For one of the classes I am taking this semester, I needed to create a book trailer. I read a book we had just received from our Junior Library Guild Subscription, These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly. It is a historical fiction mystery, set in New York City in the 1890s – which seems to be a fairly popular setting in YA fiction. I enjoyed the novel, and thought especially that the depictions of social constraints for all types of people in that setting were well used. Also, as a Jennifer Donnelly novel, the characters are engaging and rich, and I found myself cringing as the heroine, Jo Montfort, was often in dangerous situations.
I then set about creating my trailer, and I admit, the whole process easily took me more hours than the literature review I had due for my other class did. I began by using an iMovie template, but found it to be unworkable. I was not able to modify the template at all, and while it did have great features, I decided to abandon it and go another route. ( I have subsequently been informed that you can save a template as a project, and then modifications are much more possible).
After a quick internet search, I happened across an article by Richard Byrne called, “Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Free Tools for Creating Book Trailer Videos”. I had used Animoto in the past, but my free trial had ended, and I was not sure if I could justify the purchase price at this time. I decided to try Masher, as it offered the tools I needed.
I was able to create a pretty good video between using Masher and music from the Free Music Archive – but then I could not get it to download. Tech support from Masher was helpful throughout, but we never did fix the issue. They did suggest next time I sign up as an educator and try it that way, so that might be an avenue I do consider.
At this point I was cursing the entire concept of Book Trailers, and ended up emailing a librarian listserv I belong to. They were, of course, highly helpful, and one person suggested the Chrome extension WeVideo. I installed that, and it worked very well. My video worked, and it was easy to add text to the still images I had found. I will say the saving grace for me was that as I found images, I copied and pasted their link into a Google Drive document, so I could find the images later and cite them correctly. Also, I saved the images to my photos and desktop so I could get them again later.
Finally done with that, I spent the next hour or two on my works cited page, thinking perhaps historical fiction, with the difficulties in image finding, was not the best original choice.
I admit my attitude was pretty bad regarding the whole episode, until a couple of days later, when a student came into the library with tech issues of their own. I worked with them on troubleshooting, and even suggested WeVideo as an alternative to Screencastify. They decided to stay with the original program, but the interaction made me realize that unless I am willing to try new programs and technology, how will I continue to help my students? Also, I will not glibly throw off the suggestion to just, “make a book trailer”, without coming up with some appropriate guides and help for my students first.
I am not going to share my finished project here for a couple of reasons. 1 – All I can see are the mistakes on this one. 2. – I have a works cited page, but I lack the rights for a lot of the images, and I don’t want to be a poor steward of copyright law.