Today, I’m fortunate to have a guest on The Perfect Plot. She is Kathy Golden, a multi-talented person who writes fiction, non-fiction articles, poems and reviews. She is also a composer and recording artist of Christian music as well as being the creator of book trailers.
I was lucky enough to meet Kathy on Marla Madison’s blog Reading and Writing are Fattening featuring Kathy’s post, Book Trailers and Reasons to Have One. After reading the article, I employed Kathy to make a book trailer for my latest release, Lane’s End, and I’m delighted with the results.
For more information on Kathy Golden’s work, please visit her website at
And now here is Kathy to talk about removing black borders from around your images.
How To Remove Black Borders From Around Your Images
First of all, my thanks to Jill for this chance to connect with everyone here on her blog. Both she and Marla have been great in helping me to share my new book trailer service. Jill has posted the link on Marla’s blog to my article about reasons to have a book trailer. There’s some good information in it that can help you make a decision about having a trailer for your book.
What I want to offer, today, is a quick solution on how to rescue your trailer from one of the most common energy-drainers that I see. I’ve seen this issue in trailers created by individuals and in those purchased for hundreds of dollars. This problem is those large black borders that often swallow up an image in a frame. You might ask: why even be concerned about these? The answer is simple and yet major within its own right. Those borders are taking up serious space that is much better used to enhance the influence of your video upon readers.
The most common place this problem occurs is in frames containing book covers. The reason for this is that the frame in HD videos is widescreen with a width and length of 1280 x 720 pixels (pxs). About the widest you can resize a book image and not have it look like an audiobook or wallpaper is around 500 pxs. Consequently the remaining 780 pxs are going to be blackness.
While it’s true that most people might be used to this, the question is whether or not you want to give people what they are used to or keep them as focused and into your story as possible. Bear in mind: a book trailer is a visual experience, and with all that blackness, what are you visually feeding viewers? An inciting peek into your book or blackness?
I’ve seen trailers that have created some great momentum with their images and music up until the finale or final image, which is a book cover unable to impact readers because it looks so small centered in that void. The effect is like being snapped out of the story back into the reality of “Oh, I’m just watching a video.” An inherent letdown and disconnect follow that could keep the viewer from ever finding out more about the book. If nothing else, you want to include some writing in that frame.
The quickest and easiest DIY solution to eliminating those borders is to overlay the image on a matching or compatible backdrop. The example I’m going to show, using one of Jill’s book covers, can be used with practically any image. At the bottom of this article, there’s a link to my website to the place where you can find lots of free images and also a place where you can buy XXL images with 300 dpi resolution for $1 each.
You want to select an image that can be resized to 1280 by 720 without creating distortion. Most images state their resolution somewhere on the page featuring the image by itself. Also be sure to check the attribution license. Some images require that you provide a reference to them somewhere in your project.
Next—and this is important—resize the book cover to about 500 x720. You can experiment with the width to see how wide you feel comfortable with making the cover. But make the height 720, so it matches the height of the frame. When searching for a good picture, consider the colors and images in your cover and then find a good match for a background.
In image One, Once Upon A Lie competes with all that nothingness.
To find the backdrop for Image Two, I did a couple of different queries, but one for “dark ocean” yielded a workable image.
Few can deny that there is a totally different feel between the two frames and that there is a much better sense of connection to the book in Image Two.
Next, here’s an example using something other than a book cover. Jill sent Image Three to me to include in her trailer.
Image Four is the modified version of this picture to fit the time of day in her story, but for our purposes, this scene isn’t large enough to fill the screen.
After locating a compatible backdrop, we get Image Five.
Again, you have a background that blends right in with the scene as opposed to one contrasting with and possibly detracting from its influence on viewers. The lighter backdrop also adds more light to the scene while still allowing it to retain the nighttime look.
These examples pretty much conclude this tutorial.
It’s good if all your images are large enough that they can be resized to fit the screen, but that isn’t always the case. Plus, experimenting with different backgrounds can lead to the addition of some unexpected but awesome atmosphere.
The quickest way to combine your images is using Microsoft Paint, and I’ve included a link to a YouTube video that shows you how to do this. You can search YouTube for more videos on how to do this.
In addition, Book Trailer Services will create these images for you to use in your own products.
This final image, image six
contains the three pictures I combined to create the opening frame of Jill’s trailer, featuring her book cover.
The book-cover image in the trailer is one of the more complex ways of creating backdrops and involves layering, blending, and coloring using software like Paint.net or Photoshop or Gimp. The frame also includes a motion clip that brings the clouds to life. So take a look at the trailer and see what you think of the finished product.
One final note: If you are having your trailer created, let the creator know that you don’t want frames with images squashed between those borders.
Thanks for reading this article. I hope you gained some helpful information from it. If you have any questions about this tutorial, just post them.
Sources for free- or for-purchased-images:
YouTube on using Microsoft Paint to combine images:
Book Trailer Services:
Connect with Kathy on Twitter: @KathyGoldenKG