Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Right. So know we have a rough idea of what we would like to produce. Don't worry if it's a bit sketchy, just a rough outline in your head will do. Now we need some software to do it with.
We've already ascertained that I fall into the category of 'cheap but demanding' so it's not entirely surprising that my search revealed YOUTUBE MOVIEMAKER. It's an absolutely brilliant piece of software! You can buy the full version if you want to, but I found the freebie absolutely perfect for what I needed—and just in case you missed that, the magic word was FREE!

It's also easy to use and you don't have to have a Starfleet Degree in Computer Engineering to get started or to download it from http://www.makeyoutubevideo.com/ . As with all of these things though, keep your eyes open for the check boxes. Everything you download these days is packed with foistware—stuff you might not want, like Google Chrome, somebody else's search bar, a new home page—but all can be avoided if you pay attention to the check boxes and supervise the installation through (don't just go for the Express Install).

So you've downloaded your Movie Maker. When you double-click on the desktop icon, you have three options. You want the one of the far left: MAKE VIDEOS. The program will then load and that's when you have kittens. It looks complicated, but it's dead easy!

The whole screen looks like this...
But let's look at the three bits individually...

The top right is the MATERIALS box where all your materials will be shown that you can drag down into the clip. It's a bit like a tool box full of screws and nails or a sewing box full of buttons and thread etc—stuff that you will need to make the finished product. 

The top right is the PREVIEW box which gives you a quick glimpse of whatever item you have selected.

The bottom is the STREAM area where you add your video, soundtracks, music, text etc and overlay them. If you note, near the top of this window is a ruler type device. This is in fact a time line which starts at 00:00:00 being hours, minutes, seconds. You'll be able to see about 1 minute 40 seconds on your normal screen and in the free edition of MovieMaker, you can make anything up to 5 minutes long which is more than enough for a book trailer.

Each of the lines below that is a different line of data: video, audio, text and you have a scroll bar on the right hand side to scroll down the different lines because you can have multiple lines of data of the same ilk. For example, on the closing shot of my video, the text about the book with ISBN numbers is one line of text and the credit in the bottom right hand corner is another line of text. Don't worry about that now though. I'll tell you more about that later. For now you can shut down Movie Maker as we need to source out video content.

If you want to make your own video with a camcorder, you can, but that requires a bit too much kit (which I haven't got) and expertise for my liking. Also, bearing in mind that my book is sci-fi and that I don't own a space shuttle, it would be rather hard to film something suitable so I searched for looping video backgrounds. These are backgrounds that run for say 10 seconds but the start point and end point are visually identical. This means that if you play it over and over again, it's one seamless video.

Now I warn you, selecting your video is going to take hours. There are thousands out there, some of which you pay for and some are free. You also need to be aware that images come in a range of flavours, price and rights wise...

Royalty Free
This is when you pay for an image for unlimited use. Generally, you can use it for as long as you like, in as many different projects as you like.

Rights Managed
You pay for the images and have exclusivity on it. No one else can have it but it can be very expensive.

Copyright Free
These are completely free of charge although you often have to mention the source of the image on whatever you place it on.

Take note as well, that you will pay more for higher resolution images or longer clips, so bear that in mind. As to resolution, I can't fully advise you here (not being an expert) but mine was 640 x 480 so I'd suggest that or higher.

So, now for the goodies. Let me give you some places to browse. Naturally there are a lot more places to buy images than free ones, but here are some starters for ten:

Pay for video clips (these are not recommendations, just places I have just found and thus I accept no liability for their content)
Freebies (these are not recommendations, just places I have just found and thus I accept no liability for their content)
When you've found the one you want, if it's one you pay for, you can generally download one with a watermark on it for nothing. This means you can prepare your video with that background and see if you like it before you put your hand in your pocket. (Note though, that the watermarked ones are usually medium or higher resolution images not the cheaper, lower resolution ones.) Whichever way, once you've made your mind up and are ready to download it, do yourself a favour and make a directory on your local drive (C:\) called BOOKTRAILER or something similar and save it there. I found it really useful to have all of my material in one place on my hard drive.
Well, I'm going to leaving you scouring the internet for your backgrounds until tomorrow night when we'll start loading up the video and creating the actual footage. See you then!


  1. Thank you! This is a very useful article and I really appreciate the amount of work you put into it. I wanted to make a trailer for my fanfic but I didn't have enough courage to do it myself. I wanted to hire professionals from this website now I definitely will try to do it by myself first. Thanks for inspiring! Wish me luck and have a nice day!


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