Creating a book trailer: How to transfer the “feel” of your book into a video, Part 1

By on April 17th, 2012 in How to

Pattie Olson has been involved in video production since 1996, when she purchased her first video camera and began experimenting on various personal projects.    In 2000, when digital video editing technology was becoming available for everyone, not just for the big production houses, she launched Zoom’n Dog Productions. 

We caught up with Pattie when she was hired to create a book trailer for LOVE LETTERS FROM POVERTY FLAT,  by Alberta Dunn Lindsay, a memoir printed at Publishers’ Graphics late last year.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-AeFoGdW7k]

We asked Pattie to compile a list of suggestions for creating a book trailer from a videographer’s perspective and here, in Part 1, she provides her tips for creating a book trailer:

1). Determine how you want your video to represent your book. Is your book bright and cheerful or dark and mysterious?  Is there tension and high drama, or is it historical?  How will you present that feeling visually and what elements need to be considered?

2). Photos, video clips, graphics, text:   You can use your own photos, video clips and graphics or you can purchase royalty free images from places like iStock.com.  Be creative with fonts, but make sure they are legible.  Thin lined fonts can be harder to read, especially when placed on a moving background.

3). Music, sound effects, narration:  Royalty free music is also available.  There are companies such as stock20.com that sell any kind of music you can think of.  Narration can be done by yourself, an acquaintance, or you can hire professional voice over talent.  Narration can be recorded with an inexpensive mic and freeware called Audacity, http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/    Realize you will not be getting the same sound quality produced in a voice over booth, but if you want to use your own narration, this is easy software to learn and the price is right!

4). View other trailers and decide what you like.  Notice how the various elements are used in a  video.  What is the pace of the video?  Are there fast transitions or gentle dissolves?   Are the transitions smooth? Does the text slide around the screen or blast in, in time to the music?  Is it presented in black and white, colored or sepia tone?  Does the music complement the video or is it distracting?  If there is narration, is it clear and can you understand it?

5). Length– keep it short.  There are millions of videos on-line and if a viewer gets bored, they are one click away from leaving your video. Keep it short, (under 3 minutes) unless you are offering something that can keep them watching.

4). Putting it together.  Usually computers come with some type of software for doing basic editing, such as iMovie.  There is also editing software under $100 that does a great job, such as Adobe Premiere Elements.  Like any software, there is a learning curve, but luckily, there are lots of video tutorials available to teach you!

5).Quality. This is subjective to a degree.  It’s OK to use your artistic talents to add special   treatments to your project as long as the viewer will be able to understand visually what you are trying to convey and that the audio is appropriate.

6).Call to action.  Don’t forget to include where they can purchase your book.  Include your website address, a photo of the book cover, and any additional locations where the book is sold, such as Kindle or Amazon.

7). Distribution.  There are plenty of video distribution sites, YouTube being the largest.  (FYI, YouTube is the second largest search engine only behind Google.)  Get the video on your website, on Facebook, link to it via Twitter, and ask your friends to share it.  When you contact a bookstore or book club about doing a reading/signing, make sure you include the link to your video.

Do you have a book trailer you’d like to share?  Use the comments section below to add a link.   Should you decide that putting together a book trailer is just not in your skill set, Part 2 will focus on tips for hiring a videographer.