vc032: New England Fall

Fall is the best time in New England: colorful leaves, crisp (and even occasionally warm) days, no bugs, a wonderful smell in the air.

Some would argue that New England fall doesn’t have much competition: winter is too long, spring is too short (if it comes at all), and summer…well, summer can be great, as long as the humidity or the mosquitos don’t kill you.

(I recently overhead someone say that Boston has four seasons: fall, winter, more winter, and road construction.)

But seriously, folks…

I gathered more photos from the trip where “New England Fall Color” was taken (such a gorgeous day!) and put together a slide show of sorts for video #32 of my #100videoclips project.

The Inspiration

There was a very definite inspiration point for this video: The work of Yorgo Alexopoulos. I read a very interesting post on the The Creator’s Project blog about his work, and I knew I wanted to try something like it.

The focus of the Creator’s Project was more on his use of 2.5D or parallax (which I recently explored in video #30: Zombie Mailman Parallax), but I ended up just using moving images, combined with geometric shapes and such. I also “borrowed” Yorgo’s use of a squared-off grid, representing different monitors linked together, as a unifying element.

What I Did

I originally wanted to make something BIG, so I set up a “half 4K” sequence in PremierePro that was 3,240 pixels x 1,080 pixels, with a 12×4 grid of 270-pixel squares. I imagined it being projected in super-high definition on a large white (museum?) wall.

Although my photos were plenty large enough for that resolution, my computer struggled, and dealing with 48 individual squares took a very long time. Then, after a lot of work (during which I was too involved to save my project….) my computer froze, forcing a reboot and a complete restart.

I abandoned that effort and just went for a size that would accommodate a grid of perfect squares within standard HD: 1800 x 1080, or a 5×3 grid of 360-pixel squares.

  • I made the grid in Photoshop.
  • I imported the grid and my photos into PremierePro.
  • I set up a custom sequence size: 1800×1080, 30 fps.
  • I also created a neutral gray color matte that was 270×270, so it could be my mask/matte and/or my moving object in the scene.

I originally planned to use other shapes, as well as try some 2.5D/parallax effects, but everything took a lot longer than planned (partly thanks to the earlier crash), so I just kept it fairly simple.

The rest was playing around with combining the images and squares in interesting ways. I used the “Change Color” effect on the gray squares to change them to whatever color I wanted.

It seems like the sort of thing that one would want to automate, but I did everything by hand, so it took quite a long time, even with “just” 15 squares to manipulate.

For the music, I imported a draft copy of the finished video into Ableton Live, then add some funky Pad sounds, along with some birdsong that I downloaded from The notes were somewhat random, partly because I’m still an Ableton newbie, but I liked to way they sounded together, so I shifted them around enough to sort-of match the movement of the video. (My wife’s reaction: “The music is weird. Like someone is hiding behind the leaves with a knife.” Oh well….)

I’d love the get more into “the Yorgo effect,” but this works as a first effort.