Making a Video Book Trailer

I have discovered that the bar is set really freakin’ high for video productions.  While humbly making a book trailer for my kickstarter campaign I went through many drafts of videos over a four month period because of comments such as these:

“I’m going to throw up!”

(ok, I was a bit too excited when I discovered I could pan/zoom)

“Why is this low resolution and not HD quality?”

($$!  Then I trolled the internet and discovered free stock video)

“Make some special effects!”

(I can increase frame rate, but I don’t have a budget here)

Books nowadays are expected to have “book trailers” similar to movie trailers.  My first two attempts garnered criticisms that the video resolution wasn’t good enough, so I started looking around for video stock footage.  Initially I found a BBC site for stock footage, but making a 1 minute video would cost about $1000!  So I settled on the price of free and started looking for stock footage close to what I want and compromised on my vision…

Step 1 – Write a draft script

The point of making this video is to tell a brief story about what is in the book.  Comments I received from previous attempts was that I should keep the video about 1 minute of so.  So I started a draft script with images and sounds of what I wanted.  At this point, I don’t know what is available for use in regards to images or sounds.

Text line: “Air…” (image of clouds) (sound of piano music)

Concept: Grandmother in hospital room and in pain…(image of IV pole or IV monitor, hospital room)  (sound of rolling hospital bed or iv machine)

Overall idea for trailer – grandmother telling story about her life to her grand daughter, end of it add book cover and credits.

Originally I wanted a sad tear jerking book trailer, but got mixed reviews so I decided to do a satire because I watched so many trailers with “drama”.  So many feature a girl and boy and guess what?  They want to have a romance but something is in the way…sigh…

Step 2 – Make sure you have video making software

I use a PC laptop and it has Windows Movie Maker on it.  If you don’t, visit the Microsoft website for a free download.  You can probably buy some software too, which may have more tools.  Movie Maker was a bit frustrating and limited, but the price was right.

Step 3 – Look for stock footage of videos and photos

If I wanted exact images of what I want, I could have bought them.

But on a low self-publishing budget, I decided to compromise my creative vision and look at what free footage was available.

Websites for free video footage:

Stock video – http://www.xstockvideo.com/

Archive.org – http://archive.org/

Stock Footage For Free – http://www.stockfootageforfree.com/

Neo’s Clip Archive (links to many sites) – http://www.thecliparchive.com/index.php

Websites for free picture footage:

Stock Exchange – http://www.sxc.hu/

Pixel Bay – http://pixabay.com/

About 80% of your time will be spent looking for the right videos/pictures for use.

Another option is to use Powerpoint to make whatever image you want and then save as jpeg.  The newer versions, 2007 have great “smart” diagrams if you need to illustrate processes or steps of something.

For jpegs you can use paint.net or photoshop to edit pics if required.

Step 4 – Look for sounds and music

Depending on your scenes you might want sound effects or mood music.  I used these two great sites:

Sound Bible (sound effects) – http://soundbible.com

Free Music Archive – http://freemusicarchive.org/

Step 5 – Start Assembling things in the video software

a. Open video in the software.  The layout looks like the screen below.  (Home > Add Video or Music)

video step 1

b. Clip video to desired length.  The video will be longer than what you need, so scroll through and note at which point of the video you want to cut.  Right click for “Start” and “End” or just use “Split”.  Highlight portion you don’t want and press the delete button.

You will notice a yellow tab at the top that says “Video Tools.”  When you press this yellow button, the controls of video editing shows up.  You can split, trim, edit volume of  audio, etc from here.

There are many video affects available, which amazed me from the start at how sophisticated this free software was.

Home – movie themes add a style to the video which involve preset movements/pictures

Animations – this applies to the beginning of each video clip. You can make it fade in/out, start with pixels which change into the vidoe afterwards, have the “camera” angle move up/down/left/right, etc.

Visual Effects – changes color of the screen to sepia, multicolor, illustration black and white, etc.

video step 2

c. Add text

You can add your lines of script here by adding a “Caption”.  (Home > Caption)  There are other things you can add too from the Home tab such as narration, music, themes, etc.  After adding Caption, there will be a pink colored bar under the video.  You can double click and drag text to point of video clip where you want it to start.

Double click on pink bar or click on “Text Tools” and you can edit text from within the video screen.  Feel free to move around text, make it bigger, etc.

For text effects, click on “Text Tools”, a pink bar at the top of the screen.

Length of text in video – the text can run through the entire video clip or just part of it.

Text effects – the text can move in via different animation styles, like fading in or flipping in, etc

Outlining text – on the far right there is a command for outlining the text in different thickness of lines and choosing a color for the outline

video step 3

d. Add music or sounds

Same as video, from the Home, tab open the music you want to add.  (Home > Add Video or Music)  The green bar is the music which can be moved around in the video clip by double clicking and dragging it.

Double click on green bar at top of the screen for “Music Tools” and you can edit start, end point.  You can also split the sound like the video too if you want a shorter/longer clip.  Just delete what you don’t need.  The effects you can do for sound includes fading in/out.

Record Narration – (Home > Record Narration) This option is for adding your voice.  My laptop can record the voice after I press this button and you can add in as a sound effect.

Note that you can only add one layer of sound.  So for my video, I made a project with just sound effects first, saved it as a video, then opened up the video again to add a second layer of music.  After you save the second time, you will get both sound and music in one video.

video step 4

e. Add more clips

Basically you will do the same thing over and over again: add video, text, sound effects/music…edit length and move things around, then do it again…

Limitations of software – text/music/sound effects will move every time you add a new video slip.  So it’s a pain, but you have to readjust everything every time.  As well, you can’t do “overlays”.  So if I want a jpeg of a book and the background to be a video, this is not possible.

video step 5

f. Save your project!

You can save it as a project file so you can edit later (.wimp file).  Or, you can go to the far right of the Home tab and pick “Save as” into a .mp4 video.

Depending on how high the resolution you want it to be, this will take time to compile.  I had problems with memory, so I saved it at a lower resolution that I would like.

g. Post on facebook/youtube/website

At the end, you will have a video to post and show off!  Over time you will become better at this, so let your mind soar on what you want to make!

End product – after many weeks of not sleeping, here is the trailer, version #10 (previous ones I used only powerpoint jpegs) posted on my first kickstarter campaign for “The Undead Sorceress”.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jfgarrard/the-undead-sorceress-a-multicultural-urban-fantasy

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