08-18-2006, 08:02 AM
Hi everyone,

I received the following e-mail from a potential customer:

"I need a special effects mirror for a vampire's ball that has the illusion of no reflection."

I could recommend a Gorilla-Girl illusion (aka, Pepper's Ghost) but that effect would still cast a reflection and not really achieve the effect they want. Or, they could create an elaborate set where there is no actual mirror in the frame and design a secondary "room" on the other side of the frame that would be a "mirror image" of the main room.

Any suggestions?

Frighteners Entertainment
08-18-2006, 09:07 AM
This will be an interesting thread to watch for ideas!
Sorry I can't help you :(

08-18-2006, 09:19 AM
I just received another e-mail from my potential customer with the following:

"This is for a sophisticated Halloween party with a vampire theme. In the venue, there exists a wall with 6 mirrors with arc like frames. We want to build no-reflection mirrors to replace every other mirror along this wall."

If this were presented either on a stage or in a small room in a haunted house I know of a method that could work. But this would require strict control over those who are viewing the effect. Instead, tey are talking about staging this in an area where people are walking around the room at a party.

Any suggestions?

08-18-2006, 09:52 AM
ehhh uhhhhhh ummmmm
super hi res photos taken from perspective of "mirror"

That would be my guess. Are they also wanting elphants and dancing bears on cue lead by Elvis while you are at it?

08-18-2006, 10:20 AM
A high-resolution photograph was one of the first things that I thought of as well.... but VERY expensive! But there will be people walking all around the room during the party so the vampires would not be the only ones without a reflection. :D

08-18-2006, 11:35 AM
I am by no means technically inclined, but could you do something with a video recording of the room pre-party (i.e. decorated the same as when the party is taking place) and maybe cover the existing mirrors with something, then project the visual onto them on a looped feed?

Just a thought...most likely not a good one. LOL.

08-18-2006, 12:59 PM
A high-resolution photograph was one of the first things that I thought of as well.... but VERY expensive! But there will be people walking all around the room during the party so the vampires would not be the only ones without a reflection. :D
Hmmm so you wanting only "select" people to not reflect.

SOOOOO do the bears have top hats and canes?

08-18-2006, 02:42 PM
Yeah, I'm afraid that you're talking about something that, at the very least, would be outrageously expensive and probably even then not be possible. To reflect some people and not others would be to actually create a mirror that is actually magical. I don't mean to be overly skeptical, but I just don't see how you could pull that off. If they would allow you to only reflect the room and none of the people...I think the projected image of the room pre-party would be a really good solution to the problem. Good luck and if you actually come up with a way to pull this off I bow to your superior special effects abilities.

08-18-2006, 03:13 PM
Actually, there are a few ways (in the magic profession) whereby I could simulate exactly what they want, only in this particular venue with people walking around the room the effects that I am thinking about would simply not work.

The effects that I have in mind would only work in a small area such as a typical room within a haunted house or on a stage whereby the audience can only look at what's going on from a "controlled" perspective. There are variations of the Pepper's Ghost illusion (aka, Gorilla Girl, Blue Room, etc.) that might work, but they, too, will not be cheap!

Although the projected image is a good idea, it would not work in this venue either since only those portraying the parts of the vampires would not cast a reflection and since everyone at the party would be passing by the mirrored area then they, too, would not cast a reflection.

OK, let's keep thinking.... There has got to be a way to do this!

Duke of Darkness
08-18-2006, 03:55 PM
Hey Roy,

The problem here is not only cost, and the size of the
room, but the fact that in a party environment it would
have to hold up to more than casual scrutiny. The easiest
way to pull this off (as I am sure from your previous posts
you already know) is to put clear glass in the frame and
duplicate the room behind the glass. With the proper
lighting, the viewer disappears (or, with a slight change
in lighting, becomes spectral). This method, of course,
does not reflect anyone, and would probably not be
very effective in the environment you are describing.

You are asking for the holy grail, and if anyone has
any ideas, I would love to hear them.


08-18-2006, 03:59 PM
Ok, I was discussing this with someone at my day job - trying to go into details of what has already been mentioned here (and getting a blank stare back in my direction), and they simply said that the cheapest way to take care of the problem would be to cover the mirrors altogether, as though the vampires didn't want to give themselves away.

Of course, it takes the magic and effect away, but I suppose that it does solve the problem.

Leave it to a non-haunter to keep it simple. LOL.

08-18-2006, 04:14 PM
Sadly, people always want Haunters to figure out a way to make Expencive Movie tricks work in real life. Selective people not seen? Totally impossible. Building a duplicate room would be the only way to get the effect desired, and that would just 'reflect' nothing.l

Sorry Kiddo!

