April 15, 2017

This New Music Video Makes Perfect, Mind-Bending Use of the Split Screen

Cassius and Pharrell's new music video uses juxtaposition to connect ideas.

If you ever wondered how to creatively utilize split screen, Cassius' new music video is a great place to start. The video, directed by Paris-based Alexandre Courtes and featuring Pharrell and Cat Power, juxtaposes images in order to connect ideas. It's a work of visual poetry that speaks to the complicated issues we face in society, such as the gender pay gap (visualized as a woman shattering a glass ceiling), climate change and destruction (visualized as a plume of smoke and a toppling house of cards), the military-industrial complex (a weapon and a firework exploding), and more.

The split screen device has been used throughout cinema history to convey differing perspectives, juxtapose imagery, and show contiguous events occurring in different places (such as phone calls). One of its earliest proponents was Edwin S. Porter, whose 1903 film Life of an American Fireman showed thoughts of the main character through use of the split screen. In 1961, Walt Disney used the split screen in The Parent Trap to "clone" actress Hayley Mills, who plays both herself and her twin sister in what appears to be the same frame. 

Other memorable uses of the split screen can be found in Rules of Attraction, Requiem for a Dream, Timecode, Kill Bill, and Annie Hall.

Here's a tutorial for how to create the invisible split screen effect.      

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2 Comments

Awesome video. Some of these are so clever and some actually made me laugh.

April 17, 2017 at 2:08AM

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The Mellow Filmmaker
Filmmaker, Editor, Videographer
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That was so clear and creative. Great.

April 17, 2017 at 4:37AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
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