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Shattering a mirror

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by misterm, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. misterm

    misterm Member

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    Man its been a couple of months since I've been on CB. Too many shows.
    Anyways, we're doing a night of student-written plays and one calls for a character to shatter a mirror onstage. Large, full-body mirror. We could simply turn its back to the audience and have a sound effect, but with the staging, I'd really love to have the audience see the mirror shatter. Doesn't have to be a real mirror, necessarily. Any ideas on something we can build or an easy effect?
  2. ajb

    ajb Active Member

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    Smooth-on makes a moldable breakaway plastic, or you could maybe try making your own sugar glass. You could experiment with mirror films to see what will give you a good look without preventing proper breaking, or there are some metallic spraypaints that might be adequate depending on staging--I don't know how close to mirror finish you can get with them, but it will be very, very shiny.
  3. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    yeah, if it doesnt need to be a real working mirror, the sugar thing would work well.
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Sugar glass is a possibility, as is coating a cheap "door - mirror" like you'd get at Walmart, or Kmart, with a clear acrylic coating such as Rosco's crystal gel. The acrylic coating keeps the glass from shattering into tiny pieces when it breaks, Very effective for the breakfast scene in Miracle Worker, btw.
  5. Synchronize

    Synchronize Member

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    Does it have to shatter when somebody hits it or shatter without contact (like it breaking because somebody ugly looks into it)?
  6. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

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    Depending on how perfectly flat the mirror needs to appear before the 'break', you might be able to precut a plexiglass or mylar mirror into shard-shapes, and put them together with clear tape each night. I'd probably go with the sugar glass suggestion myself.

    How does it get broken? Picked up and thrown on the floor? Punched or hit while still on the wall? Poltergeist?
  7. Arez

    Arez The Royal Renaissance Man Premium Member

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    How's a stagehand supposed to set it if it's just going to break on him? :evil:
  8. misterm

    misterm Member

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    It shatters when a chair is thrown into it.
  9. Arez

    Arez The Royal Renaissance Man Premium Member

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    How big is the mirror? Does the chair need to just shatter it against a wall, or does it need to break through it (like a chair out of a window)?
  10. hyperbuddha

    hyperbuddha Member

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    What about a light cue-

    Chase

    Mover

    Effect


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Adding to the questions, does the chair need to go through the mirror or is bouncing off and leaving a fracture pattern an option?

    You could use something like plexi and one-way mylar heatshrink mirror (Rosco makes it) with fracture lines painted on the upstage side. Backlight the mirror to reveal the cracks.
  12. Synchronize

    Synchronize Member

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    You could buy a cheap mirror and tape the crap out of it with duct tape on the back side. Then frame it in around the edges with a hard back side (probably 1/2" would be fine). When the chair is thrown at it the mirror will shatter but pieces wont fall or fly because they will be stuck to the duct tape in the back.
  13. Soxred93

    Soxred93 Member

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    Maybe this is going a little too far, but you could do something like this:

    Cut a hole in the wall the exact size of the mirror, and frame the hole as you would a mirror. Every night you have a show, put a new pane of cheap, clear plastic in the hole. This is what the actor will actualy break.

    Backstage, there is an actual mirror that has a cardboard back to it. A stagehand simply holds it up to the window, and voila! Instant mirror!

    When it comes time to break the mirror, just get the stagehand to pull the mirror away right before the chair comes at it. When the glass breaks, have the stagehand instantly turn ther mirror around, so the cardboard back now faces the audience. The mirror is now gone. :)

    Ask if you need clarification.
  14. venuetech

    venuetech Active Member

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    How about encasing a cheep mirror in carpet/surface protection tape. and install that into an easy access frame.
    This is the stuff contractors use to temporaly cover flooring during short construction projects. Looks like you could layerer it up on both sides of a mirror, do the smash, then pop the encased breakage out after each performance.

    a web search for "floor protection film" will give you a bunch of hits. I think you could find this at most big box lumber yards.

    Hell I could have used this for a show last year with a window breaking in it.
  15. misterm

    misterm Member

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    hey all, not to necro-post or anything, but thanks for the suggestions and sorry for the disappearing act. computer in my office decided it and the internet weren't compatible so they broke up. anyways, here's some more info. the mirrors are free-standing, no walls attached. the chair is picked up and is slammed into several, one at a time. we don't have much money for this show and its only for a one night show. i'm not above cutting the whole smashing thing and finding a better way to show the emotion/meaning of the scene.
    i've missed the booth and feels good to be back even for a few minutes!
  16. BrianWolfe

    BrianWolfe Active Member

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    How about sandwiching a cheap mirror between to layers of 1/16" clear polycarbonate. Hit it with the chair and it will shatter the mirror but the polycarb will keep all the dangerous shards safely encased.

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