VistaGlide was a robotic, motion-control VistaVision camera dolly system that allowed an actor to play two or more parts in a single scene, with a computer controlling the pan, tilt, focus, zoom and the split line during each pass.
It was developed for use in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III where several instances of multiple characters or other selves are shown side by side – thus enabling the actors to seemingly interact with themselves, walk around themselves, and even pass objects between themselves.
It should be noted that not all scenes involving one actor portraying multiple characters or other selves were done using the VistaVision VistaGlide camera. Some shots in Back to the Future Part II and Part III were done using bluescreen technology.
Shots using VistaGlide
- Shots with both Biff Tannen and Griff Tannen, both played by Thomas F. Wilson.
- Shots with both Marty McFly and Martin McFly Jr., played by Michael J. Fox
- The McFly family 2015 dinner scene, with Fox playing Marty, Martin Jr., and Marlene McFly.
- Shot with both versions of Jennifer Parker, played by Elisabeth Shue.
- Shots of both versions of Biff Tannen in 1955.
- Shots of both versions of Emmett Brown in 1955, played by Christopher Lloyd.
- Shots of both versions of Marty at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
- Shot of Marty carrying Emmett from the Packard into his mansion, during which the rain stops, the sun rises and becomes broad daylight as the camera moves toward the mansion.
- Shots of Marty and Seamus McFly at the McFly farm fence, at the dinner table, and at the Palace Saloon before the gunfight.
"Feature Commentary with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3", Back to the Future DVD boxed set.