailable for Fantastic Beasts’ production because it’s currently part of the Harry Potter studio tour in England.
Even the famous Hogwarts Dining Hall had to be recreated with the lead comp supervisor being tasked to write a script to randomize the floating candles from flame elements and scattered in Nuke.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is currently in theaters. For more VFX breakdowns, you can check out our full page here.
Source: FX Guide