Subject Librarian

Anatomy of a library induction teaser trailer

Image c/o Barbara Mazz on Flickr.

A couple of days ago I had the idea of creating a short library induction advert for the start of the new year. The plan for the coming year in terms of social media is to really go for it with video content. We’ve had a real focus on images in the past year (hello Instagram) because we’ve found it a particularly successful way of reaching out to students and staff (image based updates on our Facebook Page regularly hit comfortable triple figures with images…it was low double figures with text based updated). We’ve been fortunate enough to have an excellent intern creating some video content for us on all sorts of aspects of the service, but I thought a short video promoting library inductions might be a good thing to put together.

The first thing I was clear on was that I didn’t want it to be like many library promo video clips tend to be: cramming every possible thing from every possible angle into a 2-3min video. I wanted it to be short, snappy and focused. I also wanted it to be light-hearted without being too try-hard. There’s something a bit desperate about the library clips that play on pop culture references and I’m not sure they are that effective at getting their point across. So, equipped with an iPad and an iPhone, I set about trying to create a short, snappy, light-hearted TV style teaser trailer for library inductions.

Despite not being one for being in front of a camera (honest), I thought live footage interwoven with some text might be the way to go. I wanted to make it very clear to students what they would get out of the induction without being exhaustive. I figured the best way to achieve this would be to highlight the many online resources we have, then indicate that the library induction is there to help them find out how to access these resources and make the most of their studies. Rather than talk to camera stuff, I figured “fun” text slides plus some light-hearted live footage to break it up might work.

To shoot the live footage I got one of our library assistants to shoot some video of me sitting alone in one of our training rooms (the idea being me sitting there on my own waiting for people to come along so I can share all the great stuff we offer). We had a few takes (believe it or not – including a “test shot”) and then recorded two separate clips with slightly different poses. After shooting the video, I then used Spark Camera (iOS) to add a filter to the video footage (Cairo in this case). I’ve used Spark Camera a lot over the past couple of years to add filters to short video clips (there are some really nice filters on there), I’d certainly recommend trying it out (although it is limited to editing around 40secs of video – not a big issue if you are shooting multiple small scenes though).

Once I finished recording I then started work on the text elements. For this, rather confusingly, I used an app called Adobe Spark Video. I’ve used this before to create a short video clip promoting subject librarians (having seen some great examples from Huddersfield by Laura Woods and Jess Haigh), but that time I just used the elements available within the app, not interspersed with live footage. Again, this is a really handy app which makes it easy to create interesting videos (you can add your own images, creative commons licensed icons, music and an audio narrative). It comes with a range of good looking themes that you can use, I picked one that was striking and with a nice bold font to make it easy to read (some of the fonts are a bit light and lack the punch I was looking for).

As I was intending to intersperse the text elements with the live video elements I had to do a fair bit of faffing around to stitch it all together. To do so, I created the text in three parts:

  1. Text before the first live clip.
  2. Text between the two clips.
  3. Text after the last clip.

At each stage I saved what I had done, saved it to the camera roll and then removed the Adobe text at the end of the video. When I had done this for each of the three sections of text, I then put the completed clips into iMovie alongside the live footage. I shortened the live footage clips in iMovie, added one of the default iMovie music tracks to the trailer than added some fade so the music didn’t end abruptly (I’m not a massive fan of the default music tracks…but I don’t have money to spare on royalty payments, or time to spare on creating or finding CC0 licensed music so they will have to do).

It was a bit of a faff having to use three different apps to create it, but I was quite pleased with the result. I think it ticked the boxes I was aiming for: snappy, focused, light-hearted and minimalist. I guess I’ll find out whether it works as a teaser trailer for library inductions when the new academic year begins!

You can view the clip below…do let me know what you think!

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2 Responses

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