D.I.Y. Versus Vendor
There are three approaches to assembling your trailer video:
- Use a video creator such as animoto.com where images and video are uploaded, titles typed in, a theme selected, and the package creates the video.
- Use a video editor on your computer or phone.
- Vend the video production. This can range from a hiring a firm to do the complete design, script, shoot and assembly to just the assembly/edit of the final product. I started to ask some of the companies that I knew who did book trailers to write tips with samples of their work.
Even if you are going to vend out the creation of your trailer, the more you understand the process, the easier it will be to work with the vendor. You are the expert on your book and what it is about.
Levels of Book Trailers
As explained in What is a book trailer?, there are three levels of trailers with the book description by:
- On-screen titles only
- Voice-over (VO)
- Live-action video (or custom animation)
A video creator program such as Animoto.com can do level-1 trailers nicely and a level-2 by mixing the music and voice-over as the song to use. If you are planning on a level-3 trailer, then it is necessary to use a full video editor or vend the assembly.
Video Editors & Creators
Apple Mac computers come with iMovie, while Windows systems come with Windows Movie Maker. Both can be used to create book trailers.
Wikipedia has pages with lists of popular editors. Here we will focus on a few: iMovie and Final Cut Pro for the Mac and Movie Maker for Windows and Adobe Premiere Elements and Pro for Windows or Mac.
Here we will focus on a few: iMovie and Final Cut Pro for the Mac and Movie Maker for Windows and Adobe Premiere Elements and Pro for Windows or Mac.
- Animoto.com is an interesting site. It is not a video editor, rather it is a website for creating a video from images, words and video clips.
- Microsoft Windows Movie Maker (Windows)
- Apple iMovie (OSX and iOS)
- Apple Final Cut Pro X (OSX)
- Adobe Premiere Elements (OSX and Windows)
- Adobe Premiere Pro (OSX and Windows)
The easiest way to create a trailer is with a video creator like Animoto. Animoto is a website and doesn’t require you to install any software on your computer. It works equally well with Windows and Mac OSX computers. There are iPhone and Android apps when using the site from a smartphone to enable uploading photos and videos.
After creating an Animoto account, you upload and arrange images and videos, add titles, select theme and music, and the Animoto host software creates the trailer. A basic account is free and permits you to create 30-second trailers. This is the approach I teach in my workshops, as it is the easiest way to start. Animoto is very easy to learn. It is a great way to start tuning that script.
Animoto offers many levels of capability/cost. The Lite level is free and permits you to create 30-second, web quality videos (640×360). All levels support upload to YouTube, SmugMug, Vimeo and more.
Start and learn on the free level.
This is the strategy I teach in my workshops. Create an account, try the system by creating 30-second trailers. If you like the system, join, and then you can expand you existing trailers to a longer length.
Animoto Style Examples
Selection of the theme in Animoto has a huge impact on the video. In this example, I took the same early version of the trailer for this course and applied five different themes. Each theme comes with music, but I was working with Kevin MacLeod’s Cherry Blossom, so the theme default music was not used. The music is from Kevin MacLeod incompetech.com called Cherry Blossom.
Cherry Blossom Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
These were done with an Animoto Plus account.
I did modify some of the images to add borders to change location in the frame. I did not change the music, even where the fit was not ideal. The selection of colors, as well at the title font, impacts the message. IMO the Animoto Original theme worked the best for this example.
Animoto has been creating new styles that are more animated. Here is a video I created recently of pictures of my bulldog, Margaret. My wife and I have been creating funny greeting cards of Margaret for years and decided to turn them into a short video. The style and music is called Watercolor Seashore. The level of animation adds a visual dimension to the images.