To create the Basilisk that lives deep below Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was created through a mixture of Practical and Visual effects. A full-size practical Basilisk mouth was created by the Creature Shop to fight against in the final battle scene measuring up at 30ft long with jaws 3ft deep. The aquatronic model created was able to move allowing for less to be created via CGI. The model could even slither up a track to get close to Harry in the fight scenes.
Three life-size animatronic versions of Buckbeak the Hippogriff were created for the Harry Potter film series: one standing, another rearing and a third lying down. When creating the models of Buckbeak, each feather had to be individually inserted and glued by the Creature Effects team who were busy adding feathers right up until the final moment Buckbeak was needed on set for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The designers of Buckbeak took inspiration from real birds, specifically the Golden Eagle for the creature’s profile. They also consulted with vets and physiologists when looking at the proportions of Buckbeak’s legs and wings.
Goblins in the Harry Potter film series act as bank officials and tellers at Gringotts bank in Diagon Alley. Created by Nick Dudman, Creature and Make-Up Effects Designer, and his team, each goblin was given a particular personality perceptible in their distinctive ears, chins and noses to ensure they all looked different. To create the scene inside Gringotts Bank in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, 140 make-up artists from all over Europe were needed to turn 60 actors into goblins in just four hours. Goblin prosthetics could also not be reused after they were removed at the end of the day’s filming and so multiples of every goblin head were created for each day of the shooting schedule.
Created by Nick Dudman, Creature and Make-Up Effects Designer, with help from Production Designer Stuart Craig, Aragog had a leg span of over 18 feet and was even able to crawl out of a hole and deliver dialogue in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Each of Aragog’s hairs was individually inserted by hand using a special needle using many different materials from brooms bristles and pieces of coconut to the centre of feathers. On set for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it would take over 15 people to operate the animatronic Aragog, four of which would be behind the scenes acting as puppeteers for the back four legs.