From BookTrailer101™ - Learn how to create a Book Trailer
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Step 6. Assemble Video


Levels of Book Trailers

As explained in What is a book trailer? page, there are three levels of book trailers:

Book description by:

  1. Titles only (images, titles and music)
  2. Voice Over (VO)
  3. Live-action video (or custom animation) can do level 1 trailers nicely. If you are planning on a level 2 or 3 trailer then it is necessary to use a full video editor.

DIY vs Vend

There are three approaches here:

  • Use a video creator such as where images and video are uploaded, titles typed in, a theme selected and the package creates the video.
  • Use a video editor such as iMovie or Final Cut X on a Mac or Microsoft Movie Maker on a PC, iOS iMovie on an iPhone or iPad.
  • Vend the video production. This can range from a hiring a firm to do the complete design, script, shoot and assembly to just assembly/edit of the final product. I started to ask some of the companies that I knew who did book trailers to write tips with samples of their work. Check out the Tips from the Pros.

Even if you are going to vend out the creation of your trailer, the more you understand the process the easier it will be to work with the vendor.

Video Editors

Apple Mac computers come with iMovie, a strong basic video editor. Windows systems come with Windows Movie Maker but it is so limited, it would be difficult to produce a book trailer with it. As such there are many video editors available for Windows.

Indies Unlimited ( has a tutorial on making a trailer with Windows Movie Maker. Here is the trailer created in the tutorial. (

Wikipedia has pages with lists of popular editors. Here we will focus on a few: iMovie and Final Cut Pro for the Mac and Adobe Premiere Elements and Pro for Windows.

We will focus on several editors:

  1. is an interesting site. It is not a video editor, rather it is a website for creating a video from images, words and video clips.
  2. Apple iMovie (OSX and iOS)
  3. Apple Final Cut Pro X (OSX)
  4. Adobe Premiere Elements (OSX and Windows)
  5. Adobe Premiere Pro (OSX and Windows)

The easiest way to create a trailer is with Animoto. Animoto is host based so there is no software is required on your computer. It works equally well with Windows as well as Mac OSX computers. There are iPhone and Andriod apps when using the site from a smartphone to enable uploading photos and videos.

After creating an Animoto account, you upload and arrange images and videos, add titles, select theme and music, and the Animoto host software creates the trailer. A basic account is free and permits you to create 30-second trailers. This is the approach I teach in my workshops, as it is the easiest way to start. Animoto is very easy to learn. It is a great way to start tuning that script.

Animoto - how it works.png

Photo copyright Animoto

Account Levels

  • Free – 30 second, web quality video (640x360)
  • $5/month ($36/year) – 10 min, web quality (640x360) but fee option for up to 720p, more styles, downloadable video
  • $39/month ($300/year) – 20 min, multi-song, HD quality, fancy styles, downloadable, no branding

Current Pricing

All support upload to YouTube, SmugMug, Vimeo and more.

Start and learn on the free level

This is the strategy I teach in my workshops. Create an account, try the system creating 30 second trailers. If you like the system then join and now you can expand you existing trailers to a longer length.

Getting Started


Animoto intro video.

Help pages on the Animoto site

Animoto Style Examples

Selection of the theme in Animoto has a huge impact on the video. In this example I too the same early version of the trailer for this course and applies five different themes. Each theme comes with music but I was working with Kevin MacLeod's Cherry Blossom so the theme default music was not used.The music is from Kevin MacLeod called Cherry Blossom. For a book trailer, credit Kevin and there is no cost.

Cherry Blossom Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

These were done with an Animoto Plus account.


Grid style


Slide style


Original Animoto style


Inferno Style


Fireworks Style

I did modify some of the images to add borders to change location in the frame. I did not change the music even where the fit was not ideal. The selection of colors as well at the title font impacts the message. IMO the Animoto Original theme worked the best.

Animoto has been creating new styles that are more animated. Here is a video I created recently of pictures of my bull dog Margaret. My wife and I have been creating funny greeting cards of Margaret for years and decided to turn them into a short video. The style and music is called Watercolor Seashore. The level of animation adds a visual dimension to the images.


Watercolor Seashore



1. How Do I Edit a Finalized Animoto Video?

You can now edit a finalized video however when you refinalize just the local copy is changed, you have to reshare the new version of the video.

Click on the GEAR in the lower right of the video you want to edit

Editing a Finalized Video in Animoto

click Edit or Copy if you want to keep the old version and edit a new version of the video.

2. Animoto will make your trailer to the length of all of the slides OR audio which ever is shorter. You do not want the trailer cut off by the audio ending too early. Leave 10 seconds of silence then some talking on the end. Animoto trims off trailing silence so it is necessary to add some throw away sound after the silence. As an example if you wanted 10 seconds of silence, put 15 them some sound. The video will cut at the end of the slides before the throw away sound is used. A few seconds will be consumed as the Animoto logo shows.

3. When a video clip is used in an Animoto trailer the music audio ducks under the clip audio (ie you can hardly hear the music). Also you can not put a title on a video clip.

