How to Create a Trailer – Part 3

Assemble and Edit

In the first two parts of this tutorial, I’ve tried to show you some of the basic tools and steps to making the raw material for your video. In big-screen movie parlance, the entire process is broken down into Pre-production, Production, Post-production and Distribution. This is the part where we’re going to put it all together. This  is called Post-production. Let me start with showing you where I am right now.

My local hard drive has a new folder that I called SBVideo. It only contains ten files.

Here’s the list:

  • AutumnField.jpg
  • AutumnRoad.jpg
  • Church.jpg
  • MoonShot01.jpg
  • MoonShot02.jpg
  • MoonShot03.jpg
  • OtherKinStar.png
  • SheepTree.jpg
  • Script.txt
  • ShifterBorn03.mp3

The first eight are graphic images. The script file is raw text and Shifter Born03 is the audio file I’m going to use for my background music. This bit of planning is to keep from getting confused with the hundreds of other image, sound and text files on my system. We’ll start with the script file. Here’s a copy of it:

[image] MoonShot02.jpg
Shifter Born by Anthony Stevens
[image] AutmnField
Sam Delant is eighteen, two weeks from high school graduation and his alcoholic stepfather beats him regularly.
[image] AutumnRoad.jpg
Marcie Lebeaux is 19 and a knows more about Sam's emerging talents than he does.
[image] MoonShot03.jpg
After a beating that should have put him in the hospital, can Marcie teach him to survive with his inner beast?
[image] SheepTree.jpg
A well-respected priest hosts a gathering of shifters while a photographer hides in the woods, gathering evidence.
[image] Church.jpg
If they catch him, will he pay the ultimate price for invading their privacy?
[image] MoonShoto1.jpg
Shifter Born by Anthony Stevens
Available from
[image] OtherKinStar.png
More information and some free stories can be found at:

You can see that this is a very simple list and that each of the [image] tags is the name of one of my picture files. The text between them will be used to overlay each image during the video.

NOTE: Before you start assembling your video, be sure to resize all of the images you’re going to use to 640×480 (or whatever format you’ve chosen for your video). I forgot to do it first time around and when I was done and rendered the video, the photos all looked terrible. I had to delete them all, resize and then replace them in the video editor file. It cost me a couple of hours.

The next step was to load my Non-Linear Editor, Kdenlive. If you’re using a Windows system, you’ll probably load Movie Maker.

YouTube now recommends these setting for your video:

  • H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 format
  • 1280×720 resolution
  • 44.1KHz Stereo MP3 or AAC audio
  • Frame rate as the original video
  • Up to 1GB file size and 10 min. duration

Creating the File

However, YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI and .MOV. Again, you may get the best results from converting your file to MPEG4 video with MP3 audio. As I mentioned earlier, I want to be able to view this on some of the older computers as well, so I’ve set it to 640×480 NTSC.

I started by saving my blank movie file as ShifterBorn1. The default save for Kdenlive is an XML text file that points to all of your other files and provides the transition information.

Loading Content

One at a time, I loaded all of the still images as ‘clips’. Then, I loaded the ShifterBorn03.mp3 file.

Since I had modified the audio file (version three), I placed it on one of the time lines. That was going to determine the overall length of my new video.

I opened the text file in a separate text editor and had it off to one side of my screen. One at a time, I took the raw text lines for each section and used them to create seven new title clips. These are just black backgrounds with white lettering.


I started with the opening title clip, placed it on a separate time line, starting at the very beginning. I applied a “fade from black” to it so that you see a blank screen to start and then the text fades into place.

A dissolve led to a picture, then another dissolve led to the first of the story clips. I continued alternating in this manner through the rest of the video.

NOTE: Be sure to take an extra couple of seconds to save your work after you add each clip and its associated effects.

Once I had adjusted the timing for each section and everything seemed to flow properly, I “rendered” the final MPEG4 video.


Keep in mind that Kdenlive and most non-linear editors do not save your work as a single file. They leave all the separate components, such as video clips, audio clips and still image clips as totally discrete files. What they save is in effect, a script that ties them all together. That is why, when you have finished creating your masterpiece, you need to render it to a video file. The rendering process follows the script you have created and generates a single video file in the format you have defined. Another nice feature about this, is that should you wish to create the same video in another format, all you have to do is render it again.

Most Non-Linear Editors have multiple special effects you can apply. These are things like dissolves, wipes, fades, etc. I would highly recommend playing with all of them, just so you have an idea what your particular software can do. But do not apply a lot of different ones to the same video.

The Final Product

Here’s the latest video trailer that I created while writing this segment. I hope it is helpful.

Next time, we’re going to discuss how to get your video out to the world.

3 thoughts on “How to Create a Trailer – Part 3

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful series that you are doing! I had made a few music videos (nothing fancy) but had I known what I was doing (via reading this) I believe I would have really shined!

    I am bookmarking these posts, so when it come down to me doing a book trailer, I am already!

    Once again, thank you for offering this service to those of us who are less than intelligent when it comes to all the new gadgets at our disposal.

    You, my friend, ROCK!

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