How to Create the Split Screen Effect in Video Editing [Reel Rebel #27]

How to Create the Split Screen Effect in Video Editing [Reel Rebel #27]

The split screen effect, also known as picture in picture or video overlaying, is the concept of showing two video streams simultaneously (traditionally side-by-side) in a given sequence.  There are several instances in which you may want to use a split screen effect editing technique – when creating fast paced promotional videos, comparison videos or even to make it look as if you are having a conversation with yourself! On this week's Reel Rebel, Stephen demonstrates how to do the split screen edit using iMovie or Final Cut.

How to Create the Split Screen Edit in IMovie (tutorial)

For you amateur editors rocking iMovie, here’s a quick step by step to get a split screen going on your video.

  1. Load the two clips into your iMovie project.
  2. Go up to iMovie > Preferences and make sure "Show advanced tools" is checked off.
  3. After the first two steps are done, take your first clip, your base clip, and drop it in your timeline then comes the hard part.
  4. Drag your second clip over the first clip, and when you see the little plus sign on your cursor appear, simply release your mouse button.
  5. Select Side-by-Side. You'll see your second clip appear ABOVE your first in the timeline and if you drag your playhead over that area you'll see the default effect.

By double-clicking on that clip you can adjust the way the clip transitions in and out and then you've got yourself a split screen effect that's all yours.

How to Edit the Split Screen Effect in Final Cut (tutorial)

If you have got a copy of Final Cut, the process is simple and your options are basically limitless.

  1. Same first step as before, load up your clips to the project. You should have this under control by now.
  2. Then simply stick your base clip on track one and your overlay clip on track two, or anywhere above your base clip. Before we move on we need to make sure you have a particular setting set up the right way.
  3. Above the Canvas window, your output window, there’s a drop down menu with what looks like an unfinished box on it. Click that and make sure “Image + Wireframe” is selected. This allows you to click on your clips in the canvas and move them and scale them without have to punch numbers into the next menu.
  4. This is where your options open up like flood gates. Double click the overlay clip on the timeline.
  5. In your canvas window and open the motion tab, and go nuts! You can scale and move your clip from here, but you can also rotate, distort and most importantly crop your clip.

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View The Full Video Transcript:

Hey I’m Stephen Schweickart with this week’s ReelSEO Reel Rebel and today we’re diving back into the advanced editing techniques with split screen.

I’m going to assume you’ve already watched our simple editing techniques videos, these guys right here and you’ve already mastered our first advanced editing technique here. If you haven’t get outta here! Watch these videos and catch up. It’ll take you like six minutes.

If you stuck around then great. You’re an editing wizard already and we’re going to help expand your toolbox with this fun technique called split screen. Or picture in picture. Or video overlaying. Or any one of a dozen other names for this idea. The main concept stays the same no matter what you call it--you’re showing two video streams simultaneously.

There’s a lot of reasons to do this. Fast paced promotional videos, comparison videos do this a lot, and you can even set it up to make it look like you’re having a conversation...with yourself! Hey Stephen! Hey Stephen! Well that was weird.

For you amateur editors rocking iMovie, here’s a quick step by step to get a split screen going on your video. First, load the two clips into your iMovie project. Next, go up to iMovie > Preferences and make sure "Show advanced tools" is checked off. When that's done, take your first clip, your base clip, and drop it in your timeline then comes the hard part. Drag your second clip over the first clip, and when you see the little plus sign on your cursor appear, simply release your mouse button then select Side-by-Side. You'll see your second clip appear ABOVE your first in the timeline and if you drag your playhead over that area you'll see the default effect. By double-clicking on that clip you can adjust the way the clip transitions in and out and then you've got yourself a split screen effect that's all yours.

But if you’ve got a copy of Final Cut, the process is simple and your options are basically limitless. Same first step as before, load up your clips to the project. You should have this under control by now. Then simply stick your base clip on track one, and your overlay clip on track two, or anywhere above your base clip. Before we move on we need to make sure you have a particular setting set up the right way. Above the Canvas window, your output window, there’s a drop down menu with what looks like an unfinished box on it. Click that and make sure “Image + Wireframe” is selected. This allows you to click on your clips in the canvas and move them and scale them without have to punch numbers into the next menu.

This is where your options open up like flood gates. Double click the overlay clip on the timeline, then in your canvas window and open the motion tab, and go nuts! You can scale and move your clip from here, but you can also rotate, distort and most importantly crop your clip. It’s really easy and if you’re a huge editing nerd (which I’m sure you are) you’re in for quite the party. Just tinker to your hearts content, render it, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

So if me and my super good looking friend here helped you out with our super quick, super free tips, Just click that like button, subscribe And enjoy even more tips on how to make your videos not suck. You are one handsome devil you know that?

About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Anthony

    Cool tip but what is the go with Stephen's beard. The big man's going ferral!
    ;-)) @FreeMindGuy

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