Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 18

Welcome to part 18 of my series: Let’s Make a Book Trailer.

The list of previous parts is getting a bit long, so I will merely link to the first and most recent posts:  Part 1 and Part 17 respectively.

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 looked at sourcing voice over talent to use in the book trailer.  Recall that our video application is Microsoft Movie Maker,  available with Windows Essentials 2012. You can download a copy here.

In today’s post we’ll cover adding the voice over talent sourced earlier to the book trailer.

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

As mentioned previously, we’ve pretty scrapped the third bullet point in our constraints list. 

Prepping the audio files

I mentioned in my last post that I used a used a Fiverr gig to obtain the voice over “snippets” for the book trailer being constructed.  The delivered product was a single audio file with the following narration:

  1. I’m west of the river
  2. No lack of sharp steel and spilt blood this side of the water
  3. They said I’d only have two choices here
  4. Bad
  5. And Worse
  6. I’ll take bad
  7. They can have worse

The first task was to split the single audio file into seven smaller files, one for each piece of narration. This allows for each piece of narration to be properly positioned within the trailer to “sync” with the video.

I used the freeware program Audacity to do this.  Audacity is quite sophisticated and can do a lot of different things in sound editing, but for our purposes we just need to be able to split up a single file into seven smaller files.

This was very easy to do:

  1. Load the original file
  2. Highlight the file portion to be save separately
  3. Click File > Export selected audio …
  4. Provide a save location and file name
  5. Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until all seven files have been saved.

The process has the advantage of preserving the original file as as well.

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 18, Audacity selection, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

I’ll write a post on using Audacity in the future, for now the important thing is that when you receive a voice over file from a Fiverr gig you may have to split it up.

Importing audio files into Movie Maker

Audio files are imported one at a time into Movie Maker.  The imported audio (voice over) “snippet” will start” at the play head’s position on the timeline when it is imported.  The steps are as follows:

  1. Drag the play head to where the you want the voice over to start
  2. On the File ribbon, click the Record Narration drop list and select Add sound …
  3. Browse to the location of the voice over file, select it and click Open

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 18 Movie Maker play head, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng


Repeat steps 1 to 3 for each audio file.  Imported files appear “under” the video thumbnails on the time line.

it is not too important precisely where each voice over snippet is placed on the time line.  It can be dragged left or right with the mouse in order to adjust its positioning.

In fact, clicking and dragging the audio “wave form” is the only way the voice over start time can be adjusted. 

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 18 Wave form in Movie Maker, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

Unlike captions, whose appearance can be precisely controlled by specifying the start time and duration, voice over “snippets” must be adjusted by “eye” through dragging with the mouse.  This is one of Movie Maker’s limitations, it just does not have the same level of control as exists in more sophisticated video editing software.

This means there will be a lot of fiddling with the position of each voice over clip in order to get them as close as possible to the desired position. 

In this book trailer, the voice over for each scene starts just as the associated caption fades on to the screen.  Here is the book trailer with the captions and voice overs added:

We’re still not finished.  We have to add some back ground music.  That will be illustrated in the next part in this series.

So, what about it, folks?  Have you built a book trailer or had one created for you?  Did you use voice over talent?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and I will see you again soon.


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