Timing is a huge component of successful filmmaking. So is framing. And director David Fincher has a good handle on both.
There are a variety of reasons to use invisible split-screen composites in filmmaking, from honing the timing of shots to multiplying your actors on small-budget projects. When properly applied, this technique can be used as a tool to craft a dynamically powerful scene and is a trick that Fincher admits to implementing countless times throughout each of his films.
In this tutorial, Ben Gill gives us a breakdown of the technique, how masters like Fincher apply it, and how you can create it yourself.
In theory, this technique is sort of a glorified version of dramatic sync tempo, except that, instead of cutting away from the scene, you are cutting the scene itself and manipulating time within it. You essentially become a time-bending wizard…thing…person…
This can be great for even low-budget films, as Ben shows in the tutorial. Mastering timing is [almost] everything in storytelling, and when you might be having to cut corners on budget elsewhere, making certain that your film has a high impact value can greatly offset that fact in the minds of viewers.
Want some more budget filmmaking tips? Check out some tricks for shooting a film with a two-man team.
To see an example of the sometimes-not-so-invisible split screen effect applied horribly wrong, feast your eyes on this: