There are all sorts of things that go with having a new novel out. Making a book trailer is an optional extra, but it’s a lot of fun, so I’ve put one together for A Stranger’s House. (I had a little help from the rest of the family when it came to the night-time photography and music!)
Here’s the result:
As with the trailer for You Think You Know Me, I used Microsoft’s Movie Maker. I love its simplicity (and the fact that it came free with Windows of course…) When you open the programme, you immediately get a screen inviting you to browse for videos and photos you want to include in your project. You can also use the ‘Add photos and videos’ button to do this, or simply drag and drop items into place. Dragging and dropping also works to alter their order as required. Then you can add a sense of movement to stills by adjusting the settings labelled ‘pan and zoom’ in the ‘animations’ tab, and use the ‘caption’ button to overlay text. If you want a blank slide at any stage, so you can have text without an image, then you just click ‘Title’ after which you can add your words and select a background colour.
Adding the music was more straightforward than I’d expected. As I’d recorded the soundtrack on my iPhone (must invest in some better kit…) and Movie Maker is a Windows programme, I was expecting to have to covert the file format. In fact, I just clicked the ‘add music’ button in Movie Maker, browsed for the original file and it played ball straight away. Movie Maker allows you to cut music tracks to the right length too (using the ‘split’ button in the music tools tab, which appears once you’ve added an audio file.) And you can also fade the sound in and out, which has been handy in the past.
In case anyone’s curious about the photos in the trailer, here’s a bit of background:
Midsummer Common and Jesus Green
At the start of A Stranger’s House, Ruby finds herself homeless, and takes up a house-sitting job as a stopgap. The villa she stays in overlooks Midsummer Common, which is shown in these pictures. The Cambridge Commons are beautiful places by day, but late at night they’re isolated and best avoided if you’re walking alone.
Next up is Jesus Green, which borders Midsummer Common. This photo was taken at dusk, and perhaps conveys the feeling of loneliness that overtakes some of Cambridge’s open spaces at night.
A typical summer scene on the River Cam, taken from Garret Hostel Bridge, looking towards Trinity College Bridge. The river can get a lot more crowded, and, believe it or not, ‘punt rage’ is a thing…
OK, DD1 took this next one. My efforts were a blur. It’s one of Cambridge’s most famous views, King’s College chapel, taken from The Backs, looking across the River Cam.
The River Cam
The river runs right through the centre of Cambridge, and several of the city’s commons border it. In the mornings, paths that run along its edge are heavily used by cyclists travelling to work and school, as well as rowing trainers, also on bikes, their eyes fixed firmly on the river. It makes for an interesting commute, that keeps everyone on their toes!
The part of the Cam shown below borders Midsummer Common and is the view my heroine, Ruby, has as she walks along the river. The waterway’s lined on one side with houseboats, and opposite you can see the college boathouses. Early in the mornings in term time, this bit of the bank is crowded with student rowers, lowering their heavy boats on to the water, ready for training.
And finally, this is the view of the river from the bottom of our road, as Midsummer Common gives way to streets lined with Victorian terraces. It’s where Ruby walks to get provisions when she first arrives in Cambridge.
Right. I suppose I’d better stop twiddling about with photos now and get on with some actual work. Ho hum!