View Full Version : How can I cheaply get (or fake) big mirrors?

11-03-2011, 01:11 PM
I'm doing a scene recreation for school, and in the scene there's six huge mirrors on the wall (they're supposed to be 2-way mirrors in an interrogation room). The mirrors are about 6'x4', I can probably get away with 4'x3'... but getting six of them would cost me like a thousand dollars. I'm trying to make this happen for two hundred or less. What do you think? I've found mirrored contact paper, and that might be my best best, but even that's fairly expensive, and I don't want to spend a lot of money if it's still going to look shitty. If it's going to look shitty I want to cheap out, or spend a fair amount of money for something that looks great.

Closest thing I've got right now is getting some of this spray that makes clear glass look reflective if you spray it on the back. If I can find a bunch of pieces of plastic I'm going to give it a shot. Otherwise.... seran wrap.

What do you guys think? Any help? Any places I can go for this? Renting would be great too, except I don't know of anyplace that would rent me those mirrors.

11-03-2011, 07:58 PM
It's possible to fake some mirror scenes with greenscreen, i.e. paint the 'mirror' area green, then in post replace the green with footage simultaneously shot in the opposite direction (from the exact mirror position of the main camera. But keeping the cameras in perfect synch can be a big problem. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have some greenscreen experience.

Your other options aren't bad, but I suspect they well look fake, e.g. the contact paper will probably look awful if the underlying wall isn't perfectly flat.

Thinking laterally, is it possible to shoot somewhere that already has mirrored walls (e.g. a ballet studio or gym or nightclub), building the rest of a fake room out of simple dry-wall or similar cheap materials. Building three fake 'ordinary' walls could be easier than one mirrored wall.

11-03-2011, 08:52 PM
unfortunately, moving to one of those locations creates way more problems than it solves.

unless anyone has any other solutions... i think what i'm going to do is get sheets of plexiglass (shockingly cheap, around thirty bucks for a sheet big enough) and first, see if it's reflective enough by itself (from the right angle, with darkness or black cloth behind it, it might just work) and if not, i'm going to try this spray that supposedly when you spray it on the back of glass makes the front like a mirror. i don't think it'll work well enough to be mistaken for a mirror, but hopefully well enough to be mistaken for a bad 2-way mirror?

best i can do without breaking the bank.

Paul F
11-04-2011, 12:16 PM
Use sheets of mylar. To keep it flat, just wet the plexiglass you are thinking of buying and squeegee the mylar to the plexiglass. The bonus is that it will be a real 2-way mirror.

Mylar is available in 4' widths on a roll. Try your local plastics supplier, glass shop, or car tinting company.

Its about $4-5/ft.

Edit - I missed that you mentioned mirrored contact paper. I'm guessing that's the same as mylar.

11-04-2011, 06:29 PM
Another vote for silvered mylar. Stretch it over a 2x2 wood frame & hang it like a picture.

Must post screen grabs . . .

11-05-2011, 03:13 AM
silvered mylar is used to make big mirror for video projection because it is light and very efficient.

11-06-2011, 09:50 PM
good ideas guys, i'll look into the mylar... you definitely think it'll be mirror-like enough to produce an accurate reflection?

Paul F
11-07-2011, 02:55 PM
It will if you apply it correctly.

I've never tried to stretch it across a frame. I have used it on glass. If the glass is clean and smooth and if the mylar is clean, it will look like a mirror. Is it good enough? Only you can decide that.

Here is an old roll of silvered mylar on a roll. You can see its reflective and ND filter properties.


11-07-2011, 03:04 PM
You're not looking in the right place - Lee and Rosco don't just sell gel and colour temp converter.
We use it in theatre all the time. Just staple it into the frame, apply heat and it shrinks creating a perfect taut mirror surface.

J Michael
11-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Google 'aluminized mylar film roll' -- looks like it's used in gardening applications and is pretty inexpensive. There are other plastic materials like styrene that may be even cheaper than plex, check local home improvement or hardware store. The mylar is also used to increase energy efficiency of windows & glass doors so may be at hardware store too.