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Harry Potter’s Knight Bus scenes used actors walking in slow-motion

Harry Potter's magical Knight Bus was supposed to hurtle around England at breakneck speed but slow-motion proved to be the key to creating this effect

Harry Potter on the Knight Bus from Prisoner of Azkaban

The Harry Potter movies featured some incredible magical stunts and effects. Throughout the series, we saw deadly duels, magic transformations, and even a giant spider or two. Of course, no one working on these productions was actually a witch or wizard (that we know of), so the team had to think outside the box to bring the magic to life.

While making Prisoner of Azkaban, Alfonso Cuarón, for example, had to work out how to make the Knight Bus – a magical bus that takes witches and wizards to any destination at breakneck speed – while keeping the cast and crew safe. Thankfully the team working on the fantasy movie came up with a novel idea to make the bus look like it was hurtling through London, they made everyone else move in slow-motion.

“It’s not as scary as it looks,” stunt coordinator Greg Powell said in production notes for the film, via Hollywood Jesus. “We drove the bus at about 30 miles per hour, and the other cars were going only about 8. It took weeks of planning with stunt drivers, and even the people you see on the street are stuntmen and women, who were trained to walk incredibly slow just to make the bus look faster.”

Slow-motion also informed the movement of a major Harry Potter villain. According to producer David Heyman the creepy movement of the Dementors – the soul-sucking Azkaban guards – was done using slow motion.

“Alfonso wanted the Dementors to have a completely different quality from the other mythical creatures in the story,” Heyman explained. “He began the design process by experimenting with slow-motion movement. Then he played the slow-motion in reverse as if the Dementors were preceding a character into a room, rather than following.”

If you love the Wizarding world check out our list of the best Harry Potter characters.