July 29, 2015 at 3:44PM, Edited August 11, 12:22AM

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INVISIBLE SPLIT-SCREEN TUTORIAL (Technique Used by David Fincher)

Hey nofilmschool, just wanted to share this tutorial I made for the Invisible Split-Screening technique. It's a technique that David Fincher has been known to use in his films and I noticed there's not really anything out there explaining it.

In the tutorial I define invisible split-screening, breakdown some frames from Fincher films, and show some examples from two of my own edits. Originally I was making this to share in an Editing class, but I took too long. Anyway, it's done now! Hope some people find this helpful and can find ways to apply this to their own films.

I compiled a bunch of interviews from Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, which you can find a download for in the video description.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0z1F3qiN6E

13 Comments

Loved this tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

July 30, 2015 at 11:52AM

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Matt Clark
Producer / Writer / DP
708

Thanks for sharing, good stuff!

July 30, 2015 at 3:29PM, Edited July 30, 3:29PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1040

Thanks for sharing.

July 31, 2015 at 12:43PM, Edited July 31, 12:43PM

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Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka
Filmmaker
9887

Awesome information
Thanks for sharing

Your first example with your personal project is also something I use especially during dialogue to over-exaggerate the silence between actors - makes it feel more uncomfortable
But the other examples really enligthened me on the numerous possibilities of this techniques that I hadn't even thought of.
Thanks again for sharing. Good stuff

I used this on a recent project of mine (and Fincher's Gone Girl was a big inspiration) - I would like to hear what you think and probably see if you can spot the places I used this technique.

Cheers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21MIyjTQF28

August 1, 2015 at 5:30AM

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Luke Oyovbaire
Filmmaker
107

LOL. Been doing this for years! Another little trick is to stretch the duration of a section. A look can be doubled in length without anything apparently weird going on. And a slowed down blink can look good. Or you can even reverse a shot - but that's a lot trickier to pull off. If you know you're going to be doing this kind of stuff shoot a few seconds with no one present to get a clean background.

BTW Never mention to an actor that you may do this. Or have done it. They hate it.

On a side note - I often like to shoot rapid movement at 30fps. When seen at 24 it gives it some weight. Again, you have to be careful.

p.s. Nice work Ben, but I would have removed that kid from the background. Too distracting. ;-)

August 2, 2015 at 7:07AM, Edited August 2, 7:10AM

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Karel Bata
Director / DP / Stereographer
470

Thank you so much Ben. :)

August 2, 2015 at 7:33AM

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Everything that can be changed, will be changed. That's post production rule, at leastwhen when given the time and/or money. I've also used this technique, but I was always terribly, horribly, painfully aware that it was simply to mask my mistakes in directing. I feel like a lot of people through the possibilities of post production nowadays feel tempted to not do their homework before the actual shoot or are much more at ease with not so great takes. And let's face it: This technique compliments Finchers style, but not neccessarily yours or mine. So shooting from tripod with no camera movement and actors with enough non-moving space in between to pull this teqnique off - i don't know: You are really creating a limitation for yourself, just to get control in post while you SHOULD first an foremost be in control on set and pre-production, rehearsals and what not. And you are deliberately giving away a big part of you narrative toolset.

It's a fix-it-in-post attitude that will not be a part, at least of my strategy, because this paradoxically moves the workload towards postproduction, a moment when you are more or less just reacting to existing material, while the emphasis should pre-production, to have as little seems and mistakes to cover up as possible. There are examples of trying to speed up things in post from the predigital era, even in a film by Mr. preproduction himself, Steven Spielberg. The bedroom scene in the beginning of EMPIRE OF THE SUN comes to mind. But in my experience your project benefits extremely when you just prepare, prepare, prepare beforehand - beacause a lot of long takes from that same movie show, how beneficial this can be to your movie, too. So, if you are going for a Fincher look, which too many young filmmakers who are NOT Fincher do, fine. But don't go for that look just because it looks cool on Finchers films and because it gives you more control in post. You should be in control ALL THE TIME, at least that's the principle that you stick to as if your life depended on it.

August 2, 2015 at 7:34AM

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I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

I picked up my bag, I went lookin' for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin' side by side
I said, "Hey, Carmen, come on let's go downtown"
She said, "I gotta go but my friend can stick around"

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin' you can say
It's just ol' Luke and Luke's waitin' on the Judgment Day
"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?"
He said, "Do me a favor, son, won't you stay and keep Anna Lee company?"

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog
He said, "I will fix your rack if you'll take Jack, my dog"
I said, "Wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man"
He said, "That's okay, boy, won't you feed him when you can"

Yeah, take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she's the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

August 2, 2015 at 11:55AM

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Thanks Ben - very interesting and something I didn't realise Fincher was using to such an extent.

August 6, 2015 at 9:59AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
309

Of-course this is great and everything... but how the hell it was shot so many great movies before all the compositing technique became so affordable ... Movie directors should rely more on working with actors, then on post production. Obviously this is a great technique that will save your scene if it's not the way you wanted, but as a director, I don't want to shoot a scene with the idea that I will fine-tune it in the post, as rather make it happen on the set.

Of-course, who am I to say about the director's job. Probably that's why everyone knows David Fincher, and no one me ))

August 11, 2015 at 7:21AM

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Bruma Mihai
Director / Writer / Motion Graphic Designer
137

Hello, Bruma
now we know you from all over the world... So, cheer up and keep doing good...

August 11, 2015 at 12:51PM

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Dibyendu Joardar
Director of Photography
597

Great! Never knew that.

August 11, 2015 at 7:25AM

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The present digital technology is helping us to learn from our mistakes in true sense. Since we can learn from our mistakes with present digital technology, we see many people turning into film maker, singer, composer.... and the internet is helping them towards perfection.
Me too have used the above technique a few times, but never thought David Fincher (one of my inspirations) used it to razor perfect his scenes.
Thanks for the enlightenment.

August 11, 2015 at 12:48PM

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Dibyendu Joardar
Director of Photography
597

I found it very interesting, thanks for explaining it. I liked the idea of extending his stare to make the effect more creepy, I will keep that in mind if I need to up the creep factor in my shot!

August 16, 2015 at 8:48AM

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Searean Moon
Director/Writer/Producer
122

"Your" ignorance is showing as well

August 2, 2015 at 1:07PM

27
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Maria Allred
Director/DP
81

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