Knives Out is a, more or less, whodunit in the classic style. It's got a house full of suspects in the form of an all-star cast. It's got a detective who seems to see everything. It's got a seemingly impossible murder. It's the sort of movie that is designed to keep its audience guessing and get them to question everything that they see. And as it turns out, with Knives Out we should be questioning literally everything we see as even some of the film's simplest elements aren't what they appear to be.
Knives Out cinematographer Steve Yedlin recently took to Twitter to reveal some of the film's secrets that we didn't even know were secrets. Because of Knives Out's particular style, the movie has a lot of close ups of actors speaking, and some of them, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Craig, are wearing eyeglasses. This is a problem because the glasses can potentially reflect the lighting and cameras being used to film them. However, the movie's Key Grip, Matt Mania solved the problem, and in the below tweet you can see how.
For this scene with Jamie Lee Curtis, we see that it's being filmed on a stage, not a room in an actual house, which means the actress isn't looking at anything other than the crew filming her for the movie. If her glasses reflected what she actually saw, we'd seen the camera operator and the lighting rig, but thanks to the Key Grip, we see what we would expect to see, windows on the opposite side of the room. There's are no windows of course, it's a painting, but in the reflection, that fact is lost.
It's a neat trick that certainly works. The alternative would have been simply removing the lenses from the glasses in order to prevent reflection. This is what Paul Feig did for Chris Hemsworth in the Ghostbusters reboot, that actually led to a great joke about the lack of lenses. However, by taking the extra step here, Knives Out feels that much more real because we can see the reflections.
Here's a second example of a forced perspective matte painting, that doesn't only hide the filming equipment, but makes the room where the filming is happening appear larger than it actually is, based on where the painting is located.
This works so well, and it's something that few people would actually go looking for, so it seems unlikely we ever would have known this was being done if the Knives Out crew hadn't shown it off. At the same time, it's great work and Key Grip Matt Mania deserves all the credit in the world for his work, so it's nice to see his work being recognized. If you haven't seen Knives Out, you can now do so with an added piece of information and now you can closely inspect all the eyeglasses to see if you can tell the difference.