August 29, 2019

Making a Split Screen Ad

One of the great elements inherent in a split screen concept is how immediately different the visuals appear on screen. Our brains are used to seeing a single environment at a time in most videos. Split screen allows us to place the viewer in two locations at once.

Why doesn’t everyone do this?

When it comes to filming a split screen ad, there are some challenges. Let’s think for a moment about the content required to create an excellent split screen. It’s literally TWICE the footage. Not only this, but the footage has to work together seamlessly. More planning, more precision, and more process. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re just telling two stories at the same time, but it’s more along the lines of twice as powerful of a story.

It’s a very specific style that doesn’t always work for every project. You definitely don’t want to overuse this technique.

You may be wondering… If we’re capturing twice as much footage, do these projects require a higher budget? Yes.

One of our philosophies: If you’re investing in advertising, we want to help you spend your money in a way that has the highest return possible for you.

Double Display

Do you remember when TVs first came out with the picture-in-picture (PIP) feature? Apple recently added it into Mac OS, if you weren’t around for the advent of it on TVs. You could set the TV to a main channel, and a secondary channel could be selected to appear in a much smaller rectangle down in the corner of the screen. 

PIP was great for avoiding commercials and not missing important moments if two interesting shows were on. Or, if you’re using PIP on your Mac, maybe you’re watching YouTube videos and working on spreadsheets at the same time.

A split screen ad is much more than just two simultaneous videos playing—the two sides of the screen can work together.

If the PIP example wasn’t colorful enough, think of a security camera setup. Typically, the monitors in a surveillance room feature 4 or more displays at once. How many security cameras did they have in the movie, Heist? Not enough.

Obstacles we overcame to make a sweet ad:

  1. Contrasting imagery on one display
    – The mind can only consciously process so much information at a given time. If the images paired together have no correlation, the imagery becomes bleak, confusing and off-putting. Can you imagine staring at security monitors all day? Maybe not so different from editing video…😆
  2. The split screens are very small
    – It can be hard to discern what is going on with a multi-view format because the image is either cropped or scaled down. Half of every shot will be cut off, so composition during filming becomes even more important!
  3. No customization
    – These formats are very constricting. Chances are, if you’re cropping something that wasn’t filmed for a multi-view display, it will end up cutting off vital information, or you’ll end up with bars on the side resulting from scaling it down.

Doing things differently

Okay, now you’ve bought in to the concept! Hopefully.

We just completed a series of three videos for AgCountry Farm Credit Services using this split screen concept to great effect. Have you seen them?

Keep it simple

When you’re feeding your audience twice the visuals, there’s no need to over-complicate the scenes. With twice as much occurring in each sequence, it may overwhelm a viewer—the opposite effect of what you’d typically want in an ad.

Watch this video for a quick recap

What did you notice?

Even though we had dreamed up scores of shots that we wanted to capture, you always end up limited on shoot day. We strongly feel that it’s better to have more ideas than you can use, rather than not enough, when it comes down to it.

We feel that the split-screen ad we captured has a unique, attention-getting effect that displays the intricate relationship between a farmer and AgC0untry. We went beyond the limits of a screen and maximized the storytelling by doubling the visuals in this video (without creating something messy), and had a lot of fun doing it.

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