8 Jul - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt2 World Premiere

It was (and still is) the biggest premiere London has ever had. I can not think of a single way that it could be exceeded unless they literally announced that production of James Bond movies were ceasing and this was the last one and they were getting EVERYONE to the event.

Accordingly, it's getting the biggest premiere journal, because not to spoil anything, but somehow I managed to get photos, when two days earlier I would have sincerely doubted it...

My money's on Voldemort to take this to extra time and win it from there.... (yeah, I've read the books... but there's no rule says the movie has to slavishly follow the source material...)

My money's on Voldemort to take this to extra time and win it from there.... (yeah, I've read the books... but there's no rule says the movie has to slavishly follow the source material...)

July 8, 2011.

Leicester Square is being eviscerated by the Olympic renovations so they put this premiere into Trafalgar Square and yet they STILL snaked the three-quarter-mile red carpet into Leicester Square. It was on a Thursday early evening but the fans started camping on Monday. They then confiscated their tents so the fans slept out in the rain. The queues for red wristbands were blocks long.

And I? I work normal (if not slightly extended) working hours in my everyday job while this went on, wondering how on earth a 'civilian' could ever get a vantagepoint of anything without being unemployed or otherwise homeless. But I do seem to get lucky at these things, and I did have a plan for taking some photos. The question was ... would it work?

Here's how it went down...

So this is what Trafalgar Square looked like about 36 hours before the premiere (ie. Wednesday morning) - people had actually been camping out since Monday. Showers? Not so much.

So this is what Trafalgar Square looked like about 36 hours before the premiere (ie. Wednesday morning) - people had actually been camping out since Monday. Showers? Not so much.

Wednesday morning for a Thursday night premiere... and people are being kept IN PENS like animals. (Yeah... the guys at the UN High Commission for Refugees might want to head on down here)

Wednesday morning for a Thursday night premiere... and people are being kept IN PENS like animals. (Yeah... the guys at the UN High Commission for Refugees might want to head on down here)

I'm sure the queue to legally (or illegally) acquire some of these flags rivals that of many rock concerts. I'll move on.

I'm sure the queue to legally (or illegally) acquire some of these flags rivals that of many rock concerts. I'll move on.

Humanitarian tragedy or just a bunch of guys really hoping Dobby the House Elf isn't really dead? (Just to clarify : the premiere is TOMORROW)

Humanitarian tragedy or just a bunch of guys really hoping Dobby the House Elf isn't really dead? (Just to clarify : the premiere is TOMORROW)

Your marketing tagline is three words "It All Ends". I'd like to reply with two: Franchise Reboot. (Oh, as if Warner Bros don't have a contingency plan in a sealed envelope...)

Your marketing tagline is three words "It All Ends". I'd like to reply with two: Franchise Reboot. (Oh, as if Warner Bros don't have a contingency plan in a sealed envelope...)

So with a mere 30 hours to go, the crowd gets into position and I wonder whether maybe attaching my camera to a low-hanging dirigible and using a remote trigger might be a solution to the problem of "I Don't Stand A Hope Of Getting Anywhere Near This Thing"

So with a mere 30 hours to go, the crowd gets into position and I wonder whether maybe attaching my camera to a low-hanging dirigible and using a remote trigger might be a solution to the problem of "I Don't Stand A Hope Of Getting Anywhere Near This Thing"

It's now Thursday, and with a mere 24+ hours to go, they've let some of the most 'enthusiastic' fans get into the 'Square itself. Because that's what medical practitioners suggest doing with obsessed people : feed their obsession? (I'm not bitter)

It's now Thursday, and with a mere 24+ hours to go, they've let some of the most 'enthusiastic' fans get into the 'Square itself. Because that's what medical practitioners suggest doing with obsessed people : feed their obsession? (I'm not bitter)

They walk among us... (Some might even be accountants in their everyday lives. Doing Our Taxes. Filing OUR returns)

They walk among us... (Some might even be accountants in their everyday lives. Doing Our Taxes. Filing OUR returns)

It's now a mere 5 hours to go. The queue for Red Wristbands (which would *maybe* gain you access somewhere behind the people who have been camping out for days) stretched for 1.5 blocks at 7am but I, sadly, had to go to work. Happily, I also work for a boss who will let me out early for this kind of thing.

