Suppose you have person A in one room, placing a phone call to person B in another room. How would you show the resulting phone conversation?

I can think of two ways: One is to split the screen, so person A is shown on the left side, and person B on the right side.

The other way, is to have alternating "full shots" switching back and forth between persons A and B.

What are these video techniques called? Are there other techniques that I've overlooked?

  • 1
    The technique of intercutting two scenes in different locations is called 'Parallel Editing'. is.gd/C9x55l
    – stib
    Mar 2, 2015 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


I like to think of alternate ways to do things, so here are a few.

  1. One variation of the split screen is a picture-in-picture layout, where Caller B is in a small (often rectangular) box overlaid on the main shot of Caller A.
  2. Another variation of the split screen is a "cloudy" picture-in-picture, where Caller B appears as a cloud-shaped image with fuzzy edges overlaid on the main shot of Caller A, usually floating above Caller A's head. This is sometimes used to make it look as though Person A is thinking of Person B, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it as a phone call too.
  3. If the call occurs in present day, a video call on a computer screen can show Caller A and Caller B in a variety of layouts. It could even include Callers C, D, E, etc.
  4. Some scenes only show Caller A, and Caller B is heard without being seen.
  5. In the movie The Player, there is a creepy scene in which Tim Robbins calls a woman he's attracted to / stalking. He's on his cell phone, outside of her house, at night. She can't see him but he is looking in through her windows while they talk. So there are some 2-shots that show both of them on the phone simultaneously. (It's briefly included in the trailer at 1:10.)

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