Making a Video Book Preview (Trailer)

Who started all this talk about book trailers, anyway? It was illustrator Layne Johnson, who has several such videos on YouTube. His Farmer George preview is sure to inspire viewers to read this beautiful book, written by Peggy Thomas.

Some years ago, a children’s radio station in Orlando made an audio version of one of my older books, The Dragon Halloween Party. There was bouncy music, professional voice overs, and high-pitched exclamations by the dragons such as “Ouch!” and “Oooooo!” It was delightful, but there was no chance of doing anything like that myself. Or maybe there is…

Several PBAA members have been inspired to make trailers in the last few days. Hopefully some of them will post their masterpieces, too. A few tips from my newbie experience:

On a Mac, iMovie works well to create a mini-movie. I had to download v.3.0.3 to get the “Ken Burns Effect,” where you can pan and zoom across still images. It can be a little temperamental, so save your work often. My system is so old (OS 10.2.8), I couldn’t use the newer versions—the latest version is iMovie 08.

You need iPhoto to create an “album” of the illustrations images which then can be brought into iMovie. They have to be in an album or iMovie can’t see them. I downsampled the illos first in Photoshop to make them about the size of a photo (4" X 6") because iMovie seemed to reject an image that was too large. It probably says in the Help what the maximum image size is, may have to read it sometime…

The voice-overs were recorded using my digital camera, which can be set to record in Audio mode while taking a photo. (My computer does not have a built-in microphone.) Each bit of sound was tweaked in Audacity, a free download. You can make the sound track faster, higher, lower, and do various other distortions. Max Headroom, anyone?

I didn’t use any music in my preview, but would like to try it in the future. My brother has Garage Band, and it should be easy to put together a simple bouncy tune to layer underneath.

One note: if you plan to embed the YouTube viewer, be sure to make a “custom” viewer. After playing your video, the standard one puts random videos from YouTube as little icons to click on and play, which I didn’t want. I think there’s a Blogger viewer, but didn’t take the time to figure that out.

It’s ton of fun, although it did take a fairly long time to make only one minute of video. Now that I have an idea of the process, the next one should go faster. Why not make a preview video of your book today?



June said...

This books looks a great way to get kids thinking about numbers, and the video is enough to make me want to check out the whole book.
Nice work Loreen. :o)

Stephen Aitken said...

Loreen, you are truly an inspiration...and you always look like you have fun doing it.
great stuff!