Apple iMovie

OSX iMovie

OSX iMovie is a free application included with all Macs. It was first released in 1999 and has gone through many releases. The current version is iMovie 10. iMovie is a complete video system including:

  • Import video, images, music and sound
  • Select a theme for the look, titles and transitions
  • Enhance video/photo with colour correction, brightness, contrast
  • Reduce video shake
  • Enhance audio, equalizer, noise reduction
  • Create Ken Burns pans from photos
  • Create picture-in-pictures, cutaways, side-by-sides and green-screen effects
  • Add scene transitions and titles from a large library
  • Export final video to popular social networks and YouTube.

Free and fee tutorials exist for learning iMovie. Many book trailers are produced with iMovie. It has powerful editing features, supports real timeline non-destructive editing and can be used to make professional looking edits. If a user learns iMovie then wants to move past it's limits they can export the project to Final Cut Pro X.


iMovie for iPhone/iPad

iPhone iOS iMovie

In addition to iMovie for OSX, Apple sells iMovie for iOS based products such as iPhone, iTouch and iPad. In the US and Canada it retails for $4.99. iOS iMovie not only gives you the ability to do basic editing on your phone or tablet, but export the project to OSX iMovie for more complex editing.


Due to the large screen editing on an iPad is easier. A common strategy if you have both an iPhone and iPad is to shoot with the iPhone, transfer the videos to the iPad and edit on the iPad. Moving the project to a more capable platform includes then exporting to OSX iMovie and even on to Final Cut X.

  1. Shoot with iPhone
  2. AirDrop video/images to iPad
  3. Edit in iPad iMovie
  4. Export iMovie project to Mac OSX iMovie
  5. Export Mac iMovie to Mac Final Cut X

Shoot with iPhone, edit with iPad

AirDrop iPhone to iPad

The iPhone is a convenient way to capture video. The Apple iOS iMovie app works on both the iPhone and the iPad but is easier to use on iPad doe to the larger screen. One strategy is to capture the video on an iPhone then AirDrop it to an iPad for editing.

Select Files, Share, AirDrop
Select system
Accept file on receiving system

Apple Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X

The most common professional video editors are Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid and Apple Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Pro X is popular with video hobbyists and independent filmmakers but is making inroads with film and television editors who have traditionally used Avid Technology's Media Composer. Final Cut supports not only 1080P HD but also 2K, 4K and 5K film formats. The movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) was editing with Final Cut Pro and won an Academy Award for Best Editing.


Adobe Premiere Elements

Adobe Premiere Elements is the consumer version of Adobe Premiere Pro, the most popular pro level video editor. Elements is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.

If you are looking for an image editor as well as a video editor Adobe sells Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements as a combined package. Photoshop Elements is the consumer version of Adobe Photoshop, the most popular image editor. The combination of Photoshop and Premiere Elements makes a great platform for book trailer creation.


Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro ( is a timeline-based video editing software application. It is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes video editing, graphic design, image editing (Photoshop) and web development programs. Premiere Pro is the most popular computer based video editor and used by major networks such as CNN and BBC.


Closed Captioning

Closed Captions can be added to your trailer. This helps viewers who can not hear your narrative. This could be a deaf viewer or perhaps a TV in a public place without sound turned up and CC turned on. A simple file format is used to describe what to show and when. To caption a video a simple text file is created. There are many possible formats but I worked in SubRip .srt. Here is an example.

BookTrailer101 trailer

Book Trailer 101

Click on the CC in the lower right of the player to see the closed captions. Here is part of the CC file that was uploaded.

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:03,000
Your book is finished. Congratulations. 

00:00:03,000 --> 00:00:07,000
Yours is one of a million new titles in North America this year. 

00:00:07,000 --> 00:00:09,000
How will you make it stand out? 

00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:12,400
A book trailer can ignite your marketing strategy.  

00:00:12,400 --> 00:00:14,000
Now where do you start?

00:00:14,000 --> 00:00:16,000

The actual file used with above video:

Each caption has three parts. The caption number, start time to end time then the caption. Time is formatted as hh:mm:ss,millisecond

YouTube CC Editor.png

YouTube also has an online utility to help caption a video. After captioning a video you can even download the CC file for use with other video hosting sites.

Closed Captioning.png

As I did this trailer in iMovie I got many of the timings from the video assembly screen.

Image Editors

Here is a list of popular image editors for Windows and Mac OSX.



Audio Editors

Here is a list of popular audio editors for Windows and Mac OSX.

When you do your first export of an MP3 audio file the program will not find the LAME library. There is a download button. Just click and follow the directions.

Media File Types

Quality is a key issue with media. Unlike some crime TV shows you can not enhance a media file to increase quality.


  • JPG - JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group - format for continuous tone photos
Preferred for photos
  • GIF Graphics Interchange Format - old format for graphics and basic animated images. Supports transparency.
  • PNG Portable Network Graphics - modern image format for graphics. Supports transparency.
Preferred for graphics
  • TIFF Tagged Image File Format - used for publishing.


  • AIFF Audio Interchange File Format - Mac audio format
  • WAV Waveform Audio File Format - original Windows audio format (no compression)
  • MP3 MPEG Audio Layer III - Highly compressed format
Popular but should be 128 or 192 kbit/s for quality


  • AVI Audio Video Interleave - original Microsoft video format
  • MPG - MPEG Motion Picture Experts Group - DVD video format
Original video format. High quality but large.
  • MOV Apple QuickTime Movie format
  • MP4 MPEG-4 Part 14 - Modern popular video format
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