It's now a mere 5 hours to go. The queue for Red Wristbands (which would *maybe* gain you access somewhere behind the people who have been camping out for days) stretched for 1.5 blocks at 7am but I, sadly, had to go to work. Happily, I also work for a boss who will let me out early for this kind of thing.

Hand me a protractor, 'cause I wanna impress this girl. It's 3pm and I've found a spot that I will end up having to vacate an hour later because the organisers have decided to only THEN tell people who'd been there for hours that they could be there.

Hand me a protractor, 'cause I wanna impress this girl. It's 3pm and I've found a spot that I will end up having to vacate an hour later because the organisers have decided to only THEN tell people who'd been there for hours that they could be there.

You know, if I was allowed to bring a camera, I would totally volunteer for their jobs... But I wouldn't be and I can't and I am seriously running out of time to come up with options like grafting wings on me or finding a double decker open top tourist bus that does nothing but circuits past Trafalgar square...

You know, if I was allowed to bring a camera, I would totally volunteer for their jobs... But I wouldn't be and I can't and I am seriously running out of time to come up with options like grafting wings on me or finding a double decker open top tourist bus that does nothing but circuits past Trafalgar square...

Okay so here's the deal. After being told under no circumstances would I be lucky enough to get into Trafalgar Square, and having been moved on by under-trained security goons after over an hour in a space that other people had been occupying for hours, I have finally found what I believe is one of the best remaining spots available for 'civillians'. It will involve shooting around bus traffic. I'm game. Let's do this.

Okay so here's the deal. After being told under no circumstances would I be lucky enough to get into Trafalgar Square, and having been moved on by under-trained security goons after over an hour in a space that other people had been occupying for hours, I have finally found what I believe is one of the best remaining spots available for 'civillians'. It will involve shooting around bus traffic.

I'm game. Let's do this.

And then? Something amazing happened.

They sealed off the road!! The A400 that runs past Trafalgar Square was BLOCKED TO TRAFFIC!! This is the view to my right (none of these people are inside with the crowds in Trafalgar Square - but some do have views of the giant TV screen. And I? Happened to have brought a step-stool with me for elevation (did I mention I brought it with me? Just in case?  I did).

They sealed off the road!! The A400 that runs past Trafalgar Square was BLOCKED TO TRAFFIC!! This is the view to my right (none of these people are inside with the crowds in Trafalgar Square - but some do have views of the giant TV screen. And I? Happened to have brought a step-stool with me for elevation (did I mention I brought it with me? Just in case?  I did).

Some people have the shoulders of boyfriends, an advantage I do not possess, however this is my view of the stage. 50 meters I'd estimate. And it's stopped raining!

Some people have the shoulders of boyfriends, an advantage I do not possess, however this is my view of the stage. 50 meters I'd estimate. And it's stopped raining!

And at least some people are keeping a sense of humour about it all!

And at least some people are keeping a sense of humour about it all!

So... here's what a 200mm maximum zoom and 1.5 crop factor can provide, when added to a more or less unobstructed and slightly elevate position. This is quite literally the biggest Get Out Of Jail Free Card ever. Back at the office, an out-o-town business meeting I managed to avoid has moved on to a nearby pub/restaurant, and I don't care. Because here's Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley!

So... here's what a 200mm maximum zoom and 1.5 crop factor can provide, when added to a more or less unobstructed and slightly elevate position. This is quite literally the biggest Get Out Of Jail Free Card ever. Back at the office, an out-o-town business meeting I managed to avoid has moved on to a nearby pub/restaurant, and I don't care. Because here's Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley!

Forecasts were for rain, so the spotlights were covered in plastic, which meant all manner of weird lighting effects with flashes bouncing off them and blocking off views of the stars. Personally, I hate any even that falls so in love with a contingency that they roll it out even when it's no longer required.... but again. I've just gotten out of (metaphorical) jail, so my hatred is kind of just observational.

