A Five-screen Idea

I just came across a video with a really inventive cinematography and editing technique which I thought I’d share as I would absolutely love to be able to incorporate it into my own production. The video is another music video, made to accompany The Overtones’ cover of the 1984 Billy Joel a capella song, ‘The Longest Time’.

I didn’t think I would write full analysis of this video, as it has no narrative, and I’m only interested in one aspect of it. Clearly the aspect if this video I am most interested in is the 5-way split screen. I think this is a wonderful technique for so many reasons.

  • Firstly, it captures the viewer’s attention, as it is a technique rarely used in cinema, especially not a 5-way split.
  • Secondly it holds the viewer’s attention. It is relatively easy to keep up with one single narrative, allowing viewers to easy dip in and out of a narrative and not be confused. However, when more than one narrative is created and paralleled with another, the viewer has no choice but to attempt to keep up with at least one of the narratives if they are to continue engaging with the piece of media.
  • Thirdly, it is an effective way of presenting events which are happening at the same time, especially if the events in the narratives affect one another.
  • Also, it allows for easy build up of dramatic devices such as irony and tension

If I were to use this technique, obviously I would not be able to replicate it as well as in the example above. For example, the effect where the 5 screens slowly merge to become one is obviously way too advanced for me to perform, especially in the given production time. Also, in this example, most of the video is constructed of this technique, whereas I would obviously not be able to do this.

Gatherings, findings and such

I would love to be able to incorporate this technique, however, given the limited production time and expertise I would only be able to use it briefly in key moments, for example, as a transition between events in order to build tension and such.


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