Moon Knight’s Trippy Mirror Effects Explained By Marvel VFX Artist

Joe Farrell, a visual effects artist who has worked in the MCU, explains how he thinks some of Moon Knight’s trippy mirror shots were filmed.

Joe Farrell, Visual Effects Supervisor at Marvel, explains how he thinks the moon knight VFX artists made delicate mirror shot. Created by Jeremy Slater for Disney+, moon knight centers on a man with dissociative identity disorder played by Oscar Isaac who faces mysteries regarding his own life and the Egyptian gods. Since moon knight involves an abundance of many magical elements, the show, like most MCU projects, heavily features computer graphics.

The VFX team on moon knight uses a combination of practical effects and CG for the show’s visual language. There are many effective uses of CG in moon knight, but some fans have criticized the series for having visibly clunky or poorly rendered effects, especially during fight scenes. Despite these criticisms, the VFX team still managed some very delicate visuals. When Marc or Steven (two identities represented by Isaac) control their bodies, the other communicates with them through reflections. So there must be many shots of Isaac giving two different performances in the same shot.


Related: Why Moon Knight’s CG Is Much Worse Than Other MCU Shows

Farrell, a Marvel VFX artist known for his work on Shang Chifigure in a Corridor Crew YouTube video in which he explains how one of the effects of moon knight has been accomplished. The scene Farrell breaks down involves a surreal mirror effect in which Isaac as Steven stares into a reflective bus window while his reflection (Marc) moves independently of him. Farrell explains that while mirror effects are common and relatively easy to achieve through layering footage, this shot was much more difficult than most because it involved the camera moving through space, so the filmmakers had to had to figure out how to maintain the effect in a non-static shot.

According to Farrell, the crew likely filmed Isaac’s unreflected performance as Steven first on a bus on set, however, Isaac wasn’t actually looking through a window pane but through a blank panel instead. Then they shot Isaac as Marc on a plain black Duvetyne (a fabric used for similar purposes to a green screen) and calculated where exactly the camera angle and movement would need to be to match the foreground. In order to maintain a focused shot, the cameramen had to calculate not the distance between the camera and Isaac himself, but the distance between Isaac and where the “glass” would be. Then the shots were layered in the same way as traditional mirror shots, and the background “reflections” were digitally added later.

While Farrell himself did not work on moon knight, his extensive experience creating similar types of effects means he’s well versed in how these types of shots are created in MCU movies. Farrell points out that the scene with the bus probably involved techniques very similar to the famous Shang Chi bus scene, which he worked on. While it’s still in the air if there will be a moon knight hopefully season 2 if renewed there will be more scenes like this where the graphics seamlessly add to the story.

Next: Moon Knight’s Marc Spector & Quirks Explained

Source: Hallway Crew/YouTube

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