08-18-2006, 04:37 PM
I, too, have thought about the duplicate room idea, but then again, everyone's reflection would not be seen. For this effect to be achieved properly, those who want to stage this effect are going to have to control their guests somehow so that only their vampire characters walk in front of the frame. But considering the manner that the "mirrors" are positioned (one right after the other) this is going to be next to impossible.

08-18-2006, 06:06 PM
Woa, man your going to make my head explode. I think this person may have seen this done in the movies and does not realize that its not a mirror effect but that what they are seeing is done post production. I do not see how you can pull this off without everyone in the room being in on it but, if there is away then someone on this board is sure to come up with it and then the rest of us can ste....barrow it. :lol:

08-18-2006, 06:41 PM
I don't know if any of you remember, but in the movie Poltergeist III there was some incredible work done with mirrors and actor doubles as they walked down the hallway of the high rise apartment not casting any reflection. Awful movie but these effects were truly outstanding that I have yet to see in any movie since.

08-18-2006, 11:19 PM
Two things.. first... have you posted this out to the FX lab Site? http://www.theeffectslab.com/forums/index.php There are a ton of people on there with a huge range of SPFX experience.

Second, if this were me... and I did not have to reflect an object in the mirror, had time, and more money than I have..... Here would be my thought to try....... I would build a series of ornate alcoves with mirrors in them. Each alcove would be an individual floor to ceiling length mirror, say 7.5 or 8 foot. They would not touch each other but the frames would. You would build them so they have something out in front of each of them, like a pillar or post or something. In front of that would be a coffin, or more sculpted marble looking parts of the arches. The though being that you place one of the super small security cameras with a wide lens into the pillar, focus it so it is actually zooming in a bit, it picks up the movement of the people in front of it, you project that onto a haze piece of glass (around the outside) that is your mirror. You could have an area that allowed the people in the back to walk around and be reflected but those in front of the mirror would not be. You would have to use it in such a way that your vampire didn't walk in front of a camera. And this would be really expensive... and might not work at all... since I have never done anything close to this. But you could test it with say your own camera and a projector and see if you can actually make it work....... Honestly it seems really complicate and way too expensive for the overall effect it would provide. But while building tonight this was the brain dump on the thought...... here is a quick diagram .....

M1 :arrow: Reflection area 1
M2 :arrow: Reflection area 2
M3 :arrow: Reflection area 3
M4 :arrow: Reflection area 4

BTW, if someone actually knows a way to do this that isn't so darn complicate I would love to learn it.

Jim Warfield
08-19-2006, 12:15 AM
Some Japanese inventor a few years ago made a coat that had numerous little video cameras all over it putting the images onto the back of the coat , showing what was in front of the coat, making an almost invisibility coat.
Anybody else remember this?
Highland College had alot of trouble taking my I.D. photo, everyone else's picture ahead and behind me came out perfect (as "perfect" as genetically allowable, that is)
We stood in a long line, waiting our turns, sat in a chair, "Flash!", Stand around and wait maybe 4 minutes and the picture came out of the machine, got put into heat-shrink and you were done and out the door. Not me. All black!
"Get back in line, try it again."
I did, second try came out all black.
(all the other student's pictures were coming out just fine who were sitting there before and after my turn)
By the third time and another all black picture they were getting worried!
Finally a picture of me came out ok! Hurray! Not a Vampire afterall, call the priest back, cancel the garlic shipment from the market.
This whole little photo shoot was taking place a few minutes after my wife had told me that she wanted a divorce. Tell me again how the mind can't really influence the physical body or it's surroundings.
That must have been one great big overpowering black aura!

08-27-2006, 10:22 PM
I'm real new around here (reading the forum for the first time tonight), but I'll jump right in on this. Going back to the suggestion of video cameras projecting on the mirror, what if the camera were running during the party and a previous video, or even stills, were taken before the party. If the vampires are all wearing the same color, including makeup, could you pull them out of the projected image using a chroma key?

No idea if it can be achieved practically, but it would allow some people to be reflected while others aren't.[/img]

09-12-2006, 03:17 PM
I would build a duplicate room (make both rooms small so you don't waste too much space) with a small or medium 2-way wall mirror between the two rooms and the ability to independently control the lighting in both rooms. When the guests first come into the regular room, the lights are on in the room they are standing, but off in the duplicate room. The mirror looks like any other mirror and they see their own reflections. Have the lights flicker then kill them for a few moments... then bring them back on, but this time also bring the lights in the duplicate room on. Now their reflections are just barely visible or not at all. Dang that would be cool!

Of course this doesn't solve the problem of making just some people reflect. I won't try to tackle that one.

09-14-2006, 10:17 AM
I think about the only practical option is mirrors too dirty to see anything and a sign saying "Good Cleaning Service Wanted"...

