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There was this tricky mirror scene in Contact

enter image description here

The effect is: the camera is moving backwards, always facing a character running towards something and keeping the same distance from that character (who does turns, goes upstairs, etc) and always facing it, during the whole shot. When the character's hand reaches (near the camera) what appears to be a cabinet door, and opens it, the cabinet's mirror moves on the side and the image we had moves with it, as if everything (or at least the last part of the run toward the cabinet) was filmed in the cabinet's mirror (with the camera facing the cabinet, not the character).

How was this scene really made?

Is it really a mirror shot or something else?

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    Could you describe the effect, for posterity purposes? – Weckar E. Sep 13 '17 at 10:17
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    @WeckarE. : the effect is : the camera is moving backwards, always facing a character running towards something and keeping the same distance from that character (who does turns, goes upstairs, etc) and always facing it, during the whole shot. When the character's hand reaches (near the camera) what appears to be a cabinet door, and opens it, the cabinet's mirror moves on the side and the image we had moves with it, as if everything (or at least the last part of the run toward the cabinet) was filmed in the cabinet's mirror (with the camera facing the cabinet, not the character). – Olivier Dulac Sep 13 '17 at 16:38
  • @OlivierDulac I added your description to the question. – Volker Siegel Apr 24 '18 at 3:56
  • @VolkerSiegel that comment not need to added in the question. Its more of an anwer like comment – J M Apr 24 '18 at 7:44
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It's mostly a CGI effect with blue screening / masking, motion tracking etc.

There's a YouTube explanation by the movie's Cinematographer Don Burgess

Also another by Contact's visual effects supervisors Ken Ralston and Stephen Rosenbaum

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    A really damn good shot. – MattD Sep 12 '17 at 13:53
  • Super clever shot too. I wonder if that's "been around", or if Don Burgess pretty much came up with it on his own. – BruceWayne Sep 12 '17 at 21:36
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    Can you summarize the effect in a few words for those that don't have the bandwidth and time to go through the full videos? – PlasmaHH Sep 12 '17 at 21:59
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    @PlasmaHH take 2 videos, one of the person running up there and standing by mirror, and the other being that person opening the mirror thing. Replace the mirror's reflection with green screen on second video and place first video's last frames. – Ave Sep 12 '17 at 23:19
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    @Michael Whether the camera should be visible in the mirror doesn't have much to do with the trickiness of the shot. – Sneftel Sep 13 '17 at 20:27

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