Forecasts were for rain, so the spotlights were covered in plastic, which meant all manner of weird lighting effects with flashes bouncing off them and blocking off views of the stars. Personally, I hate any even that falls so in love with a contingency that they roll it out even when it's no longer required.... but again. I've just gotten out of (metaphorical) jail, so my hatred is kind of just observational.

Matthew Lewis is Neville Longbottom. For those who didn't read the book, for one tantalising section in one of the book there was an inkling - just an _inkling_ of a hint that it was possible the prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort was actually between NEVILLE and Voldemort. But it wasn't.

Matthew Lewis is Neville Longbottom. For those who didn't read the book, for one tantalising section in one of the book there was an inkling - just an _inkling_ of a hint that it was possible the prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort was actually between NEVILLE and Voldemort. But it wasn't.

Others without a means of elevation above the 2m (ish) high grey fencing were trying to mount and rest themselves or their cameras above the top...

Others without a means of elevation above the 2m (ish) high grey fencing were trying to mount and rest themselves or their cameras above the top...

 but security were having none of that. My observation : they say that if you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. And if you teach them how fish, to then you feed them for a lifetime. ....But if you give a person a high-viz flouro vest and a sprinkling of authority for an afternoon, you create an egomaniacal a55hole.

 but security were having none of that. My observation : they say that if you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. And if you teach them how fish, to then you feed them for a lifetime. ....But if you give a person a high-viz flouro vest and a sprinkling of authority for an afternoon, you create an egomaniacal a55hole.

Sigh. I'm torn between my hatred for egomaniacal assholes and my disdain/pity for people who think holding up an iPad for a 50m photo in 2011 is a good idea. I mean, I'm sure in the future you can buy plutonium at every corner drugstore and iPads have Gigapixel sensors, 1000mm optical zooms and satelliite assisted gyroscopic stabilisation, but in the present day they're just a futile nuisance.

Sigh. I'm torn between my hatred for egomaniacal assholes and my disdain/pity for people who think holding up an iPad for a 50m photo in 2011 is a good idea. I mean, I'm sure in the future you can buy plutonium at every corner drugstore and iPads have Gigapixel sensors, 1000mm optical zooms and satelliite assisted gyroscopic stabilisation, but in the present day they're just a futile nuisance.

Meanwhile, on a totally different tack, here's Draco Malfoy! He seems nice. I always felt Slitherin gets a bad rap, but if nothing else : they love (some) animals.

Meanwhile, on a totally different tack, here's Draco Malfoy! He seems nice. I always felt Slitherin gets a bad rap, but if nothing else : they love (some) animals.

And here's Dumbledore (aka Michael Gambon) the late headmaster Draco was complicit of murdering in part 6 (Oh, I'm sorry, you haven't watched the movies?....)

And here's Dumbledore (aka Michael Gambon) the late headmaster Draco was complicit of murdering in part 6 (Oh, I'm sorry, you haven't watched the movies?....)

It's more Dumbledore! I've done some screenwriting and I know how the adaptation process works and I know you have to remove stuff from the book so you can fit it into a motion picture runtime, but I would *NEVER, EVER, EVER* have cut the scene from the book where Dumbledore confronts Harry's vile aunt, uncle and cousin about how they treated Harry all those years. Best scene in the book it appeared in... never even referenced in the film. Gah.

It's more Dumbledore! I've done some screenwriting and I know how the adaptation process works and I know you have to remove stuff from the book so you can fit it into a motion picture runtime, but I would *NEVER, EVER, EVER* have cut the scene from the book where Dumbledore confronts Harry's vile aunt, uncle and cousin about how they treated Harry all those years. Best scene in the book it appeared in... never even referenced in the film. Gah.

Here's an ultra-long range shot of the actress who plays Luna Lovegood (she didn't go on the main stage, and neither did the Weasely Twins, MacGonnagall, Voldemort, the late Cedric Diggory, Ginny or Hagrid. I'm going to have to look through my 1800-odd shots and see if they're in the background anywhere...)

