How to use a Split Focus Diopter by Shanks FX
A split focus diopter is an unique way to achieve the illusion of deep focus. The half convex glass attaches in front of the camera's lens to make half the lens nearsighted.
Before the digital age of cinema, many directors made frequent use of the split-focus diopter.
The split diopter allowed directors to capture two main focal points in just one shot, rather than having to shoot two different angles.
I've always noticed split diopter shots in older movies but never really researched how they were done. I got inspired to find out more when I saw this technique used in The Hateful Eight (in glorious 70mm).
I re-watched Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained & Kill Bill Vol I, and was surprised that I couldn't find any split diopter shots.
Here is a great little montage of split diopter shots in some well known films.
I got my split diopter for 35 dollars on Ebay... Look for "77mm Split Field Two Field Special Effects" (this diopter was equivalent to a +2.0 power in reading glasses)
PS- You may notice that there is a small little crack in my split diopter. That crack happened from the frisbee golf shoot which was the first day I got it. -said
Text, images and video via Shanks FX