Four Words Trailer using Adobe After Effects

This week, I've been working on the trailer for Four Words. My original goal was to produce a 30 second trailer to promote the book. This was to include a short audio piece and a background score. The audio piece, which is a phone conversation, ended up being 44 seconds. Even after I edited the sound file and cut out the unneccessary pauses and such, it was still 29 seconds, so the entire trailer is coming out at 50 seconds.

I've been using Adobe After Effects for this project, which is a program I have barely used. I had a couple of assignments in school that used it, but for those we had step by step instructions on what to do to accomplish the goal. This time, I've been all on my own with the internet, and a copy of "After Effects Aprentice" by Trish and Chris Meyer. In truth, I have to admit this would have been easier if I'd actually read the book first, but instead I scoured the index for the bits I wanted and used it as a reference guide. Time permitting, I would like to actually go through the book step by step and absorb all the info.

In addition to After Effects, I've also been using WavePad Sound Editor. I have Acid Pro 7, but that is on another computer and I really haven't enjoyed working with it. WavePad was free to try out and it seems much more user friendly for doing the simple things. Plus there's also the tense and frustrating history with the Acid Pro software and its illustrious creators (read more about that here.)

The hardest part I found about working in After Effects is the extra dimension. I'm used to working in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, where you have several two-dimensional layers, but after effects operates in three-dimensions, plus you have to worry about the timeline as well. Once I figured out how to manipulate different layers within the timeline, I moved along pretty quickly. I'm still not sure how to create some of the more advanced motions and text manipulations, but fortunately there is a pretty good selection of pre-recorded things for that.

Here is what I have so far on the trailer. I'm still probably going to do a little tweaking, as I'm not sure I like the background score, and I want to figure out a way to get those 'chirps' out of there. Visually, it is done.

I should mention that this is a Quicktime video, so if you don't have the Quicktime player, download it here. I should probably also mention that this may take a minute to load as I have this one embedded on my server rather than coming from YouTube.

As I was in the midst of writing this blog entry, I got an update from another blog that I read (Writer Beware) with a link to an article about book trailers. There are several examples of different types and styles of book trailers, and while there is no concrete information on whether or not a trailer should be made, the bottom line seems to be if it get more people to notice, it's a good thing.

Another thing mentioned in the article is the Moby Awards, which is specifically for book trailers. I doubt I'll be winning any awards with this one, but I think it's a good start.