January 6, 2017 at 7:00AM


How do they film the mirror scenes in movies?

It always makes me wonder how do they place the cameras and crew members while filming a scene which is opposite to a reflecting object, such as mirror. Because, when filming the reflected objects we should see the camera and cameraman because of their reflection. But this does not happen in the movies.

How do they film the scenes with an actor facing a mirror? Why don't we see the cameras and crew?

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They do not use a mirror.
They just set up a scene with a frame (as a mirror) and
all the props to look like it is a mirrored scene.

Watch this: https://vimeo.com/29477920

The actresses are behind that frame (playing the reflection),
and their doubles (you cannot see their actual faces, only their back)
are close to the camera.

The hard part is to sync the acting of actresses and their doubles. If you look closely, you will notice that they are not in sync. In the second part (when the camera passes the frame), there is a transistion to a another take (yes it is, just check the arm position of the actress with the short hair while passing the mirror). In this secondary take, the actresses sit in front of a true mirror. You can check this: the camera is not pointing to the mirror anymore so it is not visible.

This mirror scene in Sucker Punch looks nevertheless really brilliant.

January 7, 2017 at 1:33AM, Edited January 7, 1:53AM

Steadicam Operator/Owner

The way jeffery mentioned is one way (albiet, very difficult and rare) but for most films, it's usually a case of angles. If you use a tight lens, and have the actor turn in just a touch, you can get a near OTS shot, without seeing the camera in the reflection. This is as far as I know, the most common way to get a mirror shot without going overboard, since you rarely see a mirror shot directly behind an actor, or else they would cover their own face up. Once the shot is framed, everyone moves accordingly, and sometimes lighting/etc, is removed in post. And that brings up the second way: Remove it in post. You can paint out the camera from the shot, or anything that has to stay in for it. The third way is CG. In Divergent, they show a room completely covered in mirrors, so they used a green screen, had multiple cameras covering different angles, and added the room, and mirror in post. Here is the video of that: https://youtu.be/pBvAD_DCH0U?t=41m9s

January 19, 2017 at 12:20PM

Craig Douglas
Editor/ Videographer

I think that might be the case for the example above, especially as the shot goes through the mirror but I think there must be other ways too. There's a shot in this Sara Bareilles music video at 26 secs where it seems a steadicam walks behind her at the mirror (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53GIADHxVzM). I'm pretty sure it's not a double mimicking her movements but still don't know how the magic happens!?!

Edit: just found this thread that has more suggestions http://nofilmschool.com/boards/questions/removing-camera-mirror-scene

January 19, 2017 at 12:22PM, Edited January 19, 12:46PM


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