Proof: You don’t need a fancy camera to tell a good story – Splitscreen: A Love Story

This video proves that it really doesn’t matter what you shoot with, it’s how you tell the story.

James W. Griffiths’ Splitscreen: A Love Story  won the Nokia Shorts competition in 2011. James has directed other great short films since then. However, this is one of the videos that inspired this blog. 

Where did the idea for Splitscreen: A Love Story come from?

The brief was to make a film about anything but, it had to be shot on two Nokia N8 mobile phones. I think the technique evolved from wanting to tell two separate stories at the same time, then realizing I could do that in a split screen where both sides matched up.

What do you love about this piece?

I like how most things match up very well. We were very lucky with some of the shots, for example, we didn’t plan the shot where a bike rides past the camera. My editor Marianne Kuopanportti found that footage when we were editing.

How difficult was it shooting on a phone?

We found it quite liberating. Using just a phone we could just take it out of our pockets and shoot anything that was good for the story. There was no setting up of lights, no focus pulling, no lens changing. We used a tripod for most of the shots, and we could also rest it up against posts and walls, so using the phone was a big advantage.

You told me you didn’t storyboard any of these shot. How were you able to match the shots so well?

We had two phones, so we could watch footage back on one, while matching the shot on the other.

Did you shoot in Paris first? Or New York City?

Paris first, then New York, then back to Paris.

Everything is inspired by everything. What’s your philosophy on imitation vs inspiration?

Originality is what we should strive for. Of course inspiration can be taken from what has gone before it but if everybody just copied instead of innovating then we would all still be making silent black and white movies.

James Griffiths was recognized in TIME magazine’s The Top 10 Everything of 2011. His film Room 8  was picked as  one of Vimeo’s top 10 videos of 2013.

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