Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Making of My Book Trailer

It's been awhile since anyone on the blogs I visit regularly talked about the making of these animated poems or book trailers. A year ago, the postings of Sandra Beasley , and Diane Lockward and Kelli Russell Agodon; since each poet wrote a series of blogposts, I won't link to all of them here (go to their sites and use the search engine using "book trailers" or "animated poems").

A year ago, I played with animating/illustrating/videographing a stanza from a poem, since I didn't have a book to promote. At some point, I'd like to do the process for a complete poem, but I haven't returned to that yet. During that time, I took photos specifically for the poem project, but in the time since, I've always had these kind of videos and blog photo essays in my head when I've picked up the camera.

As a result, I've saved a lot of photos that other people would have thrown away. For example, near the end of the trailer above, you'll see a blurry background in red and a blurry background in green: yup, Christmas shots that didn't turn out right, yet they're perfect to be the background in a book promo.

Before I started, I brainstormed some of the themes of my book and tried to decide whether or not those themes would attract buyers. The last thing I want my book trailer to do is to repulse people. I chose three themes and sorted through pictures. I took more pictures. Then I began to assemble.

I used Microsoft Movie Maker because it's on the computer. I know that a lot of artists swear by iMovie, and while I briefly flirted with the idea of buying a Mac, I decided to explore Movie Maker. It took me a few hours, but I found it fairly easy. Here's one tip that it took me forever to realize: you can save as a project or you can save as a finished "movie." Before I realized that fact, I spent some time frustrated and wondering why I saved my video but couldn't access it on other machines. Unless you've already gotten all the computers in your life to the point where they can talk to each other, so far, I haven't found a way to work on a video project on different machines without importing a lot of photo files.

I was most intimidated by importing music or my voice, but music was relatively easy with all the free sources on the web. I'm still working on recording my voice, but I'll save that learning process for a different project. I went to Kevin MacLeod's site where he has music catalogued by type and sound and length. I looked for a piece that was about the length of my book trailer and sampled a few. Voila. Then I imported it and added a clip to give him credit.

At some point, as I experiment with recording my voice, I'd also like to experiment with recording musicians. Just as I find it easier to generate photos to go with the project I have in mind, so I would love to be able to say to my guitarist friend and my violinist spouse, "I need a 2 minute variation of 'Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf.'"

The problem with using other people's video, photos, or music is one of having permission. I like using my photos because I don't have to worry about violating copyright laws. But there's an added bonus: I get the pleasure of creating the photos.

Soon I will be brave and upload my video to YouTube and maybe one or two other places that host these videos. So, if you have comments about how to improve the book trailer, it's not too late!

1 comment:

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yay! I was able to view the trailer. It's AWESOME! And thanks for your detailed description of how you made it. I'm headed up home in a few weeks and will take extra pictures just for such future projects.