I look at the man in the mirror.
One of the images that always makes me smile in film is when you see captivating uses of mirror shots. Whether it’s that medicine cabinet Contact or the work that Edgar Wright did with doubles in Last night in Sohothe mirror shots never cease to amaze me.
We get messages all the time asking us to describe how these people shoot them, and now we’re more excited than ever to break it down for you. Watch this Insider video and let’s talk about it afterwards.
How do they shoot mirror scenes in movies and TV?
Have you ever tried to hide an entire film crew in a mirror? It’s a bit of a challenge. Regardless of the size of your production, mirrored shots in film are particularly difficult. Hollywood has plenty of visual tricks to avoid catching a reflection and to help you stay in the mood of the movie, while showing clever trickery.
So how are all these shots made? The answer is in different ways, depending on production, time period, and access to CGI. Or even the desire to do practically everything.
movies like The Lady from Shanghai and It: Chapter 2 used one-way mirrors to make these photos. This means shooting through one side of a mirror and capturing the reflection on the other side, as shown in the video above.
But there are plenty of other choices you can make. Terminator 2: Judgment Day didn’t use a mirror at all. According to legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton stood to one side of an open frame watching in a double set with body doubles mimicking their every move. The Hamilton lookalike was actually his twin sister! So with an idea like this, you’re just taking clever angles that never let anyone’s face be seen, and then using both actors for coverage and close-ups. That’s pretty smart!
Of course, CGI helps a lot in modern cinema.
Better visual effects on movies like birdman Take real mirror shots, then easily erase the camera later. It looks a bit like cheating, but if you have the time and money, it requires a lot less staging. Finally, for Last night in Soho, Edgar Wright used a combination of all of these techniques, so that Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy could mirror each other’s movements. He wove different angles, two-sided mirrors, and used each actor to play each other as his double to fit into the story.
What are your favorite mirror photos? And what strategies did you use to bring them down?
Let us know in the comments.