Whisper/Scream is a piece I made in November 2019 for my COMM 339 experimental film class, where the assignment was to “construct a visual representation of whispering or screaming, or a juxtaposition of the two.”
As a Penn State student, I’m obliged to have a vast personal collection of blue and white pompoms, amassed over years of home football games. However, as I was setting out to complete this assignment I was fresh off my trip back home for the Nationals’ World Series parade, where they were throwing these red pompoms around like candy:
So an easy comparison—white to red, whispering to screaming—came to mind. I set the white pompom up by my apartment “balcony,” which is really a glorified window with a railing:
After lighting the pompom with some LITRApros and shooting for a few minutes, I had enough footage of it lightly rustling in the afternoon breeze. I thought there was an interesting comparison to be made between a “whisper” at full speed, and a “scream” in slow motion. So I set the red pompom up on our industrial Costco fan from our dorm days, shooting both at full speed, whipping around, and slower, mirroring the whispers.
These scream shots were lit with LITRApros as well; one at 5600K behind the fan to shine white through to the camera (also at 5600K), the other down at 3200K spotting the pompom to bring out the warm/red tones. For one of the slow motion angles, I found a nice flare generated by holding this second LITRA just out of frame, and moved it by hand during the shot to animate the flare right in the footage:
I found sounds of wind at various speeds, and cut between them to match what I had going on visually and help sell the comparison. The split screens were planned from the start, which influenced how I framed some of my shots:
All fairly straightforward—the craziest part about this one is that the Nationals won the World Series.
Shot on a Nikon D810, and a Panasonic AG-DVX200 (slow motion).
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