Al's iMovie Stuff : SPLIT SCREEN Updated: August 22, 2002

Using GeeThree's Split Screen:

Last night I thought I would try a little experiment inspired by something that impressed me in Back to the Future 3 years ago. To see my first demo, check out "Always Wear Pants" (QuickTime 160x120, 692K, 30 seconds). It's hard to see, but that's me handing me my pants.

With a successful experiment, I decided to create a quick tutorial on using GeeThree's Split Screen effect to not only share the screen with yourself, but to add a bit of realism and allow you to set down an object and the other you to pick it up.

(A much fancier version of this which can preserve audio between both sides and allow objects to be picked up while both sides are on the screen at the same time will also be shown if there is any interest.)


You will be recording two pieces of video and merging them together. You must use a tripod to ensure that the footage lines up. You should also turn off auto-focus (and manually focus in on where you will be standing) to keep the sides from appearing too different. If possible, use consistent lighting so the auto iris doesn't brighten or darken one of the sides. (In my example, this iris problem can be seen in the original full sizes footage, but in the Pants segment -- done at night with only indoor lighting -- it does not show up since I had better control over light sources and shadows.)

Step 1:

Film the right side segment with you entering the scene and setting something down near the middle of the screen then make a complete exit. Click here to see an example (QuickTime 160x120, 64K, 7 seconds).

Step 2:

Film the left side segment immediately after the first scene (with the object still in place). Give enough time at the front of the video for your right side to enter, leave the object, and leave the scene, then pick up the object. Click here to see an example (QuickTime 160x120, 120K, 13 seconds).

Step 3:

Import your video into iMovie. You will want to make two clips. The left clip is the overall background clip so it should be the longer one. The right clip should be the "come in, leave object, and exit" clip. Make it as short as possible.

Step 4:

Drag only the right clip down to the timeline in iMovie and Export it QuickTime using "Full Quality, Large" settings. Make a note of where you save this .mov file.

Step 5:

Remove this clip from the timeline, then drag down the left side clip. Select this clip then choose the "Split Screen (centered)" effect. Use "Choose File..." and select the .mov of the right clip you just exported. Set "Clip Center" all the way to Left, and "File Center" all the way to Right. Adjust the "Split Location" so the object you set down in the right clip is JUST hidden in the preview window.

At this point, clicking "Preview" should walk through the sequence (slowly, depending on your processor speed). If you have everything adjusted right you will see the left side play while the right side is merged on top of the video. The right side image will show you entering the scene, putting down the object, then leaving. At this point the merge goes away and you are left with the rest of the left side image which has the video of you picking up the object.

Click here to see the final product (QuickTime 160x120, 140K, 13 seconds).

Copyright (C) 2002 by Allen Huffman
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