Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 20

Welcome to part 20 of my series: Let’s Make a Book Trailer.

You can find the first and last posts here:  Part 1 and Part 19 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 issues and solutions with regard to background music.   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’re going to select our background music and apply it to the 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. 

Review of Movie Maker

It’s been a while since we’ve opened movie maker, so here is a quick review of the interface:

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 20 Movie Maker Interface, Brant Forseng @brantforseng

The work area displays the video upon which work is being done.  Each “slide” in the video will be visually repeated a number of times to represent its relative length in the video.

The play head position is indicated by a vertical black line.  This may be dragged back and forth with the mouse.

Below the video images are graphical representations of the narration files we added previously, positioned to accord with their actual start and stop times within the video.  Below them are the captions (text) we added.

The white triangles indicate a transition from one slide to the next.

Selecting and Editing the Music Track

I discussed sourcing music in the last post, and I won’t belabour the points I made except to say you must pay attention to the conditions for use.

I sourced a music track from SmartSound and then ran it through their SonicFire Pro software to customize the length to 47 seconds long — the duration of my trailer.  I saved the track out of Sonic Fire Pro as a WAV file.

Importing the Music Track for the Book Trailer

To import a music track in to MovieMaker, ensure you are the Home tab, then click:

  1. Add Music drop list
  2. Add Music menu item

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 20 Import Music, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

You will then browse for the previously saved music file and open it.

The music file is placed into the trailer so that it begins playing at the start of the trailer.

Note that if you wanted the music to start at a particular spot in the middle of the trailer, you would first move the play head to the spot, and select Add music at the current point from the drop list.  The music will be added as a “green” track under the caption and narration entries in the work area.

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 20 Music Track Added, Brant Forseng. @brantforseng

At that point we can play the video to see what it sounds like.

Adjusting the Volume

There are two audio settings which must be considered in the trailer:

  • Narration (voice)
  • Music

Music is easy.Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 20 Adjusting volume, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng

You can adjust the music track’s volume on the File tab using the Audio mix button.

Click the Audio mix button and then use the slider to adjust the volume up or down as desired.

Narration could present a problem.

Ideally, you want the must volume to drop a bit during narration so the spoken words are not drowned out by the music.

You cannot directly control narration volume within Movie Maker (or at least I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it).

What you can do, is use the Emphasize narration button.  This button tells Movie Maker to automatically reduce the background music volume when it encounters narration.  Very cool, and it means you don’t have to mess with two separate volume controls in multiple places in the trailer.

Save or Publish the Book Trailer

When you are happy with the results you can save the finished movie in a variety of formats to your hard drive, or publish it to YouTube directly (or Vimeo if that is your choice).

Nothing prevents you from saving the trailer first and then later uploading to YouTube.

The Finished Book Trailer

Here is the finished trailer. 

Final Thoughts

Movie Maker is a simple tool for creating a book trailer.  It has two virtues — it’s free and it’s relatively easy to use.  Coupled with PowerPoint, you can make a pretty good trailer if you are willing to spend some time a little bit of money.

Is my trailer “pretty good”? 

I think so, though I’m not quite satisfied with the music I selected. I think it’s a good choice, but not a great choice.  It’s a bit loud and brassy, and I would have preferred something a little slower and ominous. However, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time looking for a new track and I had this one already available (and paid for with licensing rights).

So what do you think?  Is the book trailer good?  Bad? 

Have you made a book trailer?  How did it turn out?

Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and I will see you again next time.


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