Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Finishing Up

You can view the first three articles in this series here: The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 1, The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 2, The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 3.

Okay, we are plunging into our last post on how to create book trailers, for now. This post covers how to use the free Windows Movie Maker software, but at the bottom of the post I also mention Adobe Premiere Elements and do a little comparison.

On your computer you should have a free little program called Windows Movie Maker. It should be at Start/Programs/Windows Movie Maker (in XP). If you don’t have it already you can get it here. While I’m not really impressed with Windows Movie Maker, I'm discussing the use of it here since it is free.

Open WMM and in the left hand column click on ‘import pictures’. Then import your music and sounds from the ‘import music’ link at the same location. Save this collection under a recognizable name for future use.

Towards the bottom of WMM you will see ’show storyboard’ and if you click it it will change to ’show timeline’. Make sure you are on the timeline. Then select the music piece you want to use for your opening and drag it to the audio track. If needed, you can clip the track. Just drag the ends of the track to the correct point. (You can see more details of the timeline view by clicking the ‘+’ magnifying button.) Right clicking on the track will give you options for volume, fade in, fade out, etc. If you have a second (or more) piece of music that you want to use, drag it down to the audio track too and edit it to your specifications.

Now you can start dragging pictures to the Video track. (If you magnify your timeline so that it is as large as it will go, these next steps will be easier for you.) I like to have my pictures change on the beats of the music. This means that you will need to lengthen or shorten your picture duration to match your music. On the audio track you can see the pattern your music makes. This will help you to match the beats. Keep in mind that if you are going to add words to your pictures they will need to be visible long enough for people to read the words. So you may need to skip a couple beats to make this work.

Once you have your pictures approximately where you want them to be, you can start adding your synopsis. Select your starting picture, make sure that the menu under ‘edit movie’ is showing, and click on ‘Make Titles or Credits’. Select the appropriate option you want and enter and edit your text. Keep your written segments short and concise so that the end-viewer will not have trouble following your train of thought. Repeat this process for all pictures you want to add words on.

Once all your words are entered, you can start adding video effects and transitions. Have fun experimenting with these because they will add panache to your movie. These will slightly change your transitions from one picture to the next so you may have to do a little more editing on the length of your pictures to get them to transition at the correct time to match your music.

If you want to add sound effects you will need to finish your movie (as we will talk about in a moment) and then reimport it as a video. Then you will be able to add a second layer of sound to the movie.

To finish your movie click on Finish Movie/Save to my computer. I suggest you don't use the preinserted settings - some people will have trouble getting it to stream. Save it a little smaller.

WMM has a drawback, and that is that you can only add one layer of sound. So if you want a second layer of sound you will need to finish your movie, and then import the video into WMM and then you can add a second layer of sound. I tried to do this with my trailer, because I wanted the sound of water playing in the background to 'link' my two songs together. The problem with this is that when you import your movie, add the second layer of sound and finish the movie again, it has bad effects on the quality of your pictures.

Solution to this problem is to use Adobe Premiere Elements which is a much stronger program than WMM. You can put in several layers of sound right up front. The other great feature about APE is that it will connect right to YouTube for you and upload the video via FTP - all you have to do is input your YouTube username and password. The quality of APE is much better too. I bought a fairly old version of APE on eBay for around $30.00 - so you can get it for not too much. Below I'm linking to two versions of my trailers so you can see the difference in quality between WMM and APE.

This is the one created with Adobe Premiere Elements

This is the one created with Windows Movie Maker

Once you've reached this point, you are ready to upload your movie to YouTube or GodTube. On July 1st I will also be posting a list chock full of places you can upload your videos to.

I would love to see your trailer so please comment with a link to yours.
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