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Shooting Split Screen


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#1 Wyatt Phillips

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 11:41 AM

Hi there, I am still new to my Super 8 and was hoping for some pointers, how do I shoot split screen with my super 8? or does it need to be done in post?

thanks for the help
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#2 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:55 PM

To shoot a split-screen effect in Super 8mm, using a cartridge loading camera you really only have two options (post effects in software notwithstanding of course). Since the cartridge doesn't allow full rewind, you can do limited short effects by using a Film Cartridge Rewinder; such as ones made by EWA (Germany) or CRAVEN (England), some years ago. These normally limit rewinding of film to about 100 frames (should only be done when you've filmed at least 10 feet from beginning or within 10 feet from end of cartridge.....some instructions will state within 5 feet, but it all depends on how long a rewind you desire). Some have been able to rewind film by even as much as 200 or more frames, and some devices stated that it was possible to backwind up to 300 frames. However, the film is just being pushed back into the supply side, and there's always a risk of developing a film jam; so caution and testing with old junk film is advised to learn the technique.

It's also possible to backwind manually up to 100 frames by using this technique:
(1). Tape over the cartridge core to prevent film takeup (after first having filmed at least 5 feet).

(2). Film your intended scene up to 100 frames in length [5.5 seconds at 18fps or 4.1 seconds at 24fps] to be split-screened or other double-exposure type effects; for split-screen using either a Matt-Box or other simple device to block off Half of the image.

(3). Note the Footage Counter on the camera and jot that down, then Remove the cartridge from the camera in a film-changing bag (or in the light if you don't mind an inch or so being fogged in the cartridge gate). However, you'll need either a completely dark room or film-changing bag to rewind the film. The film did not take up snuggly on the takeup core, since it was taped over. So, using a thin plastic or rubber glove on the hand or finger gater, push the film upward back into the cartridge. You will do this until the film becomes snug, and DO NOT force it once resistance is met. The film you shot will now be wadded up into the Supply chamber of the cartridge.

(4). Re-insert the cartridge into the camera, using a film-changing bag, dark room, or room light if you don't mind a short fogged piece of film at the begining of your scene. Proceed to film the Second Half of your Split-Screen effect....having first moved the Mat or Cardboard etc to the other side of the lens so you refilm on the half that wasn't exposed.

Lastly, the only easy way to do a complete Split-Screen effect using 50 foot (15m) Super 8mm cartridges is to film the entire First Half of the desired Split-Screen effect, and then to open the cartridge carefully, and reload the film to the beginning....then to refilm on it once the film has been rewound/reloaded and the cartridge sealed up. This is a service I offer here at PPS, NY and have been rewinding cartridges for customers since 1981. To do this yourself though, you'll need to make up a jig and it's all a bit complicated of course.....but it's possible to do so, since I do it quite often here in the lab.

Hope this sheds some light on what is involved. Good luck.
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:21 AM

You could also shoot regular 8mm. Shoot 25', then when you flip the film to go through the other way, flip the camera upside down too and shoot another 25'. Then process it as 16mm and tell the lab DO NOT SPLIT. Then telecine it as 16mm.

In telecine, have the colorist crop in on the two frames. Here's the slightly tricky part, they may not lineup perfectly so if that is important you can cheat and adjust in post. Just slide one side up or down. Telecine guy can probably do that for you.

You can kind of see what I mean here...


View on Vimeo

I just didn't flip the camera over when I ran it the other way in this example.
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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 10:48 AM

You could also shoot regular 8mm. Shoot 25', then when you flip the film to go through the other way, flip the camera upside down too and shoot another 25'. Then process it as 16mm and tell the lab DO NOT SPLIT. Then telecine it as 16mm.

In telecine, have the colorist crop in on the two frames. Here's the slightly tricky part, they may not lineup perfectly so if that is important you can cheat and adjust in post. Just slide one side up or down. Telecine guy can probably do that for you.


The right frames will be running in reverse, though, won't they? Which can be a cool effect..

Probably the simplest way to do split screen in-camera is to use a regular 8 camera that has back-wind facility - most of the high end ones had it (Beaulieus, Arcos, Bolex H8s, plenty of others). The film is on spools so it can be rewound as much as you like. If you get a camera with interchangeable lenses, you can remove the lens and mask half of the aperture with black tape. If the lens is fixed (or you don't want to screw around with the aperture) you could mask half of the front of the lens with a matte box or simply some cardboard, but the split won't be as sharply delineated. Then shoot one sequence, rewind the film, mask the other side and shoot again.
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