Cinematography For Directors [Ep 9 – The Mirror Trick!]

Cinematography For Directors [Ep 9 – The Mirror Trick!]

Cinematography For Directors is series of short videos dissecting the shot selection and framing used in nine specific scenes in the movie Drinking Games. HUGE thanks to Cinematographer Andrew “Tank” Rivara at and AC Chris Falkowski for making it all possible!

My hope is that the ideas expressed in the videos help your decision-making process on your next film. Remember, these are just ideas, a jumping off point, a way to start thinking about picking and framing shots. Hope it’s helpful!

***Ep 9 – The Mirror Trick!***
I discuss how and why we filmed into mirrors in many shots in the film Drinking Games, and some ways you can apply these specific techniques to your own projects! Full text below.

***About me***
I’m an independent producer/director with award-winning features distributed in theaters, online and internationally. When I have a new project, I do a lot of Q&A’s and with my new feature Drinking Games, I took a lot of questions about the cinematography and shot selection. I thought this type of breakdown would be helpful to other directors like you, so I put in video form. You can check out my films below, they’re all available on Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.

Drinking Games

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn

The Graduates

***Full Video Text***
Ok, this is a fun one. We’re constrained by the dorm room. It’s small, cramped. And we’re shooting on a big camera, the RED. So once we added the DP, AC and sound guy, the room was jammed.

Also, on a SET, you’re able to move a wall out of the way, if you want more room to shoot, like if you want the camera to be in the wall, looking out. Or in the floor, looking up, for instance.

So Tank and Chris decided to shoot into mirrors. You put the mirror on the ground or the wall. Think of it as the camera lens. Then you point the camera into the mirror.

Although the image is going to be flipped or reversed, you essentially have placed your camera into the wall or into the floor. Once you flip the image in FinalCut Pro or Premiere Pro, no one will ever know.

A super-cool side note is that if you let the mirror wobble just a bit- like if you hold it in your hands instead of laying it flat on the ground- you can achieve a really cool, slightly dizzying effect.

We use this effect here with Noopie, who has consumed a lot of cocaine and done a bunch of shots, and even drank roofies. He’s blasted. The effect even allows us to warp the dimensions of inanimate things, like the floor. As Noopie collapses to floor, we bring it up to meet him using the bend of the mirror.

From a story standpoint, it’s important at this stage in the film to show Noopie losing it, crossing over into incoherent cruelty, because we need to think he’s capable of anything.

From a production standpoint, we can solve a space issue AND build a creative enhancement using something as simple and cheap as a mirror. That’s indie filmmaking 101.

Hope this was helpful.

Post any questions in the comments or email me at
ryan at believeltd dot com