Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making a Movie Trailer

By Chester Campbell

I’ve just started working on a book trailer for The Surest Poison. I have an idea for what I want to do, but at the moment I’m frustrated by not finding photos I need to put it together. You’d think a CD with 30,000 pictures would have the one I’m looking for. It doesn’t. However, I’ve located a site on the web called Fotolia.com that says it has 5,697,796 images. Surely something out of that will work.

I updated my movie program, Pinnacle Studio, to the Ultimate version. I just need to don my director’s cap, grab my megaphone, and shout “quiet on the set.” Hollywood, here I come.

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that simple. I’ve done a couple of trailers. This one wasn't bad for a first effort, but I think it's a bit short of Oscar material. I’d like to do voice-over, but I don’t have the voice for it. I have a friend from church who does narration for musicals and such. He has a great voice. I’m not sure if my ancient audio equipment is up for the job, though.

I’ve learned a few things since doing my last video. Things like apply the old KISS principle: “Keep it simple, Stupid.” Don’t mix in too many weird transitions. Stay with a simple one that keeps the flow steady. I want to vary between still photos and movie footage. I may have to get out the old camcorder and do some shooting on my own.

I like scrolling narration. I haven’t checked out the new program yet, but I hope it lets you scroll off into the sunset. I think that’s really cool. I seem to remember it being used quite effectively in “2001: a Space Odyssey.”

I’d like to throw in a few sound effects, too. I discovered lots of links to free sound effects at http://www.stonewashed.net/sfx.html. I couldn’t find the sound of fire, but it turns out that paper crumbling makes the same sound.

I find lots of people who do their own trailers use Kevin McLeod’s royalty free music. He has a long list of songs in various categories. I used his music for both of the trailers I’ve done and will no doubt repeat that with this one. His site is www.incompetech.com. It costs nothing, but he encourages a $5 donation. A small price to pay.

I’ll let you know how this one turns out in a future Murderous Musings blog.


Anonymous said...


You never cease to amaze me. (-:

Where do you find the time and energy to do all these things?

Good luck with the trailer. I have only one request -- don't make it too busy, and tell some of the story.

And you know what they say about free advice -- it's worth what you pay for it.

Pat Browning

Jean Henry Mead said...

I have three book trailers. The first one done by a young man who produced fuzzy pictures, the second by a former Hollywood soundtrack technician, which cost a small fortune; and the last one I did myself at One True Media, which is free, fun and easy to create with pictures from PhotoBucket: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhCs8puGsZ8. I got the $39.95 upgrade for the music and other special features.

Chester Campbell said...

I guess it's part of the creative urge, Pat. And thanks for the advice. It's worth every penny.

Nicer trailer, Jean. I like the "I Did It Productions."