Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Trailer Recap

Thanks to everyone who commented on my book trailers either here or by email. I really appreciate that. The votes were fairly even but the iMovie took a slight lead, and I will now say that that's the one I'm partial to. I love the glitz of the Animoto one. The special effects are lively and appealing, but I felt that they distracted from the content. Interestingly, the people who favored that one said that it moved faster. Actually, it's a few seconds longer than the iMovie one. I think the effects give the illusion of greater speed. But I'm holding onto both, and maybe I'll alternate. I received a few suggestions for change, but this one was practice for the one I want to do for my new book. That's where I'll put your suggestions to use. I think my major goal is to go a bit shorter on the next one.

I prefer the iMovie one because I think it has greater clarity and the soundtrack sounds just a bit better. I think the text is more readable without all the flipping around. As far as the creation of the trailers goes, this one allowed me greater control over what was happening. For example, in iMovie I can exactly time each clip. I can also move the soundtrack and adjust its volume. I can add text right onto a clip if I want to. I can make an adjustment in iMovie without altering the rest of the movie. Can't do any of that with Animoto. In Animoto each change results in an entirely new look to the movie. It's just automatic. But I do love Animoto and expect that I will find a future use for it.

I'm going to list here some resources that you might find useful if you decide to make your own poem video or book trailer.

To see other videos and trailers and add your own:

Register on this site and you can then see examples and upload your own work. I just uploaded my trailer. Easy and the result is very good. You have to upload from your desktop. No option to upload from YouTube. I haven't yet figured out how people happen to find your video here.

Poetry Speaks
Another site for videos and a place for uploading your own work. At this site you upload from YouTube or desktop. You can add videos for free in the Your Mic program. If you want your name to come up on the site's search engine and if you want people to be able to download your poems, you'll have to pay for that. Right now I don't see any benefit to that. Passing on that option.

Book Trailers
Register and join this site. Then you can upload your videos. This is a ning site, so you get your own page and can customize it. Your video displays on the front page after you upload it. Don't know how long it remains there. A blog and discussion topics.

Place to have a trailer made for you:

Authors Broadcast
Makes book trailers. You can view many examples here. Prices listed. Looks more geared towards prose but I'm guessing they could do poetry too.

You can get as many free 30 second videos as you want, but you won't be happy with that. Then you can sign on for a one year deal for just $30. That entitles you to as many videos in a year as you like of any length. You have to do the bulk of the work here, i.e., upload your photos, add text, add a soundtrack. The program then mixes for you. The results are really cool. Limitations are lack of control over timing of each clip and inability to edit and then prevent the program from remixing. But very very cool program.

Places to get photos:

Photo Xpress
I love this site. Register and you get one free photo download per day. Join their Facebook fan page and you get four more. Sign on via your cell phone and you get five more. That's ten free photos per day. Large and really nice. Of course, you can buy more.

Another great site. You need to register and nothing is for free here, but the photos are high quality. And you can get video clips which add a lot of power and visual appeal to your video. You make your purchases using a credit system. A credit seems to be about 95 cents. The bigger the image, the more credits required. Dollars add up quickly, but a few splurges here might be well worth it.

I received a promotional offer from this place. Sign on and I'd be allowed to download 3 free photos for 7 days. Signed on, but trouble with the downloading part. Took a few days to sort
out with tech support. You can also purchase here as at istockphoto, using the credit system.

Big Foto
Offers an array of free photos. I'm not keen on the categories they use to organize the photos and there's no search option, but I see a lot of nice images and they appear to be good quality.

Google Images
Put the name of what you're looking for into the search window and a ton of stuff will come up. Two caveats: one) Be careful not to violate any copyrights. If the site looks like a photographer's site, don't download the image. Or try contacting and asking for permission; two) Be sure the image is large enough and clear enough to work well. If not, it will be grainy-looking. And who wants a grainy picture?

Where to get music:

Kevin MacLeod offers royalty-free music which downloads as mp3's. Music is categorized in a few ways so you can find what you want quite easily. Each recording's time is indicated (note that the time is a few seconds longer than the music actually lasts), and you can listen to the music without downloading. Like it, then download it.

So now you've got your poem video or book trailer. What to do with it? Post it to the sites listed above. Post it to YouTube (of course), Facebook, Red Room, She Writes, GoodReads, your Author's Page at Amazon—you must be a member of these sites to upload your videos. Then post at your blog and your website. Email the video to your email list. You can send the link or embed in the email message. Different mail programs may or may not allow this--my gmail does, mac does not.

Note: If you upload to YouTube and then download to another site such as Red Room or Poetry Speaks, you may find that your video has black bars at top and bottom of the screen (just as your old tv had when you were on an hd channel). This seems to happen because YouTube makes the video for wide screen. There are two ways I've found to work around this. One: adjust the "aspect ratio" on your movie before you upload it to YouTube from 16:9 to 4:3. I made two versions, one in each ratio. When I posted the 4:3 one to Red Room, I lost the black bars. Likewise at Poetry Speaks. Two: upload from your desktop onto the site, e.g., She Writes, but not all sites allow this option.

I hope these resources will be useful to you as you make your own videos and trailers. Have fun. Be patient. Do not rush your project. A bad video or trailer is worse than none at all. You'll spend a lot of time on the first one. The following ones will come faster and easier.

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