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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to do this impossible mirror shot

One of the most difficult aspects of shooting POV is when the subject looks in the mirror. This is a big issue with my all-POV feature film in pre-production; Friend Request.

Why is is tricky? Well, obviously the main character / actor has the camera rig on them. So when they look in the mirror, we see that rig. That kind of ruins the illusion!

The test shot above was done to explore one way to overcome that. Not too bad I think.

How is it done?

The classic way to achieve this is to build a set. In effect, the solution is that the mirror is a window. We didn't do that. While it would work for this one example, I need a solution that would work in shop windows, car mirrors etc. for the feature.

Instead this is a complex post-production method. It uses two shots. A main POV shot and a tripod mounted reverse. In post, the POV shot has a whole cut out of it, the same shape as the mirror. This mask / hole is kept in place despite the wobbles via the 3D motion tracking feature of After Effect CS6. The reverse shot is then placed behind the mirror, in the 3D space. Lastly, a layer that mimics the effect of glass was put in. This layer adds some dust and a bit of green (as glass does in real life) and is put where the glass would go. The hole by itself is too clean.

Job done. The hardest part was dealing with a heart shaped mirror. A square shape would be easier. But maybe less convincing because of that ease.

This shot is from a longer test short out soon called Everyone's Alright With This. Here is an interview about it...


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