04-09-2010, 11:10 PM
I'm just curious if anybody has yet figured out a way to do this.

04-09-2010, 11:23 PM
Green screen, put them anywhere.

04-10-2010, 06:46 AM
Maybe a twist on that invisible coat idea, but would be tough for the actor to execute. I was thinking maybe some kind of mirror at the actor's back, or the back half of their costume mirrored. Would be tough to execute and be perfect, but might get somewhat of the desired result.

Which that gave me another interesting idea...what about a wall or hall of mirrors with someone in a mirrored suit (made of something like space blanket). If it looked too unnatural, add some of the same material the suit is made of here and there on the walls. As long as the lighting were done creatively...it could be like the classic dot room effect but another twist on it?

an idea to work on if nothing else..

Mike "Pogo" Hach

04-10-2010, 02:06 PM
Sounds like someone has been watching too many movies. Do they realize that when things like this happen in movies you are only looking at it from one (the camera's) angle? And as you see different shots in a single scene, the camera stops and everything is moved.

Sounds like it would be an amazingly cool effect, but probably impossible and unbelievable expensive either way.

Edited to add: Sorry, I didn't realize how old this thread was. I'm sure by now that the people that wanted this done by the original poster realize how ridiculous it was that they even asked.

04-10-2010, 10:39 PM
Just use real vampires!

04-11-2010, 11:03 AM
Projected or peopers ghost are only 2 ways I can think of/ you can build the mirrors into a decorative box to make it look like an amoire and do rear projection to it or set up a mini set of the outside and do peopers ghost. not sure how you would enlarge the mini set.

04-11-2010, 11:20 AM
Errrr... it just so happens that I am in possession of exactly such magic mirror. Very sophisticated and I should point out that it utilizes "alien technology". As you might imagine, the government is after me because they want my magic mirror for evil military purposes, so we have to keep this all kind of on the down low.

That said, there are some abandoned building I know of, we can meet there, you pay me $10,000 dollars and I give you a map indicating the location of the magic mirror.

Take it or leave it.

Matt Marich
04-11-2010, 05:23 PM
You can do this but every person won't reflect in the mirror, er, everyone's a Vampire. You use plexiglass instead of a mirror, dull the plexi so nothing reflects. put it on a set wall, in a small room, behind the mirror, build an exact replica room, get it? You can also emulate the ceiling behind this facade. if you feel confident, you can eliminate the plexi and just go for a full opening. With the right light levels, in a good dark corner, this effect can be amazing.

Steve Kopelman did a version of this at Alice Cooper's Haunt in Phoenix, the results were flawless. They had a girl pop out from behind and to the side of the mirror. His mirror was above a large fireplace mantle. They had every detail replicated, including a duplicate chandelier.

Now, i'm thinking you could simply project a still image behind the mirror instead of having to go to great cost in buying two of everything, Kip are you there on this one?

And now the cogs are turning, slowly...


04-11-2010, 08:01 PM
Yeah, the projected image is easier...but you lose the "depth". Using an actual 3D set makes the illusion totally real. An image wouldn't look right as you viewed it from different angles. Still...I see possibilites...

Jim Warfield
04-11-2010, 09:44 PM
From the top , tip it back, then only allow the person who needs to be reflected close to it to get their reflection picked up whereas the people further away won't get reflected from a distance.
Maybe a sheet of plexiglass could be mounted infront of the tipped back mirror to maintain the illusion of a flat surfaced mirror.
Maybe this could be made to work, maybe my underware is just too tight right now?
(Restricting blood flow to my butt!)

04-11-2010, 10:27 PM
this reminds me a lot of a scene in Van Helsing when all of the vampires are dancing at a ball and one human chick has to dance with dracula and he drops her in front of a mirror and she shes herself and only his suit. It's a pretty cool effect cause the rest of the mirror shows the dresses and suits of the other vampires dancing.

damon carson
04-12-2010, 09:00 AM
Heres my idea scrutinize it if you want but its just an idea. Put up a fake mirror or prop mirror as it is. Have it fairly large antique frame ect. Have clear plexiglass and then in the room behind it have two mirrors side by side. henge it or have it where it looks seemless if possible. Okay have it where both sides are where everyone shows the reflection at first. Then set up a pic or whatever say with 3 people. the guy and the girl stands to the left of the mirror. And your vampire character stands on the right. Before these people move into place to look in the mirror. The right hand side of the mirror is kicked back enough to show no reflection of your vampire. But say its showing the same picture on the wall or vase or whatever behind them.?! Thats my idea. Seen similar gags with an angled mirror in haunted houses. It works.

04-12-2010, 11:47 AM
Yes, it's called glass. lol. sorry I just had to post that.