How to Create a Split-Screen Effect with iMovie and Screenflow

Have you watched a movie or a video in which two different scenes were played side-by-side on the same screen and wondered, “How’d they do that?” Well, it’s actually easier than you might think, especially if you use movie-editing software for non-professionals such as iMovie.

Split screen is a filmmaking technique that first was used in the movies to allow an actor to appear twice on screen….perhaps playing twins. Before digital technology, split screen was somewhat challenging to accomplish—even for professional filmmakers. But today it’s fairly straightforward with movie-editing software.

In the following video tutorial, I’ll show you step-by-step how to create a split-screen effect using iMovie (Version 10.1.1). There are limitations with iMovie, however. So I additionally show how to use the screen casting software, Screenflow, to edit imported video clips to create a split-screen effect. There are professional editing applications such as Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro that can also be used for this, but these programs have a much steeper learning curve. By comparison, user-friendly editing applications such as iMovie will let you do some pretty sophisticated effects in your video but don’t require advanced editing skills. Even a beginner can learn this editing technique in iMovie with just a bit of training.

If you already have iMovie or Screenflow, then this tutorial will help you learn how to do a split-screen effect. However, you do need to be familiar with the basics of editing with one or both of these applications before trying to apply the split-screen effect. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should at least know how to start a project in the application and import media. Direct link to video in case player window is not visible.

So there you have it. Really easy, right? Try using split screen in your next video and let me know how it worked out.

Ocean 180 Video Challenge

The winners of the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge will be announced next Tuesday (February 23, 2016) in a Town Hall panel discussion at the 2016 Ocean Sciences meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

I’m looking forward to being one of the panelists to introduce the video winners. If you are planning to be at the Ocean Sciences meeting, please consider attending the Town Hall, which will begin at 12:45 pm on February 23 in Room 217-219 in the Convention Center.

See the flier embedded below. You can download and share it with others.

Come and bring a friend to see some great science videos and hear discussions of how to use video to share your science with others.

Download (PDF, 5.77MB)

Can Oyster Farming Help Fight Nutrient Pollution?

I mentioned in a previous post that I taught a 1-day workshop, Beginning Videography for Science Professionals, at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation meeting last November. Each participant worked on an individual video project as we went through the practice exercises.

One of the participants, Abby Lunstrum, a Master’s student at the University of Virginia, recently posted on YouTube the video (Farming Oysters…to Fight Pollution?) she started during the workshop, and I thought I would share it with you. This is an excellent example of how to tell a science story using an engaging approach. The information was presented clearly and concisely and illustrated well with visuals. I thought her use of stop-motion animation to summarize her research on oyster farming and nitrogen pollution was especially effective. Fantastic job!

Here it is (direct link in case the player window is not visible):

360° Time Lapse with a GoPro Hero 4

Are you looking for an easy way to create a brief video that shows a 360° view of a natural landscape, a park or playground, a city block, or the interior of a building? I’ve produced a two-part tutorial showing how to do it with a GoPro camera, an egg timer, and GoPro Studio.

If you conduct field research, this might be a great way to document a study site or create a unique view of whatever you are studying. Put the time lapse video on your website or use it in a presentation.

How to Record a Movie with QuickTime

Would you like to record a PowerPoint presentation along with your voice explaining your slides…perhaps to put on your website or to submit as a video abstract for your next journal article…but don’t know how?

An easy way to record your computer screen and audio is with QuickTime, the video player software that comes with the Mac operating system (also available for Windows). You can also record the screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with Quicktime…as long as the mobile device is attached to your computer via the lightning port and is running iOS 8 or later. In addition, you can record yourself with the built-in camera on your laptop or create a podcast by making an audio recording with QuickTime.

In the following video tutorial, I show how to make movie, audio, and screen recordings with QuickTime, which can then be edited (the previous post shows how to edit QuickTime clips).