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Book Video Workshop Day #5: Putting It All Together

by Jeannie Ruesch 8 March 2010 24 Comments

Welcome back to the Book Video workshop, where we’ve been discussing all the different elements that go into the making of a book trailer®, or book video.  If you’re just joining us, please be sure to visit the previous discussions:  Day 1: Deconstructing A Book VideoDay 2: Writing the Book Video Script, Day 3: Imagery to Tell The Story, and Day 4: Creating The Soundtrack.  In our discussions, we’ve talked about the different components: graphics, music, the script.  And ultimately, once you’ve got all of that pulled together, drilled down to the shortest, most impactful message you can deliver, you need somewhere to put it all together.

In the first post of this workshop, I offered a link to reviews of the top 10 video editing programs (for consumers).  But before you purchase anything, you need to make a decision:

Is this a One-Hit Wonder?

Is the video you’re planning now the only one you plan to create, or have you caught the video bug and plan to do this again? (And again?)

If you have already determined that this is one area of promotion/marketing that you enjoy and will absolutely do again, then it’s worth an investment.  You’ll notice in the above link, the 10 options they list are all under $100.00.  You don’t need to pay more for video editing software to create good, compelling videos.  If you’re going to do this more than once, your skills will improve over time, much like with writing.  You’ll learn more, develop more tricks, gain better processes, and you’ll want software you can stick with.

Windows Movie Maker is a free software available with many versions of the Windows OS (and Apple iMovie for MAC users).  It’s a great learning tool, and when I started playing with videos, this is the program I used. (Free can’t be beat.)   If this is your choice, I highly suggest visiting either of these links to get the specifics on how to do things in the program:



It will help you learn the process of building a video from start to finish, so you can truly figure out how much time and money you want to invest.

The BASICS of Video Editing Software

Since it would take days to go over every video editing software out there (and you’d be asleep by #2), I’ll just focus on some of the basics of what you’ll be looking at.  When you visit the different websites for the programs, you’ll begin to notice the screenshots of the programs are similar.  Some examples:

Is it all a blur yet?  Before your eyes haze over, let’s look at the fact that these all have the same basic layout.  That includes:

Storyboard/Timeline area

This is the location where you’ll drag/drop your elements onto — the basic building of your video is pulled together here.  It allows you to put your photos, videos and music in order, add titles and text, and adjust as necessary.

Preview Monitor

This is where you can view individual clips or the video as a whole to see your progress.

Panes/Tools Area

Depending on which software you use, this could be any combination of tools available.  It will contain the area where you choose and select your photos, audio files, and other items.  Another pane or tool window will show effects and transitions.  Another one will give you editing options for whatever you have selected in the storyboard/timeline.

As for learning the basics of building your video, no matter which program you choose, I highly suggest going through tutorials — either look them on YouTube, see what’s available in the Help menu of the program or find a book to walk you through.  It can save you endless time trying to figure it out yourself.  (And don’t forget to bookmark where you found those tutorials… you’ll need them again for the second video you do, and probably the third, until it becomes engrained.)

Tricks and Tips When Building Your Video

The essence of building your video is to do it step by step.  You’ll find a process that works for you over time, but here’s a good beginning:

Start with your music. This is the baseline of your video, so drag/drop your music file onto the storyboard first.  Listen to it, find the beat, get acquainted with the highs and lows of the song.  And if your editing software allows you to create beat marks or markers, do it — it will save you time in the end.   Know exactly how much time you have to work with.

Add your photos, one at a time.  Lay them on the storyboard/timeline and give yourself some space to work with.  Remember that there are multiple tracks you can use, although if you want to use most video transitions, they require the photos/video pieces to be on the same track.

Create and add your text and titles. Choose a font that compliments your genre and one that is easy to read.  The video won’t do you any good if the script isn’t understandable.

Start melding together. Add transitions between the video/photo elements.  Set up how your text and titles will transition in and out.   I’m a BIG believer that simple is best here:  Basic fade transitions are smooth, clean and professional.  But whatever you choose, stick with one –at the most, two– transition elements.  There may be a lot of transitions to choose from in your program, it doesn’t mean you should use them here.  Keep it simple.

Match your timing to the music. To me, this is one of the most important elements in building your video — matching the pace of your videos and text to the beat of the song.  It’s also one I don’t see used very often.   Go back to those beat marks you established and match transition fades to it.  Give your videos plenty of time to be read — and read them out loud as you are viewing to see how much time is needed.

Tweak as much as needed. This can be a time-consuming process, but I assure you it’s worth the effort and makes a definite difference.  A well-timed video has a much bigger impact than one in which the music isn’t connected to what’s on screen.   Remember that your song is likely longer than your video should or needs to be, so find a good place to fade the music out or cut it off altogether.  Just remember that the point is emotional impact…so how impactful is the point where you leave your viewers?  Have you chosen the best place?  Try another section of the music, if it proves more dramatic.

Don’t forget the credits:  When setting up the ending, don’t forget your credits screen to credit whatever/whomever is necessary with your video, photo and music choices.

End with your Call To Action: Your very last screen should be the one with an action for your viewers.  Show your book cover, add your name and website and leave them with a place to get more information.  Hopefully, your video has done its job and made them curious.

The Next Steps

As you get more and more familiar with the program, you can do more with your videos.  Layer photo upon photo, add transparency, add motion paths and create that moving effect, but to start out, get yourself familiar with the basics.   When you’re ready, move to the next level.

Our next level here is the last one, when we’ll discuss what to do with your video once you’ve created it.  You’re ready to share it with the world and you need to know how or where to do so.   So stay tuned for that.


Be sure to visit us this week.  Tomorrow, I’ll be back talking about…something (haven’t quite figured out what yet), on Wednesday Katrina Stonoff will be here, on Thursday we have the fabulous Sell story of Hope Ramsey (you’ll want to hear this!), and Friday wraps up with Lavada Dee.   And don’t forget next week, on the 18th, Tracy Marchini will be with us deconstructing your queries.


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