W.T.F.I.T.S.

Featured on the Stetson University Digital Arts Blog and Art Department Website
Won Audience Choice - Festival of the Moving Image 2011

Film by Sarah Buetens and Michelle DuCharme
Electron: Heather Grove
Proton: Caity Peterson
Bacteria: Courtney Gardner
Bacteriophage: Jaclyn Nelson
Gazelle: Carrie Bow
Cheetah: Amber B.
Barn: Sarah Buetens
Fire: Philip Meisner
Planet: Michelle DuCharme
Meteor: (Amber's friend)
Universe: Tamara Mancuso
Black Hole: Emily Dwyer

This project started out as an exploration in size, inspired by a short by Red Bucket Films. After watching the short, my collaborator, Sarah Buetens, and I started arguing with my roommate about how if she were painted as a single cell, most people wouldn't understand what she was. From there, we got the idea to paint all of our friends as things of various sizes, from atomic particles, to the entire universe. One member of each pair would try to destroy the other. Instead of zooming out to reveal the traditionally larger pair, we would zoom into the winner. Eventually, the entire universe would get sucked into a black hole, and the video would go in reverse order. This time, the other member of the pair would be the winner. This allows the video to loop infinitely.

While we were editing our footage, we realized that we were making what looked like a fake school presentation that you'd see on television. So, when we presented our work, Sarah and I dressed as high school scene kids. The decision to go in character inspired the name of this work as well, as we decided high school kids would think they were clever if they tried to secretly swear in the name of their project. We turned in our presentation on VHS.

It was interesting to explore how people in our class treated us differently while we were in character. Someone who didn't know me actually believed I was 16. Our friends even treated us differently, which I would take as a sign that our characters were successful.

We wanted the sound track to not quite fit the action on screen, and to give it a home made quality. All of the sounds were made by our bodies. It ties into the visuals in the sense that each character is painted on a human canvas, and each sound is created by a human. Both are very aesthetically makeshift. However, the sounds we made have little to nothing to do with life and death on the Serengeti or raging barn fires.

Overall, I think this work evolved and came together successfully and almost developed a life of its own. If I were to create another video like this, I would take greater care to clean up the green screen effects and to light the green screen more effectively. I have also since learned how to export video with an alpha channel from Final Cut Pro, which would have helped when round tripping to Motion.

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