Here's an ultra-long range shot of the actress who plays Luna Lovegood (she didn't go on the main stage, and neither did the Weasely Twins, MacGonnagall, Voldemort, the late Cedric Diggory, Ginny or Hagrid. I'm going to have to look through my 1800-odd shots and see if they're in the background anywhere...)

.... Neville Longbottom (aka Matthew Lewis) returns to the stage to take a shot of the crowd with his iPhone (who wouldn't??).

.... Neville Longbottom (aka Matthew Lewis) returns to the stage to take a shot of the crowd with his iPhone (who wouldn't??).

I later found out this is the actress who plays Mrs Weasley, Julie Walters (the staggering number of photos I took at this premiere is unlikely to ever be beaten... and the amount of time it took to go through it and cull / arrange / edit them neither!)

I later found out this is the actress who plays Mrs Weasley, Julie Walters (the staggering number of photos I took at this premiere is unlikely to ever be beaten... and the amount of time it took to go through it and cull / arrange / edit them neither!)

It's Professor Slughorn!! (it's like EVERYONE'S here and this premiere is a really, really REALLY big deal!) (I just want to reiterate, Trafalgar Square and the surrounding streets are PACKED, the top near the Museum is PACKED, and the red carpet continues to Leicester Square where it bifurcates to two SEPARATE cinemas).

It's Professor Slughorn!! (it's like EVERYONE'S here and this premiere is a really, really REALLY big deal!) (I just want to reiterate, Trafalgar Square and the surrounding streets are PACKED, the top near the Museum is PACKED, and the red carpet continues to Leicester Square where it bifurcates to two SEPARATE cinemas).

I'll be honest, I had to check online to figure out who this actress plays : it's Narcissa Malfoy - Draco's Mum. She's Helen McCrory. (The three Malfoys - Lucius, Narcissa and Draco were at the Apple store yesterday, ostensible to be interviewed as part of an Event.... though I would've checked the stock levels and inventory afterwards)

I'll be honest, I had to check online to figure out who this actress plays : it's Narcissa Malfoy - Draco's Mum. She's Helen McCrory. (The three Malfoys - Lucius, Narcissa and Draco were at the Apple store yesterday, ostensible to be interviewed as part of an Event.... though I would've checked the stock levels and inventory afterwards)

Still not sure. Mundungus? Another one of the Weasleys? A fan who got past the security detail? (Why didn't I think of that... I ''m a deadringer for the grownup version of one of those Ravnclaw Kids in the background of one of the scenes in the third film) (or was it the fourth film?)

Still not sure. Mundungus? Another one of the Weasleys? A fan who got past the security detail? (Why didn't I think of that... I ''m a deadringer for the grownup version of one of those Ravnclaw Kids in the background of one of the scenes in the third film) (or was it the fourth film?)

This is Director David Yates (he directed movies 5,6,7a and 7b in the series. A look back at his other work raises the question... and I suppose it must be asked... how the hell did he score this directing gig??? His filmography is the equivalent of directing a disgusting muppets film, a weird ghost comedy with Michael J Fox and then being handed the reins of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. (Oh, wait... that actually happened.)

This is Director David Yates (he directed movies 5,6,7a and 7b in the series. A look back at his other work raises the question... and I suppose it must be asked... how the hell did he score this directing gig??? His filmography is the equivalent of directing a disgusting muppets film, a weird ghost comedy with Michael J Fox and then being handed the reins of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. (Oh, wait... that actually happened.)

"Dude, what could possibly be happening in the background that's more important than the interview I'm having with you right now??" I wonder.

"Dude, what could possibly be happening in the background that's more important than the interview I'm having with you right now??" I wonder.

Is this Professor Flitwick the music teacher? Bah, forget that, he was WICKET THE EWOK in Return of the Jedi!!! (and I think he was Willow on the film "Willow")

Is this Professor Flitwick the music teacher? Bah, forget that, he was WICKET THE EWOK in Return of the Jedi!!! (and I think he was Willow on the film "Willow")

Another shot of Professor Flitwick 'cause he's cool. Further investigation of the background of about 1700 shots revealed a lot of stars I'd originally not known I'd photographed. Sadly, John Hurt still slipped me by.

