A Peek Behind the Curtain

video clip artOkay, so you’ve seen my book trailer, maybe you’ve downloaded my book … The Final Countdown, which, I might add, hit #25 on Amazon Christian/Political fiction after my latest blitzkrieg promotional campaign. So how I do it … the book trailer, that is? Did I pay an outrageous fee to have an audio/video wizard make it? Did I have some college student majoring in cinematography do it as a side job? I will have to admit having a wizard do it, but I didn’t pay him a dime.

Okay, okay, you guessed it, it was me. I’m the guy behind the curtain pulling the switches and pushing the buttons. I hope that doesn’t depress you or cause you to think any less of the trailer. So to help you appreciate what it took to build it, allow me take you behind the curtain and show you some of the magic in the making of my book trailer.

The minute and twenty-four second long movie actually has five elements … two video tracks and three audio tracks. This project took over thirty hours of serious concentration to assemble not counting the time it took me to find just the right music.

  • The first thing is did was to find and buy the musical track upon which the trailer was built. If you remember the movie Dying of the Light starring Nicolas Cage. The last scene had a track called Virtue. I know because I looked it up. After hours of searching the internet I found the movie tracks and bought Virtue for all of .99.

  • The track was longer than I needed, so with the magic of Mixer Pad, I cut the sound thread where the theme changed, but then it was too short. By copying and pasting little clips, I built it up until it was the exact length I needed, but I am way ahead of myself. Those aforementioned steps were actually much later.media clip

Knowing about how long I wanted my trailer, I then set out on the task of making a ten to twelve bullet points. In essence, they were a synopsis of my book. Each line had to have visual imagery. Once I had those images in mind, I went to YouTube.

  • Using a tool called Torch, I found video clips which contained certain elements that interested me. I downloaded the big clips, and edited out what I didn’t want. My office floor was littered with the proverbial video clips. I popped the usable ones into my Windows Live Movie Maker tool. Then I began to massage them … some faster, some slower. With that done, I then created Captions. Those were the ten bullet points I first used to create the imagery. After tightening up the wording and animating them, I was now ready to add the audio.

  • Returning to the musical track, I added sound effects. I got some directly from the video clips i.e. the subway blast. That was real. And “Welcome to the CIA.” That was taken from a documentary about the CIA which used actual footage from the movie, The Recruit. I got other sound effects; the thud went the man got hit by the car, the gun shot and digital crashes from a number of other sources. I edited them down and moved them in place watching the counter on the video display.

Once I had my video, my captions, my music and effects in place, I was ready to do the voice over. That was fun. I have a small recording studio complete with a Zoom H5n recorder.

  • I read the lines several times until I got them just right. After two ‘takes,’ I popped the ST card out of the H5n recorder, ran upstairs and began editing out the unwanted sounds … breathing, unnecessary words, misspeaks etc. Then I chopped them up into little, movable soundbites and moved them in place, again watching the counter.

It took about thirteen pre-mixes to get it right, but I think you will have to agree, it turned out pretty good. The bangs and the buzzes happen on beat and in frame.

  • Then I created several files. One for high resolution, one for e-mail, one WMV and one for … you guessed it, YouTube. Hopefully it will go vial.

So help me out here. Watch it, repost it, buy my book (I had to say it, I’m a compulsive salesman) and give me your feedback (your reviews on Amazon would also be greatly appreciated as well).

So here is the link to The Final Countdown, watch it again … enjoy.