Jill Elizabeth Nelson here, ready to launch you on a voyage of peril and discovery! An epic journey. . . All right, I'll lay off the melodrama. This is a project, okay? And it's going to have its hair pulling moments, guaranteed, but I found the pain worth the gain.
At a recent mini-retreat with six other authors, I was exposed to a great new idea—make a book trailer using Windows Movie Maker, a program that comes standard with Windows software. Here's the link to my trailer, if you want to see results before you commit to reading boring instructions:
To bring the program up, click on start, then All Programs. Windows Movie Maker should be listed. On my computer, it’s in the second column.
Click on Windows Movie Maker. The screen you get isn’t the easiest format to work with. In fact you won’t need it until you add the music. But you can change to an easier format for uploading your pictures by clicking on View and deselecting Storyboard. Now you’ll have the screen set on Timeline.
Minimize Movie Maker and open your Internet browser. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find free photos appropriate for your trailer and save them to your My Pictures folder. Do a Google search using the words Royalty Free Photos, and you’ll get a variety of sites to browse. http://jupiterimages.com, for instance. Be prepared to spend time shopping for just the right images. You’ll be glad you did!
When you have your photos stored on your hard drive (and I suggest no more than 10 – 12 or your trailer will get too long), maximize Windows Movie Maker and start placing those photos in your collection by clicking on Import Pictures. Once you have your pictures imported to WMM, you can drag and drop them on your timeline in the order you want them to appear.
Okay, now you’ve done the easy part. Next you need to experiment with and decide upon special effects. To add a special effect to a photo, click on View Video Effects, and you will see a whole menu of options. The only way to decide what you want is to play around with them. These are applied by drag and drop, but you can right click on any of them at any time and delete it if you don’t like it.
After you have your video effects in place, you will certainly want to compliment them with appropriate transitions. Click on View Video Transitions. These options can be dragged and dropped to the little boxes between your pictures, and they will supply the special effects for changing between one picture and another. Again, you’ll have to play around until you get what you want.
Oh, and be sure to save your work regularly! It’s the pits to put a lot of time into something like this and lose it to some kind of dumb glitch.
When you’ve wrestled the video portion into shape, you need to go on a music quest. Another Google search using Royalty Free Music should call up a number of options. Select a clip and download it to your hard drive, probably to your My Music folder. Be sure the photos you use and the music is in fact not copyrighted!
Now you want to change your Windows Movie Maker view to Storyboard. You do this by clicking on View and then deselecting Timeline. Now click on Import Audio or Music. Grab the clip you placed in your My Music folder and put it in your collections on the WMM storyboard page. Now you can drag and drop it onto your storyboard on the Audio/Music track, which is right below your timeline of photos.
You’ll no doubt have to play around a bit in order to edit your music clip to begin and end where you want it, but it’s well worth the time and learning curve. Again, remember to save your work periodically.
The Help option at the top and Movie Making Tips at the bottom left provide lots of instruction if you get stuck. My fledgling attempt (click below to play it!) in no way exhausts the possibilities of Windows Movie Maker. I haven’t even touched the make an AutoMovie button. What if I turn into a pumpkin or something if I click on it!!?
My trailer took about six hours to make. Of course, I was on a heavy learning curve. And Cyndy Salzmann, who has a great trailer on her web site, contributed a couple of hours of mentoring while I was doing it. Everything else was . . . you got it ! Free!!!
Now that you’ve completed your project on WMM, you MUST, MUST, MUST save the project to My Videos. You will not be able to load it onto YouTube until you do. Click on File, then click on Save Project As. The My Videos folder should open up, where you give your project a name and save it. If you don’t have an account at YouTube, open one. The site has simple instructions for uploading your video.
Once your trailer is uploaded to YouTube, the site provides you with handy code that you can copy and paste wherever on the web you have the right and the privilege to post. Mine is on my web site, my Shoutlife profile, and YouTube—so far. I have diabolical plans to embed it many other places as well . . . so watch out for the Reluctant Runaway trailer wherever I can get away with leaving it behind. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
Have fun making trailers, kiddies!