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Old 23-05-2003, 21:04   #1
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Name good films that use a Diopter and/or Split Screen

For years I have wondered why "The Andromeda Strain" looks so different to almost every other film I have seen. I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw the documentary that came on the DVD re-release.

Robert Wise explained that he used a Diopter so that in certain scenes people in the foreground and the background can both be in focus at the same time and I think this must be what subconsiously impressed me so much.

I also love the late 60's/ early 70's split screen type of filming where you can see two things going on at once (like in Bullitt). This technique seems to be making a big comeback in films such as Phone Booth and 24 on TV.

Can anyone name some good films for me to see incorporating effective use of the Diopter and/or Split screen?
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:08   #2
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Don't know about good...but Mike Figgis's 'TimeCode'
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by RichDB10
Don't know about good...but Mike Figgis's 'TimeCode'
I quite liked it. Took a while for me to get into it at first though as 4 windows all going at the same time got rather confusing at first.

2 versions of the film on the Reg 1 SE as well, though I've only seen the theatrical version so far

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Old 23-05-2003, 21:20   #4
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Dressed to kill uses it If remember, same with Carrie!

The boston strangle I think uses split screen too.
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:32   #5
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There was a b&w film about Napoleon's life, I went to see with my older cousin which I found rivetting for some reason. It must have been a brilliant film to have held my attention for the best part of an afternoon/evening. I was in my early teens at the time and the only b&w films which could hold my attention starred Abott & Costello.
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:37   #6
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The Diopter is only used with anamorphic lenses, due to the lense having a really tight depth of field, I think. So you don't need to uses them with 2.35:1 films that are shot Super35 or Techniscope.

I noticed its use in Unforgiven when I watched it t'other week.
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:56   #7
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Brian De Palma's Sisters used the split screen very well.
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Old 23-05-2003, 21:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by tizza
Dressed to kill uses it If remember, same with Carrie!

The boston strangle I think uses split screen too.
Yeah, De Palma seems to like the split screen effect quite a lot.

More recently, a few scenes in Run Lola Run also use a split screen.
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Old 23-05-2003, 22:12   #9
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Lots of examples in "Femme Fatale" and "Cape Fear".

De Palma uses the split screen to stunning effect in "Sisters", "Blow Out" and "Dressed To Kill". Famously used in "Carrie", although I think its misused in the final scene.
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Old 23-05-2003, 22:21   #10
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In the early 70's they went split screen crazy particually on the original 'Thomas Crown affair' and 'the Boston Strangler'.

Of course the TV show '24' uses this effect like nobody's bussiness.
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Old 23-05-2003, 22:24   #11
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Requiem for a Dream
And for the focus trick, nothing did it better then Citizen Kane.
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Old 23-05-2003, 22:34   #12
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For use of split-screen and split diopter shots {too many diopter examples!** I recommend:

Carrie
Blow Out
The Untouchables {Hmm, all Brian De Palma**
Jackie Brown
and Requiem For A Dream
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Old 23-05-2003, 22:48   #13
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One recent one yet to be mentioned is Rules of Attraction - thought the split screen scenes in that really worked.

I really liked how each character shared their own side of the split screen and after some walking around the college campus they finally met and division disappeared to leave the two of them standing opposite each other.
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Old 24-05-2003, 01:33   #14
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Some older films used the split screen effect to get around the Hayes code which stipulated the actors could not be shown in bed together. Course, there was nothing against them both being in bed at the same time, talking on the phone, which was where the split screen came in. Only one I can think of at the moment, though, is the Doris Day classic 'Pillow Talk'.
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Old 24-05-2003, 10:55   #15
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First Thomas Crown featured extensive split-screen - overkill.
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Old 24-05-2003, 11:37   #16
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Reservoir Dogs uses a diopter just after



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Old 26-05-2003, 23:48   #17
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It's been a while since I've seen it, but I'm fairly sure that Star Trek: The Motion Picture (also directed by Robert Wise) uses the Diopter.
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Old 27-05-2003, 00:03   #18
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I may be wrong but I think I read that All The President's Men (Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman) used the Diopter so that in the office scenes the background and foreground were both in focus.

This is from memory though so I may be confusing films.
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Old 27-05-2003, 00:44   #19
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Woodstock(1969)
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Old 27-05-2003, 05:38   #20
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Thanks - there are quite a few there that I have missed.

The split screen can be over used and I think that is why it virtually died out after the first wave. Glad that its making a more subtle come back now. I think Oceans Eleven uses it to good effect unless my mind is playing tricks on me.

Use of the split-diopter is obviously harder to spot as it shouldn't be obvious but it appears that its mainly used by skilled old-school filmmakers - the kind that are dying out.

The cool think is, it makes full use of the widescreen image and in my opinion should be used as often as possible - it must take some setting up though.

Last edited by Solidstate; 27-05-2003 at 05:39.
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