With Fantastic Beasts out, Inverse asked me to write a retrospective on the best Harry Potter vfx scenes from the franchise so far. It was HARD to choose, but here they are.
I also managed to grab some extra info from Jim Mitchell, the vfx supe for Goblet of Fire about the creation of the Hungarian Horntail dragon in particular:
What I remember most about the dragon sequence or rather the 1st task of the Tri-wizard tournament was how much it evolved from the book and script which were very brief descriptions of the fire-breathing dragon guarding the golden egg from Harry in this confined rocky arena.
There never was any of the chase around Hogwarts castle but one day when I was checking out the huge physical model of the castle for some establishing shots, I thought how cool would it be see Harry and the dragon flying through its deep ravines, under bridges and past these giant, stoned structures.
I imagined the dragon landing on one of the steep towers and roaring like King Kong on the Empire state building. Mike Newell and the producers liked the idea and so the sequence grew to include the chase. I think it opened the sequence up and made it more perilous and exciting than it originally was. ILM did a great job with the animation and look of the bat-like dragon making it as real as any dragon I’ve seen.