Archive for Book Trailers

My Self-Publishing Adventure: Day BOOK TRAILER! (Part II)

Posted in Books, Middle Grade, Publication, Publishing, Self-publishing, Writing with tags , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Jessica Crichton

Hi everyone!

As promised, I’m writing the second and final installment on my experience with creating a book trailer.

First, here is the link to view it on YouTube.

It’s a very short video, concise as a book trailer should be. Long enough to spark interest and hit on vital plot points, but short enough to not get boring.

Last time I covered basics such as including other peoples’ work (music and images, et. all), what kind of software I’m using, and etceteras. Today I’m going to give some more technical information that took me two days of research and trial and error to finally figure out.

YouTube is pretty great about uploads. Your video doesn’t have to follow too many conditions:

YouTube video requirements and recommendations

(Taken from

YouTube accepts video files from most newer digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones in either an .AVI, .MOV, or .MPG file format. According to their site, videos saved with the following settings convert and display the best:

  • MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format
  • 320×240 resolution
  • MP3 audio
  • 30 FPS

There is no limit to the number of videos you can upload, but there is a file size limit of 100MB for “Standard” account members.

Videos can be up to 10 minutes long. If you have a Director’s Account, you can upload longer videos. The YouTube Director program is especially for musicians, amateur filmmakers, videobloggers, or professional content producers.

YouTube asks that you not upload “copyrighted, obscene or any other material which violates YouTube’s Terms of Use.”

I’ve found that uploading my trailer there and linking it is the easiest way to show it off online. Of course, this might be a “no duh” to many of you, but there it is anyway. 😉

So, 100MB isn’t bad, but my first render was well over that at 155MB. OUCH! I was following what many people recommend online: to render the movie at best quality and as an .mp4 file. Unfortunately, despite that my video is only a little under two minutes long, rendering it that way made it WAY too big a file for any kind of internet sharing. So I messed with the settings, researched probably at least fifty websites (most of which were so full of tech-eze that I wanted to tear my hair out: hey techies, if you want to help people, help them, but if you want to show off, don’t state that you’re willing to help people and then act all surprised when they don’t know what you’re talking about; thanks).

In the end, I found that rendering it as an .avi at “good” quality gave me a much smaller file size. Not only that, but I actually feel the quality is better as well. (When rendered at “best” the background images shook slightly and gave me a headache; they don’t do that under “good” for some reason.)

What just took a moment to tell you took me days to figure out myself. You’re welcome. 😉

My new file is 8MB, by the way. Like I said, big difference.

Now I’m off to work on the animated .gif for my banner ad at Childrens’ Book review, which I get to order tomorrow! EEE! If you watched my trailer and have questions about how I did any of it, please feel free to ask in the comment section.

I’m all about the love, yo.


On Making a Book Trailer

Posted in Books, Publication, Publishing, Writing with tags , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by Jessica Crichton

So today, between finishing up my cleaning and readiness for the kids (who arrive at 8PM! YAY!), I will be working here and there on starting a book trailer. I don’t know a whole lot about this particular medium, aka animation, because though I spent four years studying film for my BA, I never once took an animation class.

*Education Fail.*

So, at the moment I’m downloading a trial version of Sony Vegas Pro, which I used in college for my student films (which aren’t that great, so don’t ask to see them… maybe someday I can fix the audio on my final project and post it somewhere, but today is not that day). That way at least I’ll have a decent understanding of the software I’m using. Between that and Photoshop, I should be great for tools!

Now, for the whole knowledge and understanding part.

If this whole blogging thing has taught me anything, it’s that other people’s blogs can be way helpful. Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty of searching around WordPress for blogs about book trailers (because I’m on WordPress so it’s easy to follow other blogs on here as opposed to other blogsites).

… there are 26,967 results for that search term.


OK, well, guess I’ll just click away and see where it takes me!

