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In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Sirius Black appears in a fireplace to talk to Harry. It looks as if his head was made of embers:

Sirius Black's head made of embers

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Sirius Black appears in the same fireplace, once again to talk to Harry and his friends. The effect is very different, though, and his head now appears to be floating in the flames:

Sirius Black's head floating in the flames

Why were two different effects used for the very same spell?

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3  
Different directors I would guess. –  System Down Sep 12 '13 at 20:46
1  
Because previous one looks lame. –  Ankit Sharma Sep 12 '13 at 20:55
1  
Uh...maybe...because...it was a different movie? –  Napoleon Wilson Sep 12 '13 at 21:03
    
@AnkitSharma Yet I think the face made out of embers is a pretty cool idea (but I don't remember if it was well-made). –  Napoleon Wilson Sep 12 '13 at 21:04
2  
They probably used different carriers? –  Judy Sep 14 '13 at 16:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'd stick with what System Down wrote in the comments: different directors. I have at least two reasons for that.

First, there is no mention of the difference in the books. He always appears in the flame. Here is what it says in the "Goblet of Fire":

The room was in semidarkness; the flames were the only source of light. Nearby, on a table, the Support Cedric Diggory! badges the Creeveys had been trying to improve were glinting in the firelight. They now read POTTER REALLY STINKS. Harry looked back into the flames, and jumped. Sirius's head was sitting in the fire. If Harry hadn't seen Mr. Diggory do exactly this back in the Weasleys' kitchen, it would have scared him out of his wits.

So, there was a fire then, as it was in the "Order of the phoenix". The first time:

She gasped, gazing at the fire; Ron dropped his quill. There in the middle of the dancing flames sat Sirius's head, long dark hair falling around his grinning face.

And the second time:

Harry whipped round. Sirius' untidy dark head was sitting in the fire again.

My second reason is that this is not the only change. For example, the pensive started levitating between two movies:

The Pensive The Pensive

Also, professor Flitwick went under some serious (no pun intended :-)) plastic surgery:

Professor Flitwick Professor Flitwick

As did Tom (the barman from the Leaky Cauldron):

Tom Tom

Or Dobby, whose changes are a bit more subtle, but nevertheless they are there. Or Dumbledore, when the actor was changed in the third movie (tying his beard was, IMO, really an unnecessary change).

We could go on like this for quite a while, but I think you get my drift.

Oh, and by the way, I like the embers effect more, but the fiery one is more consistent with the book.

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On a side note, tying the beard made it more like book Dumbledore. –  System Down Sep 13 '13 at 3:45
    
@SystemDown I must have missed/forgot that detail. Can you please elaborate? –  Vedran Šego Sep 13 '13 at 9:31
    
In the first book I seem to recall him being described as tucking his beard into his belt. Or was that just the illustration? –  System Down Sep 13 '13 at 15:06
    
@SystemDown You are right: "Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt." However, I don't see how is this in line with tying the beard. It seems to me that he would either tuck it or tie it, so the two are opposite. –  Vedran Šego Sep 13 '13 at 15:11
    
It's the attitude. Gambon's hippie-go-lucky Dumbledore seems more like book Dumbledore than Harris's ancient-beyond-kin Dumbledore. At least he did to me. –  System Down Sep 13 '13 at 16:25

Because the medium is different.

It's clear that the spell used by Sirius Black is Floo Network's Head-only transport. But medium for both the istances are different. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Sirius Black talk's to harry there is only coal present in fire place. But in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , when serious talk to harry their is also fire flames there. So his appearance looks different all because of the condition of fire place.

This is not a canonical answer but my conclusion from watching the scene.

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Because the films had different directors who probably had different ideas for how the effect should look and/or be achieved.

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