Technical Context - An Historical Document
In the Year of our Lord 1989 (continued)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Much of the “staging” of Split’s photography was actually done later in editing.  Chris Shaw added zooms, slowed down or sped up shots, added double-exposures, and much more.  Today, all these effects can easily be done with editing programs like Final Cut.  But back in the Pre-Digital Age of 1989, the only way to do them was with an optical printer: a movie camera aligned to laboriously re-shoot, one frame at a time, the original footage as sprockets passed it through a gate -- yet another incredibly slow, clunky, manual way of doing things that the computer has completely replaced.
 
FAKE COMPUTER EFFECTS: Fudging it in the Pre-Computer Era
 
 
Above and Left: stills from the hand-made ‘Physiognomy Reference File’ sequence in Split.
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Written in 1984, Split imagined a futuristic world in which every person’s facial features were stored in a ‘Physiognomy Reference File’, enabling computers to instantly identify anyone seen in an omnipresent web of surveillance cameras.  To visualize these Reference Files for the movie, an actor was filmed while he spun on a piano stool, and then the actor’s body and the background were removed from each frame by hand and replaced by a grid to simulate a digitized head spinning in computer space.  Today, we have all the software tools necessary to create digital heads for real.  And, we all have computers powerful enough to easily spin them.  And, we have facial recognition programs that can instantly pick people out of crowds.  And, we have vast, ever-growing networks of surveillance cameras too, which
now extend into outer space...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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