Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 13

Hello Everyone!

This is part 13 of my series on let’s make a book trailer.

Previous parts are here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, and Part 12.

As with the previous posts, the following are merely my thoughts on the trailer construction process.  Feel free to use or snort with derision.

Last time we added captions to our trailer and talked about how to use titles.  Our video application is Microsoft Movie Maker,  available with Windows Essentials 2012. You can download a copy here.

In today’s post we’ll examine transitions

Recall that our constraints for creating our trailer are:

  • We’re creating a “Teaser” trailer
  • Using PowerPoint to create most of the content
  • No video, music, animation or voice overs
  • Working with stock images or some commissioned images


You’ve seen transitions earlier when we “drafted” our trailer in PowerPoint.  Transitions refer to the animated effect the viewer sees as the trailer moves from one slide to the next.  There are many different transitions from which to choose in PowerPoint:  dissolves, fades, wipes, pans, and more.

Movie Maker also provides a large suite of transitions: 

  • Diagonals
  • Dissolves
  • Patterns and Shapes
  • Reveals
  • Shatters
  • Sweeps and curls
  • Wipes
  • and more

All transitions and associated settings are found under Animations.

To apply a transition to the beginning of a slide in Move Maker:

  1. Click the slide to select it
  2. Click Animations on the menu bar
  3. Select the animation you want from the drop list

You have the option to apply the animation to all slides in the trailer at once if you like, and you can set the animation duration as well

Let's Make a Book Trailer Adding Transitions

Slide Information

You can tell at a glance which slides have a transition applied by the “white-ish” triangle on the left of the slide thumbnail.  In addition, those slides with a caption applied will have the first word or two of the caption displayed in a pink box under the slide transition.


It can be a little tricky to control the timings of different elements to get things to appear precisely the way you want.  You have control over the following for each slide:

  • Slide — duration
  • Transition — duration
  • Caption — appearance and duration

Changing the timings of one may affect the following slides. 

For example, suppose you have a slide with a duration of 7 seconds, and caption on that slide, also with a duration of 7 seconds.  If you shorten the slide duration to 5 seconds, this does NOT automatically adjust the caption duration, and the caption will now “overlap” onto the next slide for 2 seconds. 

Be mindful of this when creating your trailer.  You may have to tinker with things a bit to get the timings the way you want.

Transition Principles

We covered transitions earlier in the series when we drafted the trailer in PowerPoint.  The concepts also apply in Movie Maker (or whatever application you decide to use):

  • Less is more — there are a plethora of transitions available; do not use a different transition for each slide just because you can or to “keep things interesting”
  • Theme — try to use transitions that fit your book trailer’s theme; some transitions are dramatic and are better suited to action/adventure themes while others are understated, useful, perhaps for romance
  • No transitions — sometimes it makes sense to move from one slide to another with no transition;  I do this in the trailer we’re building to give the impression of Merreth shifting her gaze

In the end, there are no right and wrong choices — just better and, well, less better. Experiment to see what works best for your trailer.

There’s not more more to say about transitions.  Your decisions for each slide will boil down to answering the following questions:

  1. Should the slide have a transition?
  2. What transition should be used, if one is needed?
  3. What should the transition duration be?
  4. Will I have to adjust slide duration or caption appearance/duration for the slide because of the transition?

You’ll answer these questions for each slide, working from beginning to end, tweaking durations and appearance timings (for captions) as necessary.

Well, that’s it for this post.

Next time we’ll take a brief look at pan and zoom.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again soon.


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