Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 9

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my series on making a book trailer.

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

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

In today’s post we continue to add animation to our simple slide show trailer.  In Part 8 I discussed what I called “simple movement”.  Now I’ll tackle slide transitions.

Ultimately the slideshow will be exported as a video, but that will be covered in a future post.

We’ll have to modify our constraints slightly by eliminating the word “animation” from the list below.  In addition, we’ll need to remove “video” as well:

  • We’re creating a “Teaser” trailer
  • Using PowerPoint only
  • No video, music, animation or voice overs
  • Working with stock images or some commissioned images

Transitions in Video

A transition is simply a way of “moving” or “switching” from one scene to another.  You’ve seen transitions countless times on TV, in movies, and on the web.  In fact the film industry has “trained” audiences over time to not even notice transitions — except when they are poorly implemented.

Although there are numerous ways to transition from one video scene to the next, the most common are:

The Cut —  The cut is the simplest transition.  The scene instantaneously changes or “cuts” to the next.

Dissolve or Cross Dissolve –– This is where one scene dissolves into the next.  As the current scene dissolves the next becomes visible.  You can think of the two scenes as being “stacked on top of” each other.  As the top scene gradually vanishes, the one underneath appears.

Fade to Black/Fade from Black — This transition is similar to dissolve, though as its name implies instead of moving to a new scene it fades out the current scene and replaces it with a black “screen”.  Alternatively, it starts with black and fades into a scene.

Wipe —  I find the best way to describe a wipe is to imagine taking a cloth and wiping it across a surface.  You “wipe away” one scene to review another.  There many variations of the simple wipe:  star, iris, clock, etc.

Light Flash — In this transition the screen dissolves the screen to white for a fraction of a second before the next scene appears; a closely related transition is the camera flash.

There are many more transitions available and several of the ones above have variations.  I’m not an expert by any means.  Google video transitions and you’ll come up with many sources.  I like these two for a non-technical overview:

Transitions in PowerPoint

Transitions in PowerPoint are between slides, not scenes. They are found in the Transitions Ribbon (in PowerPoint 2010, at least).  The five discussed above are present, along with many others.

Slide Transitions in PowerPoint

Slide Transitions in PowerPoint

You can set individual transitions for each slide or apply a single transition to all slides.  Options allow you to control transition time, as you can animation time, and add a sound to a transition.

General Principles

Less is more — don’t overdo the number of transitions you use in your trailer.  Multiple transition types do not command attention; they provide distraction.

Support the trailer theme — use transitions that work with the genre or overall theme of your book.  For example, fades and dissolves may be better suited to romance, while cuts, flashes, and similar dramatic effects work better with fast-paced action-adventure stories.  These are not hard and fast rules, of course.

Stick with the basics — if you’re really not sure which transitions will work best experiment with the common ones first — fade, dissolves, wipes, etc.

Keep Hosting In MindSlideShare does not support animations or transitions. If you plan to only host your book trailer on that site, there’s no point in choosing any transitions. If you plan on hosting on YouTube or other video sites, you’ll be turning your PowerPoint presentation into a movie. Therefore transitions (and animations) are an option.


Let’s see how we can apply some transitions to my Western Watch PowerPoint book trailer.

Fade from Black — I’ve decided to go with a fade from black to the first slide in my PowerPoint trailer.  I feel a fade from black sets the tone — serious and sombre.

Fade From Black Transition Chosen

Fade From Black Transition Chosen

















Fade— Between slides two and three I used PowerPoint’s fade transition because I wanted a sense of motion as Merreth looks up from cleaning her dirk.  In order to achieve this I shortened the transition time to 0.75 seconds.  The fade works to simulate motion (albeit not perfectly) because the only difference between the two images is the position of Merreth’s head.

Using Fade to simulate movement

Using Fade to simulate movement

Reveal — Between the fourth and fifth slide I use the reveal transition.  Reveal combines a fade  with a subtle zoom effect.  I chose this one because the “camera” is moving from a “medium” shot of Merreth’s upper body to a very tight close up of Merreth’s face.

Using the Reveal transition

Using the Reveal transition

















PowerPoint is great to create the basic book trailer with animations and transitions.  However, there are limitations.  Timing control, for example, is not a fine as if you were working in a dedicated video package. 

Thus, we’ll save the PowerPoint book trailer as a movie file.  When that’s done we can continue to work on it in any number of low cost video editors.

Next time we’ll examine the process by which you can save your PowerPoint book trailer as a movie, in preparation for further work such as adding music and voice overs.

Until then, thank you for reading, and I will see you again soon.


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