Pottermore interview: Simon Lloyd and Christine Turner talk secrecy, stop-motion and super-size books
If you’ve been obsessively watching and rewatching the Pottermore video announcement, chances are you’re now seeing papercraft owls and spiders in your sleep thanks to the gorgeous animation scenes.
The Pottermore animation was masterminded by communications agency adam&eve, headed up by Simon Lloyd and Christine Turner, and directed and animated by talented siblings Martin and Line Andersen of Andersen M Studios.
To find out more about the art style, the pressures of working on such a super-secret project, and how to choose between broomsticks and owls I jumped at the chance to find out more from Simon Lloyd and Christine Turner:
First things first, how did you get involved with the Pottermore project?
adam&eve began a pitch process along with digital agency TH_NK back in early 2010 and successfully won the business.
What were your inspirations for the Pottermore animation?
We wanted to create something that was a stepping stone between Jo [Rowling]’s printed words and the new digital experience. Paper animation felt like the perfect medium to tell the story. We worked with the amazingly talented guys at Anderson M Studios to bring this to life.
What was the actual process – how much was handmade and how much was computer generated?
Nothing in this piece is CG. Every element was shot in camera and painstakingly cut, piece by piece, and then moved bit by bit to create a stop frame animation. The book is actually very large in scale to make creating the elements easier. This book was made by a specialist book binder and was a complete replica of an ordinary printed version.
Were you tempted to use a similar style to the Three Brothers shadow animation from the last Harry Potter film?
Pottermore is a separate experience from the movies. No film characters or scenes are used within Pottermore therefore we wanted to create something totally unique.
How did you select the motifs that symbolise the Harry Potter universe – why owls and not broomsticks?
This was a tricky process. The decision came down to various considerations. What works well in paper, what moves well, what is synonymous with Harry Potter without being a cliche. We tried a number of different things before settling on the models in the final film which included a few test models.
Were there any ideas or designs you had to cut from the finished product?
Due to the process of stop motion everything had to be agreed and developed very early on to ensure the end product is a success. Therefore no scenes were shot that did not get used.
What as it like working on something so shrouded in secrecy – did you ever panic you might have let anything slip?
Every day. It was very hard to work on something with such a high profile. Everyone was under NDA and understood how important it was to keep it a secret. It is easy when you work with professionals however there is always a risk and we had to be very careful with images, scripts, emails etc.
Will you be working on anything else for Pottermore?
We’ve only just begun! And the experience only has the first book to begin with so there is a lot more left to do which is very exciting.
What else do you have coming up?
We work on a number of projects for various clients at adam&eve including John Lewis, Foster’s, Phones4u and Save The Children. We are quite small and very busy so there are lots of other things to keep us busy!