Another shot of Professor Flitwick 'cause he's cool. Further investigation of the background of about 1700 shots revealed a lot of stars I'd originally not known I'd photographed. Sadly, John Hurt still slipped me by.

For instance, I believe this might actually be fashion designer Anna Wintour.

For instance, I believe this might actually be fashion designer Anna Wintour.

The feeling of cold dread you're having when looking at this photo is Lord Voldemort in the background, looking quite dapper and normally-nosed in his business suit.

The feeling of cold dread you're having when looking at this photo is Lord Voldemort in the background, looking quite dapper and normally-nosed in his business suit.

He Who Must Not Be Named Must Also Not Be Allowed To Be Interviewed On The Main Stage, Apparently.

He Who Must Not Be Named Must Also Not Be Allowed To Be Interviewed On The Main Stage, Apparently.

Spotted : Ginny Weasley (aka : Bonnie Wright)!

Spotted : Ginny Weasley (aka : Bonnie Wright)!

Spotted : Clemence Poesy (ak : Fleur Delacour)!

Spotted : Clemence Poesy (ak : Fleur Delacour)!

Spotted : one (or both!) of the Weasley Twins!

Spotted : one (or both!) of the Weasley Twins!

Emma Watson / Hermione Granger takes to the stage and realises that this is not so much a small intimate premiere as it is a national gathering. (And it seems Hedwig's feathers ultimately proved to be useful for something...?)

Emma Watson / Hermione Granger takes to the stage and realises that this is not so much a small intimate premiere as it is a national gathering. (And it seems Hedwig's feathers ultimately proved to be useful for something...?)

"If y'all make an orderly line, everyone can see how awesome it looks from up here. It'll take days, but clearly you guys don't mind that kind of timeframe..."

"If y'all make an orderly line, everyone can see how awesome it looks from up here. It'll take days, but clearly you guys don't mind that kind of timeframe..."

A long range shot to frame in the Hermione poster. (I try)

A long range shot to frame in the Hermione poster. (I try)

Woohoo! awesomely, I DID get a shot of McGonagall after all! (it was the lack of a black hat that obscured her I suppose). Incidentally, in an acting career spanning something like six DECADES, Maggie Smith has won two Academy Awards and SIX BAFTAS for acting. Woah. (I discovered this shot days later while having one last trawl through my shots)

Woohoo! awesomely, I DID get a shot of McGonagall after all! (it was the lack of a black hat that obscured her I suppose). Incidentally, in an acting career spanning something like six DECADES, Maggie Smith has won two Academy Awards and SIX BAFTAS for acting. Woah. (I discovered this shot days later while having one last trawl through my shots)

"Right, so now that these are over I'll just be able to walk down a street without being harrassed?" "No." "But if I change the dress...?"

"Right, so now that these are over I'll just be able to walk down a street without being harrassed?"
"No."
"But if I change the dress...?"

"We can get you some KFC delivered to the cinema if you want?"

"We can get you some KFC delivered to the cinema if you want?"

Eeeek! It's Umbridge!! Genuinely, the idea that one of the most singularly vile character in the series is almost literally doing nothing but following the orders of her seniors is a stroke of genius from J K Rowling.

Eeeek! It's Umbridge!! Genuinely, the idea that one of the most singularly vile character in the series is almost literally doing nothing but following the orders of her seniors is a stroke of genius from J K Rowling.

"I'm just going to be Only Following Orders over on the other side of the Square if you need me"

"I'm just going to be Only Following Orders over on the other side of the Square if you need me"

Bellatrix Lestrange aka Helena Bonham Carter joins proceedings. The hat kind of has to compensate for the crazy the character usually displays that would otherwise be inappropriate premiere behaviour.

Bellatrix Lestrange aka Helena Bonham Carter joins proceedings. The hat kind of has to compensate for the crazy the character usually displays that would otherwise be inappropriate premiere behaviour.

I like to think she was wearing an Adidas tracksuit design under that, for comfort. But I suspect not.

I like to think she was wearing an Adidas tracksuit design under that, for comfort. But I suspect not.

