skip to Main Content

The Westworld set design features smart mirrors and smart window tinting film in one of the most popular episodes of the series. Do you have an idea how they shot this magnificent episode? See how below.


Episode spoilers ahead.

The Riddle of the Sphinx

Westworld Season 2, Episode 4

If your mind wasn’t blown after watching this detail-packed and disorienting episode you weren’t paying close enough attention.

From the story-line to the cinematography, Westworld never disappoints. After watching this episode for the first time I couldn’t help but get unbelievably excited about seeing our product and knowing how they artfully shot this masterpiece.

We are going to explain how they achieved these futuristic techniques.

Let’s start with the scene and explain what’s going on with James Delos.

Remember all they way back in season one, where Ford suggested to Bernarnold that their technology might one day allow them to resurrect the dead?

When we last saw James Delos at the party celebrating his retirement while William followed in his footsteps taking his seat as Westworld owner, James hinted that he expected an extension on the life he was losing to a terminal disease. We now know that William has been using this secret lab for the last 30 years in an attempt to resurrect James Delos using the host technology.

Over the episode, we experience a series of scenes in which William progressively ages but James does not. William had been busy building hosts that look exactly like his father-in-law, coded with an almost perfect version of him.

Unfortunately for Mr. Delos, 149 builds of him later and there still remains a point at which the host glitches out unable to hold the human mind. At which point, he is normally destroyed and rebuilt again.

William, on his cruel and final visit, decided not to destroy the 149th version of James, leaving him to be observed as it declined. With the timeline of events, this seems to have happened shortly before the hosts took over the park.

How did they make the person display appear within the mirror?

The Answer: Smart Glass or VanityVision Bathroom Mirror

Did you notice the different tint on the mirror from inside the room when looking from the outside in? That’s because it is not standard float glass like the remaining panels encasing host James.

Every time William visits James in what we now know is a controlled laboratory, a person is displayed across a mirror makes him aware he has a visitor. The person then disappears into the mirror coating. Very futuristic and magical. You then see host James strut up to the mirror checking his reflection before greeting William.

This optical mirror illusion, also known as a smart mirror, was achieved by placing a display behind the glass. You may have seen this same effect in bathroom television mirror systems or magic mirrors.

A display or television is mounted behind a semi-transparent mirror. When the technology is turned off the display then hides behind the glass without being seen.

smart mirror

TV mirror technology has existed for the last 30 years. Two main types of television mirrors exist depending on your application and desired light transmission and reflection ratios. One, more reflective VanityVision Bathroom Mirror and the other a Dielectric Living room Bedroom TV Mirror.

Max Brauns original Bathroom Smart Mirror build. Find all the details on this creative use of a display panel and simple Android APIs.

This build uses the Vanity Vision Smart mirror along with LED lighting with a frosted effect and custom framing. Don’t miss our exciting post on How To Create Your Own LED Smart Mirror TV

Dielectric TV Mirror displaying an Intel Compute Stick on a 60″ television screen.


How do you make a smart mirror?

Smart Mirror Guide

Create your own smart mirror with this simple guide.


Smart Mirror


Arguably the easiest smart mirror you can make would be one involving a tablet. You can frame the mirror or leave it unframed. Framing the glass makes it easier to accommodate the thickness of the tablet.

Image one you will see a smaller frame with enough space around the size of the tablet to give a floating effect.

Image two is the back-painted smart mirror glass in 1’4″ thickness. Enough space left for the display only to shine through.

Image three is everything assembled with the frame, glass, back painting and tablet. Not included in this image are aluminum french cleats stuck to the back of the glass to hold the tablet in place with VHB double sided sticky tape.

Alternatively, follow this handy video guide on an Alexa Integrated Smart Mirror Build.

See the mirrors in person here:

Inside his room the windows are white? But they can also observe him without being seen?

The Answer; Smart Tinting Window Film

The smart tint is a film that applies to any new or existing glass surface. Easily control the film with a switch going from clear to a frosted opaque effect. Check out for more information on this unique product.

While filming this particular episode, Westworld had the set windows fully covered in the smart tint film. They could then turn the film on and off how they pleased depending on who, what, or when they were trying to film.

The History of Optical Mirrors in Hollywood

The entertainment industry is no stranger to optical mirrors. First surface mirrors, two-way mirrors, and beamsplitters can resurrect Tupac & Michael Jackson, create peppers ghost stage effects, and many other optical applications for film and live audiences.

Check out Mirror Magic to get a feel for how optical glass is used in the film for creating low budget illusions.

Stan Winston School: Mirror Magic

Beamsplitter Mirror Technology

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *