Split-Screen in Chelsea Girls - Free Paper Sample

Published: 2023-11-09
Split-Screen in Chelsea Girls - Free Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Technology Movie
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1497 words
13 min read


The concept of the split-screen has been utilised in film and video production over the years to combine two or more actions on a single film. It is the visible division of a screen, either in half or more simultaneous images with or without an explicit borderline. Split-screen was achieved traditionally by the use of the optical printer, and today; it uses digital technology to make that duplication of actions look realistic. In split-screen, an actor appears twice, and this is achieved by locking the camera and shooting the scene twice, with one appearing on the left and one other on the right.

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Chelsea Girls, a film made in 1966 was one of the films utilising split-screen. The film features the lives of various women who live in New York along with other superstars. The film utilises split-screen for three and a half hours, along with an alternating soundtrack attached to each scene. The film also uses alternations between black and white and colour scenes. Although criticised for the lack of a formal narrative, Chelsea Girls uses split-screen to purposefully entertain its audience in the latest technology of the time.

Concept of Split-Screen

The concept of split-screen is primarily utilised to prove the appearance of meaning to the film. According to critics, the film features split-screen improvisation but is poorly shot, not edited, and has perversion that affects the meaning of the story. The film was created in such a way that the director wanted to just pass a message to the audience through the latest technology. The use of split-screen in filmmaking is important because of the ability to hide some unwanted and noticeable shots that are not critical to the audience. Many film editors and VFX artists use split-screen to hide content that should not be revealed to the public at that instance and time.

Chelsea Girls utilised split-screen to hide the fact that it had no titles or credits to the writers. The audience would be glued to the technology used and forget about the titles and credits required during filmmaking. Additionally, the soundtrack attached to the film is not understandable. As such, split-screen hides the fact that there is music that the audience could concentrate upon. In most films of the contemporary period, music accompaniments are made to align with the content being shot in the film. Even so, the soundtrack has no meaning and does not resonate with the pictures being presented in the film. As such, the use of split-screen ensures that the audience gets their attention shifted and diverted to the video.

Simultaneous Scenes

Chelsea Girls features two scenes that happen simultaneously. The film was shot without purpose or meaning and was not intended to be released to the audience so that they can seek meaning in the content. The primary intention of Andy Warhol, the director was to offer entertainment by featuring ladies and other people from New York. The two different scenes make the audience capture two stories at the same time. The use of split-screen is, therefore, critical in letting spectators follow two stories at the same time. Besides, there was no unique technology at that time, a factor that prompted the filmmaker to concentrate on two stories that happen simultaneously.

The use of split-screen is important for filmmakers as they can create films with alternating colours. Nonetheless, the spectators can be informed of the meaning of the film through the alternating colours featured in the film. Chelsea Girls starts in black and white and ends the narrative in colour pictures. Colour is an important element in movies as it assists in simplifying film complexity. The use of colour in Chelsea Girls ensures that the spectators can find the best mood to follow the film, develop emotions, and also let them understand the setting of the scene. In other aspects, the use of alternating colours ensures that information is delivered concerning the characters and settings. The repetition of black and white colour ensures that the audience can associate the film to a single idea. As soon as it changes to the coloured video, the spectators understand that the concept of the film has changed. Therefore, the use of split-screen advances the use of different colours, which are important for both the spectators and the filmmaker.

Reflex Action

The use of split-screen in Chelsea Girls ensures that an activity similar to reflex action is evidenced to the spectators. The various videos combined through the split-screen incessantly go in and out of focus. The audience can feel the actions being performed unconsciously through the split-screen. The differential focus ensures that the small region in focus is clear to the audience's eyes while the background is blurred to avoid too much concentration on the background. As such, the audience perceives only the main subject of the film. Even so, the differential focus is not utilised too much in the movie to avoid the effects of the flow of the film. Combining differential focus with split-screen ensures that the audience follows up the content of the movie effectively and gets more meaning of the film. Therefore, the use of split-screen exacerbates the importance of differential focus, which reinforces the meaning of the film to the audience.

The use of split-screen ensures that the zooming effect created by the zoom lens is evidenced to the audience. The use of zoom ensures that an audience can instigate various reactions. More often than not, the zoom is evidenced when the narrative is being told, and the girls from New York are reacting to the narratives. The use of the zooming effect on split-screen ensures that the audience can understand the feelings of a character and capture or respond to their emotions throughout the film. In Chelsea Girls, the zooming effect is such that the insignificant details are stressed, whereas the significant ones are ignored. This aligns with the criticisms made on the film regarding poor photography and inconsistent editing. The use of split-screen, therefore, is important to indirectly stress-specific meaning and detail in a film.

The use of split-screen as a special effect in Chelsea Girls ensures that the film is straightforward and done in motion-picture photography. Additionally, the effect ensures that manipulation is revealed to the audience. In some instances, a combination of pictures ensures that the production of the film is enhanced, along with the mood and developing story. This is similar to other effects, including wipes, matte shots, and rear projections. The use of split-screen ensures that the audience can understand that the film is created from the cult for its initial acceptance. As such, Warhol ensured that he put every appearance of meaning to the film, which can be comprehended by the public.

The use of split-screen is also significant to spectators as it ensures that they can perceive the featured appearances at the same time and within a short period. Besides, the spectators can view every part of the movie effectively, including through the concepts of sex, drugs, and drama. For instance, Warhol creates an environment of sensory overload when he casts the perfect spell. This lets the audience feel tensed and anticipated. The audience feels meaning in the alternating events of drug pushing and using, sadism and masochism, as well as the beauty of different characters in the film. The audience can relate the characters to visually and verbally charismatic individuals, who have the freedom to shoot on the camera.


The idea of split-screen or double screen has been a significant concept in the film industry, used in instances where the filmmaker or director wants to attach appearance to meaning. Chelsea Girls is one of the films that feature split-screen to avoid the lack of meaning as commonly understood by critics. The film, through split-screen, has meaning, hides unwanted scenes in the movie, hides the fact that the movie does not have titles and credits, and diverts the attention of spectators from the music that is not understandable. Split-screen is also advantageous as it is easy to create alternating colours, utilise concepts such as differential focus and zoom, and also ensures that the film is straightforward and perceived as a motion-picture film. Chelsea Girls utilises split-screen to the advantage of spectators and Warhol the director.


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Split-Screen in Chelsea Girls - Free Paper Sample. (2023, Nov 09). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/split-screen-in-chelsea-girls-free-paper-sample

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