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In many driving scenes, in different shots of the same car some will show the mirror in place on the windshield, while in others it has obviously been removed.

Mirrors are usually high enough they would not be in the way of actors' shots from the back seat looking forward. Absence of the mirror is painfully obvious.

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  • 13
    Could you provide an example of what you're talking about?
    – F1Krazy
    May 1 '20 at 6:55
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    I'm not sure why this is getting hit so hard with the down & close-votes. I've tidied it up a bit grammatically, but if you've never noticed they take the mirror out for some shots, you need to watch more carefully :P
    – Tetsujin
    May 1 '20 at 8:33
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    First rule of Italian driving. May 2 '20 at 19:05
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    Painfully obvious? I've never even realized this was a thing until now. May 2 '20 at 21:28
  • By the way, the same also happens quite often to the front seat headrests, probably due to related reasons.
    – Emil
    May 4 '20 at 8:58
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First and foremost they remove it to get a cleaner shot.

Secondly is that the windscreen is sometimes removed, to kill reflection, when the camera is mounted on the bonnet [hood]. The mirror is often attached to the screen.

It's not always done, because some directors find it more distracting than working round it.

Movies featuring the cars and driving itself seem to be more likely to not remove it, but this isn't an absolute - in fact none of it is an absolute.
It's a production/directorial decision.

There are some image errors below, this was done from thumbnails on Google Images in about half an hour. The general idea is no less true despite those inaccuracies.
Quick composite images…
No mirror

enter image description here

Mirror

enter image description here

And, just for fun, while we're on the topic.
How do they get those driving and action shots?
Clever car trailers & clever camera rigs.

enter image description here

And, in fact, apologies to Edgar Wright - I was sure the mirror was always there in Baby Driver; it just wasn't obvious in the first shot I found.
To make amends, more from Baby Driver, including mirror & clever driving rigs.

enter image description here

And, some classic Blue Brothers…
Mirror in, mirror out, mirror in, mirror out

enter image description here

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    Your examples are all from the front of the car looking back. In the case of being in the back of the car looking forward, there's another thing to take into consideration, which is that you don't want the camera or crew to be visible in the mirror's reflection. Filming around mirrors is always a bit challenging for this reason. (Also, I might excuse the Harry Potter example because it's an old car, possibly from before mirrors were even a requirement.) May 1 '20 at 16:02
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    That's a very nice set of images. For the Bond one, he's clearly being followed and watching his pursuer in the mirror, so the mirror is an active prop in the scene. This is going to be the case in a lot of movies, given the prevalence of pursuits and being followed in many genres.
    – CCTO
    May 1 '20 at 16:04
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    @DarrelHoffman - front-facing, the mirror is there so we can see the driver's eyes… so much so it must be a meme in itself. No-one sets a rear-view mirror to look straight back at the rear of the car, neither in real life nor movies. if you're in any danger of being caught in reflection in that scenario, you just cant the mirror over a bit further, to see some moving traffic instead of the driver's eyes.
    – Tetsujin
    May 1 '20 at 16:12
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    @CCTO - yeah, I intentionally put the Bond one in there a) because it's part of the plot, but b) because it's so obviously hokey back-projection, complete with 'Oops! vignetting', which just made me smile ;-)
    – Tetsujin
    May 1 '20 at 16:15
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    Your bottom left image for "no mirror" very definitely does have a (rather shiny) mirror in it. It's nicely tilted, too. May 2 '20 at 21:25

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