Mirror talk is a great way to get away from conventional shot reverse shot when shooting dialogue and inject a little more visual interest into your scene. How does mirror talk work? One character faces away from the other, looking into a mirror, and talking to the other person’s reflection. It’s a nice way to convey emotional distance while having your characters in the same shot. The mirror can also create a visually pleasing frame-within-a-frame.
Examples of mirror talk
In Shaun of the Dead, director Edgar Wright uses this technique a couple of times. First, when Shaun (Simon Pegg) is talking to his roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) and later in the film when he is finally reunited with Liz (Kate Ashfield).
In Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky frequently uses mirrors not only to hint at the the duality within the main character but also to frame up characters when shooting dialogue.
There’s a nice scene from Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, when cutting between a shot the Driver (Ryan Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan), the reflection of the Driver is framed in a small mirror over Irene’s shoulder.
The next time you’re filming a dialogue scene, consider using mirrors to frame up your conversation in an interesting or unexpected way!