Video below. HD recommended.

OR Motion Poetry – The Red and Gold from Jennifer Chow on Vimeo.

Poetry Text. I know it’s not the best poem ever but if I kept editing it, it’ll never be done…

Red & Gold

Leaves, they lie
scattered on the ground
as my own scattered thoughts
my dreams and desires
in their red and gold hues
crumbing, dying on the streets

Sometimes I wade through my
scattered thoughts
knee-deep in the red and gold
not sure what I’m looking for
maybe I’ll find one to believe in
maybe I’ll find what I’m looking for

But maybe my thoughts are hopelessly
clinging on to all I know
even though I know they must let go
down into the pile of the fallen
red and gold

Gold leaves, they quiver in sleep
the golden moments from long ago
scattered along the grass
where did the time go?

Red leaves, they rest
bright fallen hearts
scattered on the gravel path
but what is love anyway?

So I walk along alone
trudging through the fallen red and gold
trudging through my scattered thoughts
drifting in the refreshing chill

But I wonder
what I should believe anymore
as I wander
in the red and gold


So I’ve thought of combining multimedia and literature for awhile now and I finally made one. I’ve made two previous poetry videos but they weren’t with footage that I shot (one kind of sucks and it didn’t help I lost the original rendered file and the other is kinda depressing – both horse-related). So… yeah. Also I saw no one else doing it so I figured I should…

This is one that I did myself without horses this time (but a lot of foliage)!. It’s called “Red & Gold” and uses fall imagery as a reflection of scattered thoughts/dreams/desires. My current obsession is a reflection of life, confusion and uncertainty in general so get used to it! Of course it’s a short. Probably the best genre to shove it in is “experimental” as  “cinematic poetry” or “motion poetry” or something like that…it’s kinda unique I guess.

Everything but music by me. (The only thing I don’t do is make music.) Music is Creative Commons licensed.

If you’re wondering, I wrote the poem first, so I had an idea of focus. Then I went out and shot (this one is all shot near where I live). Then I completely rewrote the poem….a few times. Now it’s not the greatest poem in the world but I wanted to try this anyway.

Shot on a Panasonic DMC-ZS10 (a zoom point and shoot still camera that shoots video in HD).

My first project with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects CS3 (old version but my old computer probably won’t like the new one…). This one used mostly text presets because I’m lazy (I did not feel like animating every word or scripting or doing anything fancy like that) and I will fully admit that don’t really know what I’m doing…and yes Google was my friend  First time in professional video software (was using consumer previously) but I am somewhat (vaguely) familiar with other Adobe software (Photoshop, some Flash) so it wasn’t that hard to pick up…but it was kind of confusing compared to what I was used to (consumer software). After Effects is complicated but it’s a bit like Flash in a way (in terms of how it works) so it’s not too terrible… The fact my computer is to slow to do real time renders doesn’t make it easier. The time is all a bit off partly because I never really got to see my video until it rendered (nearly an hour later)!!

Things I learned
  1. After Effects is complicated
  2. Scripting/Programming has uses in surprising places (After Effects has scripting ability..I don’t, however)
  3. Presets are wonderful (although I sometimes do a bit, I am not manually animating every word by word)
  4. I need to move slower when shooting
  5. I also need to stop accideentally zooming the wrong way
  6. Either I’m a crappy videographer and/or I need a tripod when it comes to filming trees and such
  7. Things never occur at the right time (i.e. birds never fly and leaves never fall while I’m filming! Or taking photos for that matter.)
  8. Overwriting your work sucks
  9. So does scattering it everywhere (though it sucks much less)
  10. Trim your After Effects composition
  11. Renders take a long time

I did up the contrast in most of the clips shot on an overcast day.

This video is my first video and as such is not meant to be a literary, cinematic or philosophic revelation. But at some point I decided the leaves are a great analogy for my thoughts. Also, I just wanted to get this done for no apparent reason…

Things that I will do differently next time

  • Do the fades in After Effects (that are within the same scene/stanza)
  • Use more blurring – especially with motion to follow as the eye will be distracted by that
  • Don’t put text and distracting images together  on different sides of the screen (like the crow) as that can pull the viewer away from the text
  • Work more on finding and editing soundtrack (so it’s not quite so slapped on)
  • Make it more smoother/slicker
  • Improve timing
  • Hold camera more steady
  • Take longer shots
  • Use more unusual angles
  • Make it LESS choppy!!!

Geek Stats & Credits

Written, Shot & Edited by Me
Literature type: Poetry, free-verse
Software: Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects CS3 (on Windows 7)
Render time: approx 50min!
Camera: Panasonic DMC-ZS10 (yes, a point and shoot)
Music: Windswept by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Font: Sanchez

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