Meanwhile, on MY side of the 'talent moat / barricade'.... I see ...

Meanwhile, on MY side of the 'talent moat / barricade'.... I see ...

Me, 2011 : So I guess this is the dude who plays Lupin? (Me, 2014 : Yes, it's David Thewlis)

Me, 2011 : So I guess this is the dude who plays Lupin? (Me, 2014 : Yes, it's David Thewlis)

Me, 2011 : Ron Weasley's Dad, I guess? (me : 2014, I've got nothin')

Me, 2011 : Ron Weasley's Dad, I guess? (me : 2014, I've got nothin')

It's Tonks!! (I don't care how grainy, how long range, how image-un-stabilised this shot...or any of these shots are!)

It's Tonks!! (I don't care how grainy, how long range, how image-un-stabilised this shot...or any of these shots are!)

It's Hagrid!! (I don't care how blurry, badly focused or clean-shaven any of these shots or people are!!!)

It's Hagrid!! (I don't care how blurry, badly focused or clean-shaven any of these shots or people are!!!)

Meanwhile, on the main stage : Eeee! It's PROFESSOR SNAPE!! (but what... no greasy black hair, cloak and scowl? I feel strangely let down by this....)

Meanwhile, on the main stage : Eeee! It's PROFESSOR SNAPE!! (but what... no greasy black hair, cloak and scowl? I feel strangely let down by this....)

I get the feeling if Alan Rickmanthink had simply grabbed the microphone and told all the fans they were insufferably arrogant and talentless, the crowd would have cheered him staying in character more than they might have been insulted.

I get the feeling if Alan Rickmanthink had simply grabbed the microphone and told all the fans they were insufferably arrogant and talentless, the crowd would have cheered him staying in character more than they might have been insulted.

The longest range shot of Harry I (or anyone not on the International Space Station) could get. The arc that took in signing autographs and posing for photos meant it was still probably another ten minutes before he went onstage. I'm pretty impressed the camera could take that shot. I think even the Hubble telescope might have been struggling.

The longest range shot of Harry I (or anyone not on the International Space Station) could get. The arc that took in signing autographs and posing for photos meant it was still probably another ten minutes before he went onstage. I'm pretty impressed the camera could take that shot. I think even the Hubble telescope might have been struggling.

It's Harry!! The cheer was kind of massive from the massive crowd.

It's Harry!! The cheer was kind of massive from the massive crowd.

"Am I sad that it's all over?? Right now, not so much, actually!!"

"Am I sad that it's all over?? Right now, not so much, actually!!"

It's Harry's Mom! (So to speak..) I's author JK Rowling of course. Interesting rumour : she decided to go with "J K" rather than her name because it was figured more boys would read the books if they didn't know they were written by a woman.

It's Harry's Mom! (So to speak..) I's author JK Rowling of course. Interesting rumour : she decided to go with "J K" rather than her name because it was figured more boys would read the books if they didn't know they were written by a woman.

"Could you please act a little more sad?" JK Rowling joins Daniel Radcliff on stage for the last interview. I probably should go online and find out what they actually said : from where I was I didn't hear a word...

"Could you please act a little more sad?" JK Rowling joins Daniel Radcliff on stage for the last interview. I probably should go online and find out what they actually said : from where I was I didn't hear a word...

And then it's Goodbye! (bearing in mind they still have probably about 800m of walking to do, past fans and security and the queue to the popcorn stands...)

And then it's Goodbye! (bearing in mind they still have probably about 800m of walking to do, past fans and security and the queue to the popcorn stands...)

So... that's a GARGANTUAN entry into "The Archive of Movie Premieres"

As for the movie and its ultimate conclusion? In spite of everything, after 6.5 movies AND despite reading the book, my money's still on the bad guy to win this. Because if history has shown us one thing, it's that if you kill one person you go to jail, ten people you go to an asylum, but once it's above a certain level you'll generally be able to smuggle a massive amount of wealth to a nonextradition country and live our your days sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent.

Until Next time?

By the way, if you ever want to know when I post one of these journals feel free to follow me on twitter @berndt2_photo or on facebook at premieresdotco.