Human Studies

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 67–99 | Cite as

Video Recording Practices and the Reflexive Constitution of the Interactional Order: Some Systematic Uses of the Split-Screen Technique

  • Lorenza Mondada
Research Paper


In this paper, I deal with video data not as a transparent window on social interaction but as a situated product of video practices. This perspective invites an analysis of the practices of video-making, considering them as having a configuring impact on both on the way in which social interaction is documented and the way in which it is locally interpreted by video-makers. These situated interpretations and online analyses reflexively shape not only the record they produce but also the interactional order itself as it is documented. Dealing with practices of video-making not as a resource but as a topic, I explore a particular editing practice, the use of the split-screen technique, consisting in combining various camera views within the same image. This technique is now widely used in cinema, professional settings, TV, and social research. I focus on its uses in TV talk shows and debates: through a systematic sequential analysis of the positions where split screen is introduced, I show that directors do orient to the sequential features of interaction in using this technique and that, conversely, their uses of split screen reveal their local understanding—and configuring—of what the interactional dimension of debates and interviews consist of, for all practical purposes.


Video Social interaction Conversation analysis Ethnomethodology Turn-taking Sequentiality Participation Overlap Disagreement 



Elements of this paper have been presented and discussed at the conference Le français dans les médias, Stockholm, June 2005, and at the 9th EMCA Conference, The International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, Bentley College, Waltham, MA USA August 6–9, 2005. Thanks to George Psathas, Christian Greiffenhagen, Jon Hindmarsh, Eric Laurier and Mathias Broth for their valuable comments on earlier versions. Thanks also to two anonymous HS reviewers for their helpful comments. I am grateful to Mary Richards for revising the English version. Any remaining shortcomings are my own responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR Research LabCNRS and University of Lyon, ENS LSHLyon CedexFrance

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