In Fight Club (1999), you can actually see Tyler Durden (aka, Brad Pitt) in a few frames before we ever meet him. I understand this is a nod to how Tyler did something similar during his job as a projectionist. But my question is, how did David Fincher film those momentary appearances? Was it all editing? I am interested to know how he actually filmed these sequences and positioned Brad Pitt accordingly.

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    Why is this a duplicate? The linked question is about whether subliminal messages/marketing is effective. This asks how they are filmed and inserted into a particular movie.
    – iandotkelly
    May 15, 2018 at 15:28
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    That said, I don't really understand the confusion on the part of the asker. What aspects of this are you confused about?
    – iandotkelly
    May 15, 2018 at 15:29
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    @Paulie_D We don't base duplicates on answers, only on questions. The two questions are unrelated as the suggested duplicate doesn't involve Fight Club at all.
    – Catija
    May 15, 2018 at 15:38
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    I can't find the source for it anymore. but there is a scene in the movie that perfectly describes exactly what the direct said they did. which is they filmed scenes where brad pitt was in the scene, then took just one or two frames of film from that scene and spliced them into the scene when he wasn't. the same way brad pitts character spliced the porn scene at the theater.
    – jedicurt
    May 15, 2018 at 15:52
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    @CGCampbell It's more a Travel thing. The network policy is to base duplicates on questions. A few sites ignore this guidance because they find it works better for their site to go that route.
    – Catija
    May 15, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Regarding whether "it's all editing", the answer is yes, and that's not just this splice. All of what you see when you see a finished movie in a theater is the result of editing.

In his Masterclass, David Mamet repeated a maxim regarding movies: "You make a movie three times. Once when you write it, once when you film it, and once when you edit it."

To actually answer the question, the frames that were spliced in were filmed at some point, and likely many frames or even feet were filmed. Then, during editing, a few frames were selected for each splice and edited into the desired spot in the film.

In terms of how he filmed it, they just picked a set and had Brad Pitt in costume and makeup and filmed some footage. They also could have easily spliced in footage filmed for totally different scenes.

When Fight Club was made, digital film editing using tools such as Avid was quite popular, and Fight Club was almost certainly edited digitally. This makes adding frames much easier than editing by cutting film. But splicing frames by actually cutting film isn't super difficult. Fight Club shows Tyler doing this in his spare time while working as a projectionist.


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