Hmm… most of these are about viewing book trailers, or else why you need to make one. I think I need to revise my search parameters a bit: “making a book trailer”. There. 🙂

… 26,919 results.

OK, well… click away once more!

OOH! First result looks promising! “Do It Yourself: Making a Book Trailer”, posted by kathytemean, written by Christine Norris.

Well, rather than re-write (or, worse, copy-paste and commit the writer’s closest thing to a deadly sin: plagiarism), I’ll let you click over to her page and read it yourself for the technicalities, and move on in this blog with my own personal experience.

Concept: The Crows’ Nest has, in my own honest andhumble (always humble) opinion, an amazing concept. Post-apocalyptic dystopia for kids? Who would have thought of it? Me! That’s who!

Humble. Yes. Always humble.

Anyway, but the theme of book one is a different thing altogether. Do I focus on the quest for the Cogs? Trevor’s character issues? Mom’s insidious momnapping? Fist and his band of Crows?


… I think my brain just froze.

So I have to back up here a little. What is the most important part of The Crows’ Nest? I think it’s Trevor’s character growth, but will my readers agree? And how exciting would that be to watch in a trailer? So shouldn’t I rather focus instead on the action and adventure, aka the part that will grab viewers and make them readers? This includes trivial fun like fighting giant bugs and riding on a steam-powered longboard (which I have heard plenty of excitement over), but it doesn’t really describe the story itself, does it? Not all by its lonesome anyway. No, I’m thinking the best way is to throw together Trevor’s character growth and the action that will make the trailer interesting. And in order to do that, I have to focus on Fist.

Who is Fist? He’s the antagonist of The Crows’ Nest, a bully worse than any bully my readers will ever have to stand up to themselves. A bully who lives and survives in a post-apocalyptic world. A bully with bloodstained spiked knuckles and a hoard of tough Kids at his back. The bully that our hero Trevor/Guts has to stand up to in the end.

See? Now that will be interesting!

Only one problem: I only have one picture of Fist. I could ask Jessica to draw more, but I already have her working on illustrations of Guts and Books for my promotional bookmarks, and I hate asking her to do too much, with her being pregnant and all. Besides, animation images, even for a 10-minute trailer, would take forever for her to draw. It would be a huge chore.

So… what do I do about it?

Well, according to Christine Norris, I need to not use too many bells and whistles anyway. One kind of transition except for the big climax, the same theme throughout. This, for me, also includes not trying too hard to actually animate any of my pictures. As a novice animator at best, this would take far too long and would probably only result in a terrible finished product.

I am not, after all, Dreamworks Animation.

Therefore, I’ll start by making a static background image of Nil. This is easy to do in Photoshop and will look amazing as the constant-theme background, setting the tone of the whole story in a simple, yet visually appealing way. Still not sure how to visualize the rest, however…

Oh, well, I’m sure that will come to me as I go.

Next, Christine discusses music. One of the first things I learned in film school was that music videos are by far the easiest kinds of videos to make. Why? Because you can time and design the images to match the music, giving you a simple theme to work with that also results in a very professional-looking product, no matter how unprofessional you might be as a filmmaker. There are indy music websites online where you can find amazing songs by indy artists who will happily let you use one of their songs in exchange for a link and/or credit. It’s more than worth it, trust me. The music makes the video. Nobody can argue that music stirs emotion, which is exactly what I am trying to do here.

At the World Wide Web Independent Music Directory you can find bands to connect with in order to use a song of theirs. I also see that MySpace, though in my opinion past its prime for regular people’s use, still has a pretty good music scene. But remember, ask for permission and get it. You don’t want to steal another artist’s work, do you? Of course, there is also unlicensed music you can find, but in my opinion using indy music makes your trailer that much more unique, and it helps another artist as well! Win win!

So, now I have to go and write my trailer screenplay, put together images, and listen to, request the use of, and download my song. I’ll finish this up with a “Part II” blog about how it went and, of course, a link to my new trailer!

Oi… I still have to ready the house for the kids…

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