gareth harper , Sep 14, 2005; 06:38 p.m.
Split grade printing is where you do the main exposure using a combination of the 00 and 5 filters only on VC paper.
When I do it I select the 5 grade filter first (you can do the 00 first if you like), and do a test strip for the shadows or blacks. I pick the time that just gives me a true deep black where I want it. Then I expose a whole sheet of paper with the 5 filter for the selected time. I then switch to the 00 filter and do a test strip (on the full sheet) on top of the grade 5 exposure. Now I'll select the time that gives me the highlight I want. Then you simply combine the two exposures on one sheet. Of course you can add in a little dodging, and burning at whatever grade you feel like after that.
Hope that makes sense.
Though it's seen as an advanced technique, it is quite simple really and can be great for begineers if you are having a hard time selecting the right grade and/or getting your contrast correct.