Tips and Techniques: Superimposing

Fill footage is a great place to get creative. You can superimpose footage to create a layered film effect- showing two shots at once by lowering the opacity. This is called – superimposing.


gerund or present participle: superimposing
  1. place or lay (one thing) over another, typically so that both are still evident.
    “the number will appear on the screen, superimposed on a flashing button.”

Here’s an example I just did: The children and the boat are layered over each other- with the opacity of the image brought back- thus making the images see through. The clip with the higher level of opacity will always be the more prominent image- more visible.

Screenshot 2015-08-01 17.32.20

Superimposing expands your ability to play around artistically with the design and feel of your film.

screenshot (1 of 1)In this example, I’ve lowered the opacity on the white text to make it more grey.

Simply lay the image or text on top of the main reel and select it (A).

1.) Scroll to “Face” and select “Show.”

More options will appear.

screenshotwopacity (1 of 1)2.) Lower the opacity to the degree that you find pleasing to you.

Superimposing is linked to impressionistic style of film. Just like art, film has waves. French Impressionists use superimposing to convey more meaning in one shot.

French Impressionism

Cœur fidèle (“Faithful Heart”) epitomizes the quiet side of Impressionism. It’s story is as simple as they get: Marie is a barmaid whose foster parents try to force her to marry a thug, Petit Paul, while she is in love with the sensitive dock-worker Jean. The scenes around the waterside and the famous sequence in a carnival are all done with a realism blended with the subjective camera techniques that convey the characters’ thoughts, perceptions,  and feelings in a way that was fresh at the time.

The exteriors were shot around the docks of Marseille, and Epstein uses superimpositions of the ocean to convey the lovers’ longing. Waves are sometimes superimposed over their figures, or one will look into the water and see the other’s face there, as when Jean envisions multiple images of Marie.
One of the coolest places to find fill footage is to look on public archives and stock footage. Many times the historical footage you see in documentaries or music videos are from these historical archives which belong to the public, this also means you can’t get in trouble for their use.

Here’s an example, I found incredible black and white footage from the 1940’s of a bridge swaying and collapsing. It might sound morbid, but no one was killed and the way that this super bridge sways is something you’l hardly believe until you watch it. I’ve never seen anything like it. Check it out here:

The great thing about these sites is that you are able to download the footage right from the site and it costs- nothing.