Do you want to know how to make video book trailers? I’m self-taught, so don’t expect sophistication. But I’ve had a couple of compliments on them even if earlier ones were a bit long. Stick with me and you’ll have a trailer to put up on youtube, vimeo and blazing saddles.
Here we go. If you look at your Start Menu, you’ll see that you have a programme called Windows Movie Maker. Click on that. Click on File and select ‘New Project’. If you have your book cover, select ‘Add Video and Photo’. Find your cover and open it into Movie Maker.
Okay, you’ve got your first still. Next, you’ll probably want to do an intro, so click on ‘Title’. You’ll see some words on the black screen. Delete these and add your own. You’ll want the title of your book, author’s name and mention the series name if it’s part of a series. You can alter the colour and size of the words and move them about the screen. Once you’re happy, click outside the text box.
Next you’ll want some pictures. I bought my photos from http://www.fotolia.com, but there are plenty of stock photo sites out there – http://www.iStockPhoto.com is another site I’ve used. With both of these sites, you designate what rights you wish to purchase and buy credits. Medium size seems to suit most requirements. On these photo sites you can store a selection of pictures in your own lightbox. You can then go through deciding which pix you want. Once you’ve selected suitable pictures and paid for them with the credits you purchased (a Standard License is likely to do for most book trailers, unless you envisage selling many thousands of books), you can download them. Once you’ve done that, you need to open up Windows Movie Maker again and import the pictures (Add videos and photos). I would advise importing these into WMM in the order you intend to use them, otherwise you will have to shift and shunt them about. You might as well get them right the first time. I would now save as a Project
I’d learned from my earlier efforts and for this one I wrote out a short synopsis of the novel then broke it into bite-sized pieces. Don’t make each of your pieces of text much more than half-a-dozen words or your viewer won’t be able to read them quickly enough and will just end up confused. There is, I seem to recall reading somewhere, a way to increase the viewing time of a particular frame, but I can’t remember what it is. Anyway, I still don’t think you should have great screeds of text.
To place the text, make sure you’ve on HOME (top left), then click on Title and name your book and yourself as the author. Next click on your first picture and then click on CAPTIONS and type in the first of your short blocks of text. These will go either on the picture itself or on a separate screen,depending on which version of Move Maker you have. You might have to alter the colour, size, boldness or placing of your text if it goes on top of the picture. You do this by highlighting and then select bold, size and colour. You move the words around by clicking on the dotted lines. Sorry. I don’t want to teach Granny to suck eggs, but I don’t know what level of computer use I’m addressing here
Carry on placing your CAPTIONS against each picture until you’ve typed up all of your synopsis. Try not to make this too long as the shortest Video Book Trailers are regarded as the best. Brief and punchy should be your aim. You may need to experient with colours for your text as sometimes particular colours won’t show up well if they have to be placed right over the picture rather than to the side which makes for greater clarity.
Here’s a brief example of how I wrote out what I was doing.
PIX: BOOK COVER
TEXT: Dead Before Morning
A Rafferty and Llewellyn Crime Novel
by Geraldine Evans
TEXT: DI Joe Rafferty
PICTURE: A hand holding the word ‘JOB’ ( In the UK, a policeman’s profession is
known as ‘The Job’.).
TEXT has just been promoted.
PICTURE: Partying People
TEXT: But the morning after the night before
PICTURE: Man with tie undone and lipstick on collar.
TEXT a girl has been found murdered.
Well, I think you get the idea. It carries on like that, text and picture, text and picture till I get to the end. You want a brief snapshot of the book, that’s all, the shorter the better. Choose your words and pictures carefully. Your aim should be to try to make an impact and give the gist of the book. For my latest one for Deadly Reunion, I’ve managed to get it down to eleven pictures including my book cover and about a minute and a half in time. Of course it helps that now I put the words on top of the pictures instead of in front of them as used to be the case with the old version of MM
Once I was happy that I’d got my text and pictures in the right order, I decided on my transitions. These can be the transition of your still picture flying away, as in the old movies, or any of the other choices. Experiment a bit. I didn’t select and place my transitions before I was sure I had finished shifting and shunting my text and pictures around as for one of my videos I did alternating transitions and they kept getting out of sync and I had to go through and alter them all. I’d already chosen my text colour and background colour.
To select your transitions, go to ‘Animations’, clickto the left of the picture where you want the particular transition and then click on the transition. On my earlier movies it was a click and drag operation, but this is another one of the changes I had to get used to when I got a new laptop with updated Movie Maker.
If you click on ‘Visual Effects’ when you have a picture in the screen, you will see the different things you can do to the appearance of your pix. Don’t go mad and choose a different Effect for each picture. The result would probably be bizarre, not to mention unprofessional. We’re trying for Steven Spielberg here, not Picasso.
Next you want to get your music. I liked listening to lots of different pieces of music in an attempt to find a piece that was appropriate to my book trailer. Eventually, I found one I was happy with. If you write romances, you’ll probably want something suitably dreamy. Likewise, if you write thrillers, something fast and dramatic would likely be the best. You then need to go online, find a music site and pay for the license to use the track you want. I use StockMusicSite.com. Once you’ve paid for and downloaded your music, you should find it in My Music of Downloads. To get it onto the trailer, you need to click on ‘Home’ in Movie Make, click at the left of your first picture and then select ‘Add Music’.
Remember to make sure you choose your music and pictures from a bona fide site where you pay for the appropriate usage. Other artists also like to get paid when their work is used, so don’t be tempted to go for the non-bona fide site.
Now you want to add the CREDITS. So click on HOME then CREDITS. Then type Movie by (your name). Then, on another line, Pictures from fotolia (or wherever). Then, music: Humoresque by Dvorak (or what and whomever).
Okay, you’ve got your words, you’ve got your pictures, you’ve got your music and you’ve let the credits roll. You’ve got a Movie, baby!
Next, you want to ‘Save Project As’ to get the version of the video that can be uploaded to YouTube, etc. Once it’s saved, from File select ‘Publish Movie’ and select whichever choice you prefer. Most people go for YouTube to upload to. Naturally, you’ll have already signed up as a member for whatever site you’ve chosen for your video upload. If you haven’t this is as simple as it is for most sites. Just click on ‘Sign Up’. You don’t even have to stick at one upload. You can put it on youtube, vimeo and whatever other ones you can think of as well as on your website and blog and facebook and twitter and crimespace and… Well I think you get the idea..
Here’s a trailer I made earlier. This is a long one, but not without amusement.
Sorry. the blasted thing won’t load. Oh well. You can still see examples of my trailers on my website. Go to: http://www.geraldineevans.com/ You’ll find a number of different trailers for my books, some better than others, some with music, some without. For more examples, some made by professional outfits, log on to YouTube and click on a video. Give you some ideas for your next movie?
Once you get adept, you might even be able to put in moving pictures. If you do, you will tell me how to do it, won’t you?