January 1, 2015 at 12:27PM, Edited June 22, 2:27PM

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Removing the camera from a mirror scene

I have been noticing recently the technique of shooting a scene with some actors in front of a mirror and the camera also being clearly in front of the mirror, however it's not reflected in the mirror. I'm thinking of films such as The World's End, Benjamin Button and most recently Birdman. So I was wondering how is this effect done? Digitally masking the camera out or what? Thanks!

9 Comments

YouTube : How to film in front of a mirror without showing the camera!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ6gk1xWl78

January 3, 2015 at 11:12AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32165

thank you!

Daniel Blumensev

January 10, 2015 at 1:18PM

The YouTube video linked above provides a really good, cheap DIY solution for this problem. But in the case of the films that you mentioned that feature a roving hand held camera moving around and behind actors standing in front of mirrors, the only way they do it is by going in frame-by-frame and digitally painting the cameraman out of the shots. There's no real "trick" to it other than paying a VFX person or company to do the work!

January 5, 2015 at 3:11PM

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Oren Soffer
Director of Photography
1998

Thanks man! That's what I thought

Daniel Blumensev

January 10, 2015 at 1:18PM

Other think is putting inside mirror a green paper and then shoot the "mirror image" is easy to do.

January 22, 2015 at 6:33AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7593

Raguel, could you please elaborate on your suggestion to this issue. I'm really interested. Thanks a lot in advance.

Emeka Akwuobi

January 16, 2016 at 6:15AM

Where possible, you can do the effect practically. Use glass instead of a mirror, and shoot from the other side. If you're using the space outside the mirror, you'll need to build a fake wall on the "wrong" side of the glass.

If your shot is a lock-off, you're probably best off shooting the inside-the-mirror stuff without a mirror, and then shooting the outside of the mirror stuff, and compositing them. In theory, you could do this without much effort with a motion control rig, as well.

January 24, 2016 at 6:22PM

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Jon Kline
Director of Photography
133

This same mirror issue bothered me so much in the cinematography of "Suits" that I had to email Dan Stollof the Director of Photographer. And he told me the glasses were gimbled so that the reflections of the camera and crew were angled and will not be visible on the glass.

I don't know if the same technique will work for mirrors though. Just thought to share.

February 26, 2016 at 3:18PM

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There are many techniques; green screen, angling the mirror, faking the mirror, painting out the camera in post... Each shot is a separate challenge and you have to be creative. But for most solutions, minimizing the camera's profile is the best place to start. Make it as small as possible and you may be able to angle it out and save on post processing.

March 21, 2016 at 11:29PM, Edited March 21, 11:30PM

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A J Dimaculangan
Producer/Writer/Director
1

the mirror scene, and there are many, one trick was the camera came in through the door and followed Michael Keaton as he sat down in front of the mirror, the camera came in facing the left side of the actor. As the camera passed behind his entire head filled the frame. That is where the made the cut then turned the camera looking at the right side of his face so there is a moment when the frame is blacked out. I noticed a lot of this in Birdman, and this is where they would cut the scenes. It was filmed at the St James but only the Stage and backstage. Everything else was contructed and built across the pond in Queens at another soundstage. The Art Director did a remarkable job making these sets look old with half ass renovations done over the years. I have watched the movie 5 times already, they are constantly showing it on Cinemax.

May 17, 2016 at 7:45PM

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