Saturday, April 21, 2012

From Here to There on a trailer (no, not that kind)

When I learned there were trailers for books, I went to YouTube and clicked on a few. They varied a lot in complexity and effectiveness. The idea of doing my own grew. I had already purchased some images because to have the covers meet reader expectation, I had invested some of the book money on stock photos. To put my trailers or anything else onto YouTube, as the place they most likely could be seen, all images, words, and music had to either be mine or where I had purchased the license.

Although I have now looked at quite a few stock photo sites, my favorite for economy and variety became Can Stock. It has several useful features. My favorite is if you see a model you like, you can click on an image, move to the purchase page, look below the image and click on a link that takes you to all available photos. That saves a lot of time. On these sites, there are all kinds of images. They also offer buying credits which makes the costs quite reasonable. I only wish in the beginning I had realized how many I'd be wanting for the different books as I'd have saved even more money.

Since my first trailers are all for contemporary stories, costuming wasn't a problem. I think though when I get to the historic books, if I put them onto Kindle, I can paint the clothes and use copy paste features when I have the right faces. Somebody would find a sweet business if they could put together stock photos of interesting faces in period costumes. More and more I think indie writers will be growing in numbers and the need is real for all kinds of images. Some, like me, are fortunate to have a lot of photos (minus people) but many don't have them and would buy them at a reasonable price. They are available now but in the hundreds of dollars.

 In looking for these characters,  I began to have the feeling I was casting a movie, and in a way I was. Naturally you cannot get exactly the face you want, but you can come close and with paint tools, alter what is needed. My initial resistance to doing this led to finding it a challenge but also rewarding when I hit on the right image.

When you purchase a license, you also acquire the right to make certain changes, to crop and use in an eBook with the stipulation you cannot sell more than 500,000 copies. Not a problem!

While looking at faces, I'd get tired of it (never have I looked at so many people for personality, features and pose) and look through my own photos for landscapes and animals (bringing back a lot of wonderful memories of the times we shot those photos). I frankly have enough animal, insect, landscape etc. shots to put up my own stock site if I so desired-- which I don't.

So what I needed were the right images, and not too many of them, accompanied by carefully chosen words. One night, literally in the middle of the night, I had the words for the first story trailer and got up to write them down as I was afraid when morning came, I'd have forgotten them. I know it sounds simple to find a few words but it's harder than it seems as you are looking to tell the essence of your story with those words and images-- a story that might be 80-140,000 words.

I already knew I had bought the right music from  Jewel Beat as every song there is $.99 and with it, you receive a license. For the same price you can choose it to last from 15 seconds to several minutes. They also have free music if you put the credit to them in the product. They offer real melodies with different emotional impacts. It is also easy to download and use.

Playing with different combinations of images, I used a combination of my own digital painting and a tool called Oilify --available on GIMP 2 (free software for your computer).  I could have digitally painted them all but that would have taken too much time. This was a nice mix of fast and fun-- as I enjoy painting digitally.

It took several go rounds to get the timing right and find one of the Picasa tools to move between photos. Again Picasa, which I use a lot for my photo work, is a free download. After I had the video up on Picasa, I found how to use YouTube and got myself a channel -- Rain Trueax YouTube Channel -- where in the future all my public videos (bookmark it as scenery also will be there with Jewelbeat music probably (or the classical that has an imbedded credit to them). I don't know how well the YouTube embedding will work for readers with slower systems but I learned how to make that work-- some of the time.

To create this trailer did take time, although I expect less so with the next. It's not really work for me. It's more like creating an art project. I want it to do what I want; and when it does, I get my reward. It has added to my love for this story and these characters. Plus I had fun as I always have when I've done scenery slideshows with music.



And for my readers who don't have the speed to watch a trailer on YouTube, for just this one, I put the photos into a slide show. You do miss the western themed music this way.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

I had no idea that there were trailers for books. You picked lovely images and the perfect soundtrack.

Celia said...

Wow, I didn't know about book trailers either. And thanks for all information about doing them. Very interesting, I wish you every success with your books and projects.