First off, if you haven’t messed with mirrors yet, you need to put down what you are doing right now and pick one up and just see what it does with light. Wave it around, see how far sunlight will travel. It is fantastic.
A few months ago I gaffed a show called Roundabout American and Matthew was my key grip. Together we fell in love with mirrors. We used them twice to great effect.
The first go around was when we were trying to figure out a way to reproduce police siren lights without getting rolling shutter on the AF100. The cop cars in Chicago are all mounted with blue LEDs that are bright as hell and a massive headache for digital cameras with poor rolling shutter. The DP wanted the look of the old style cop sirens that spin. What Matthew and I came up with was three 1′x1′ mirrors in a triangle configuration mounted onto a triple riser baby stand. We took two Source4′s on their own stands 4ft away from the mirror rig. One had theatrical blue and the other theatrical red at about the 10 and 2 position with the mirror rig at the center. We used the top 2 risers to stick up above camera and then just loosened the bottom riser to spin the rig around & around creating the police light effect. It actually worked so well that the neighbors came out to see what the commotion was!
(sorry for the poor quality of pictures, was a mad rush that day)
The other time we used mirrors was when we were doing a poor man’s process for a driving limo sequence. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book to put a car on a stage for either night or green screen work and use moving fixtures to make the car look like its passing by street lamps. The DP wanted this effect and fresh off of our success with the police light, I thought we could get away with putting those 1×1 mirrors on the ends of c-arms and spin those around while the light just sits underneath doing its thing.
1) This makes the controlling of the street lamp speed much easier than if there was a fixture at the end of that c-arm.
2) It’s cleaner.
3) Here’s a short video I took with my phone while we were waiting to shoot. Should clear things up!