Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Trailer Making

I have been working on a book trailer for my new fantasy novel, The Light Heart of Stone.

If you haven’t come across book trailers before, you might like to have a quick look at a few examples:
Stunningly beautiful – the New Zealand Book Council’s trailer for Going West by Maurice Gee
Great fun – 13 Words by Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman
Simple but effective – Alison Goodman’s trailer for Eon and Eona;
Movie-like –The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Author focused – Machine Man by Max Barry
And then there are plenty of others that are awkwardly amateur, which I’m sure you can find without any help from me.

My focus has been to create a no cost trailer that is not awkwardly amateur.

I have been building the trailer using photographs and freehand drawings, which I have assembled using free software – Photo Story 3 for Windows and Windows Movie Maker (not the Live version). I created three scenes for my book trailer by combining the drawings and photos in Photo Story.

Photo Story has a good zooming and panning features, giving the illusion of movement (take another look at Alison Goodman’s trailer to see what I mean). I imported my three scenes – in effect mini movies – into Movie Maker, which seems to have more options than Photo Story for adding audio and controlling the output of the final trailer.

I did much of this preliminary work while Will and I were in Spain so the photos are all Spanish and feature a cork tree from Extremadura (above) and various images from Catalonia. I assembled a rough version of the trailer while we were in Cadaques. The resulting trailer worked reasonably well but I found that the photos and freehand drawings didn’t connect well with the artwork on The Light Heart of Stone’s cover.

The cover artwork was created in Corel Draw and has a coloured and stylised, almost cartoon-like, feel; the trailer, even though it contains drawings, felt far too real.

And the solution…? I think the solution involves creating some digital artwork to link each scene and the cover. I hope the new artwork will marry the real and the unreal elements in the trailer, but I have to admit that I have broken my “no cost trailer” rule by buying a Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet.


  1. I'll be interested to see your trailer when it's ready. I'm not an artist, myself, but I've had a play with a book trailer when I was getting ready to pre-teach my class about them, for their creative response to Literature Circles. As a non-artist, I have to find Creative Commons web sites and, yes, rummage among my own photos. I'd like to find some things I can actually put up on Youtube without breaking copyright. :-) I have a Macintosh, so I use iMovie for editing - what is Movie Maker like? Is there a Mac version of Photo Story?

  2. Sue, thanks for your interest in the production process for my book trailer. I would love to have your feedback once the trailer is finished.

    I know what you mean about source material being an issue! My computer is filled with images... and yet I often have trouble finding the one I need. There is nothing like going out with your camera and doing your own shots. I suspect that drawing tablets and drawing software are also useful for anyone needing to generate their own images – artist or non-artist.

    I am still getting used to the free software. Movie Maker seems quite good. Not sure about Mac versions of Photo Story.