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Old January 1st, 2011, 02:26 AM   #1
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How Do I Break a Mirror?

Not just some little hand mirror, I need to break a 3'x6' mirror. It is in a room full of dancers and gets hit barehanded by a girl in a ball gown. It's too dangerous to break a real mirror, it will have to be an effects shot.

I'm using Final Cut Express, are there plug ins available? I can superimpose the image I want into the mirror, I just don't know how to break it.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 04:39 AM   #2
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Make the mirror from the plastic heat shrink mirror film sold by Rosco, so post only needs to deal with the breaking sequence, and the dancer can physically hit the mirror and break it!
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Old January 1st, 2011, 02:50 PM   #3
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Try finding or recording the sound of it breaking and hitting the floor first .. then build the vision around that. It might not end up being glass, it could be a vase or those trick metal plates that sound like glass shattering .. imagination :)

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Old January 1st, 2011, 11:04 PM   #4
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Aside from being dangerous, it probably won't break in such a way as to give you the effect you really want. So you might have to break a lot of mirrors to get it right.

I'm assuming that you want to have someone smack the mirror, then have the mirror break into pieces which fall to the ground (as opposed to spraying all over the place as though there had been an explosive behind the mirror. Or maybe you just want cracks to appear and open up slightly before you cut away

Fairly straightforward to have the mirror shatter and fall in something like Cinema 4D or Maya or Lightwave, etc. The big trick is to have something for the pieces to reflect as they fall and twist around - in other words you need to have imagery of the scene from the mirrors point of view set up so the pieces can reflect the scene as they fall or move around and you also need the image of the wall behind the mirror which will get exposed as the pieces fall ie the camera's eye view of the scene from in front of the mirror.

Maybe something like the links below (although I know you want a flattish shape to fall apart) - but it would be a box sort of like what's in the videos, just really thin. Oh yeah - what do you want to be on the back of the glass pieces as they fall because some of them will inevitably twist around.

Anyhow, here are a couple of breaking mirrors that I did in Cinema 4D just as an exercise a while back - not by any means a finished product.Just want to see if I'm thinking in the right direction.

The way I set them up was to take a series of photos and put together a spherical panorama enclosing the scene so there would be reflecting elements in all directions. In this case they were assembled as an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo and applied to the inside of a sphere so there were realistic reflections everywhere.

Anyhow, glad to discuss more if you want.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 10:15 AM   #5
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Some cool ideas so far.

It's for a music video and the whole thing is dream-like so it doesn't need to be super-realistic. We'll probably have the keyboard player cook up a sound effect for it.

Larger shards falling straight down is probably what we want, similar to the Stone Henge posted above. It would be very cool if we could see the cracks running through it before the pieces fell.

The other thought was to have it explode into sparks, but I have to confess I don't know how to pull that off.

I'm thinking I'll superimpose the reflection to save on lighting and framing headaches, so what it really boils down to is a wipe in the form of falling pieces. Hm, and with that I may have answered my own question. Any and all suggestions are still appreciated.
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