Star Wars Trivia – Rey and the Mirror Cave from The Last Jedi

Hello friends! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and lazy Sunday! It’s Monday morning here, but as mentioned in my previous post, it’s a national holiday, so I’m using today to catch up on all the writing I need to do.

I’ve also been reading my new Star Wars books and thought this little tidbit of information was cool to share regarding Rey and the mirror cave. I’ve read many people’s thoughts on the mirror cave sequence, and most of them were wrong, lol (according to this book). And while I love reading the ideas and speculation from fans, I prefer the facts regarding trivia. Pablo Hidalgo is one of the leading professionals in that regard, so I defer to his book:

How they shot the mirror cave scene in The Last Jedi

For the mirror cave scene in The Last Jedi, special effects studio One of Us planned and filmed the scene using Daisy Ridley and a multi-digital camera rig. It was set up so that one take could “ripple” through multiple images of Rey.

My knowledge of camera rigging is limited, but I wonder if they employed a similar technique to the one used in the filming of The Matrix, where multiple camera rigs were set up to film the “bullet time” sequences in the movie.

Interesting, am I right?

I’ll be doing a lot more of these interesting tidbits of information as I go.


Catch you in the comments hopefully and stay safe out there my friends!

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9 thoughts on “Star Wars Trivia – Rey and the Mirror Cave from The Last Jedi

    1. I read that heaps of people thought it was Ben that she saw in the cave but I don’t think that has ever been confirmed, did you see Ben in the cave lol I still didn’t see him when I looked a dozen times lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I think it was yet another attempt to reach for something that isn’t there lol it happens a lot in the fandom unfortunately. Oh well, the fans love to speculate about these things πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Julie, there are a few ways that this effect could be achieved, I’ll try and explain them. First is as you mention the “Matrix Rig” where the FX guys sets up a “trail” or ring of cameras around Daisy and synchronise them to film a fraction of a second after each other. Daisy then performs the actions and the scene is recorded from however many cameras were used (meaning they had that many versions to “ripple” through).
    The second way would be to use the Digitally Controlled Crane rig that Lucasfilm designed to film the spaceship shots. The ship (or in this case Daisy) would stand in the middle of a platform and the camera and mount would move automatically around her as she performed. The camera and mount were controlled by a set routine on a computer so the exact same motions could be repeated exactly. As long as Daisy could repeat her motions 99% as close as possible then the FX people could use footage from the multiple takes.
    Third way, the FX team set up one camera and film Daisy then later digitally copy and paste her footage in post production using After Effects (or it’s pro equivalent) so that there is the line up of Reys. Each digital copy of Daisy would be triggered a fraction of a second after the previous one. “Photobox” an early TV editing suite from the 80’s could also create a similar effect where multiple versions of an image could be pasted onto virtual plates that scrolled away into the “horizon”. A lot of pop videos on MTV used this.
    Then here is an old school way of doing the trick: This entails using one camera and a live playback/projection screen. You position Daisy and a camera pointed at her stood in front of a carefully positioned viewing screen. Daisy performs the moves and the FX team immediately feed the live footage onto the viewing screen behind her. Now this is where the “Magic Trick” happens. Because you see Daisy then the image appears behind her on the playback screen you see 2 Reys but the camera also records Daisy and what is visible on the screen then plays that in a loop back to the playback screen in real time. Daisy is recorded a second time but the image visible on the playback screen you can see behind her has the original recording so there is now 4 Reys on screen. It is basically a “Feedback Loop” where a live broadcast is projected onto a screen but the main camera sees the projected image and re-captures it as it continues broadcasting. You see it sometimes on live sports events with large stadium screens and you saw it a lot on World Wrestling Entertainment when wrestlers made their entrance in front of the large live video screen known as The Titantron. Every now and then live footage of the superstar was sent to the video screen for the fans to get a close up view but you’d get this “cloning” effect on the Titantron.

    Sorry for the long explanation (and I hope they make sense) but there was a lot of clones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi FT! Oh thank you so much for explaining that, I find it really quite interesting. Yeah I understand the techniques you’re talking about – I’ve really only seen it used in The Matrix and I wasn’t sure if it was the same thing but I do remember seeing a behind the scenes video clip of them doing it that way and thought of this as a comparison πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Julie, yes the Matrix trick can be used to create the Mirror Cave Fx but it’s main purpose was to give audiences a “virtual 3D” sensation – being able to slow or pause the action then rotate the audience’s viewpoint around the actor/actress (when the cameras are mounted in a circle/clock formation). Having the cameras in straight lines however can record the actor’s actions from a slightly different perspective so you stich the shots together to form “forced perspective” shots such as seen The Flash (so he looks as if bursting through the screen as he gets faster). But with the computing power Lucasfilm has nowadays it’s more likely that it was a multiple cameras linked to a control computer so all the footage/frames can be itemised/coded then digitally sorted and composited. Believe it or not, but the Mirror Cave effect is possible to recreate in Blender 3D that I use. I would create a model that had multiple geometry planes stood within the “workspace” and then I could film Daisy using greenscreen. I would then take the footage of her and use it as the “Texture” for the planes. This would project the video film onto each of the panels. I’d then go to the animation settings and apply “Keyframe Markers” to each panel. A keyframe marker allows me to program an action or setting at a specific timestamp, meaning I could set each panel to become visible 1/10 of a second apart throughout the animation. And as the panels are positioned so they fall away to the workspace horizon, each panel will pop into view further and further back like a “visual echo”. It is then a matter of Rendering the animation, but for me that would take forever on a laptop. The animation would be then superimposed onto footage of the cave and using a chroma mask you remove the green screen surrounding Rey. Playback the two superimposed tracks and voila! You have the cave into which Rey would appear, followed by her “visual echoes” fractions of a second apart disappearing into the distance.
        Basically 😁 But please don’t ask me to make a demo as it would kill my computer!

        Liked by 1 person

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