It’s Easy to Make a Book Reading Video, isn’t it?

May 4, 2020

Maybe you watched one of my “Book Reading” videos for kids. If so, you probably thought to yourself, “If Brian can make a book reading video, anybody can!”

While it is true that anyone can make a book reading video, the reality is that there are many steps. It is a tedious process that takes much more time and effort than what appears on the screen.

It can be a very tiring and frustrating process. The thought of my granddaughter and other children enjoying my book reading videos is what makes it worthwhile. I thought it would make for an interesting blog post, so here we go!

Step-1: Select a book for the video
This may seem easy enough, but there are many things to think about. What age level am I going for? How many pages and therefore, how long will the video be? How easy will it be to scan the pages and what about the crease in the middle for two-page spreads? There are multiple considerations with this seemingly simple first step.

Step-2: Scan the images
If you have ever scanned any type of document, picture or page, you know full well how annoying this step can be. It’s especially difficult with children’s books when trying to get an acceptable image. Not to mention trying to hold the book sometimes with both hands while pressing the button included with my scanner. Lighting is another problem to deal with. Scanning is a pain in the neck!

Step-3: Edit the images
I use Photoshop to edit the images. I am definitely NOT a Photoshop wizard, so this takes a lot of time with loads of mistakes and frustration. I often use several layers on each page to bring in the multiple images and lines of type to give the video a sense of movement to keep the kids interested (and awake). The end result is usually good, but the time it takes is enormous.

Step-4: Shoot the video while recording the audio
Almost all the videos in which I appear are shot with a crew of one person, me. Perhaps I will make a separate blog about that topic someday because it is a very involved but interesting process. Let’s just say that between setting up and testing before the video shoot and then shooting the video with loads of mistakes, a certain amount of the aging process takes its toll on my body and mind! (I haven’t even talked about the simultaneous audio recording process and its unique list of frustrations. Maybe another blog post in the future.)

Step-5: Edit the video, audio, graphics and music
This is the step where everything comes together much the the old Henry Ford assembly line. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for editing the video and Adobe Audition to edit the audio. Multiple activities occur during this “step” of the process. It can take many hours just processing the audio dialog, producing the background music, animating the images and text, as well as all the titles and graphics that may be included. Another colossal pain in the keister!

Step-6: Checking and encoding the video
After so many hours in front of the computer editing and working on your masterpiece, you are sick and tired of the book, the work and seeing yourself on screen. You MUST persevere at this point much like a man crawling through the desert to find water. It is very important to catch any on-screen mistakes before they become a permanent record in the future history of mankind. Encoding is the process of taking the finished edited video and “formatting” it to be uploaded as an MP4 file on YouTube, which after all is the point here.

Step-7: Uploading to YouTube for the world to see your masterpiece!
I’d like to say that this is the easy part…. but it’s not! Sure, uploading the video to YouTube is simple, but there are many steps to get to the finish line. Writing an effective title and description are not easy undertakings. Then you have to think about and create tags (keywords) that will get you found in the YouTube universe (I’m still working on that). Oh yeah, don’t forget about creating an awesome and alluring thumbnail image you hope and pray will stand out among the other zillion images.

So there you have it!

Please keep in mind that the steps outlined above are broad brush strokes. There are so many additional details included with each part of each step. I also didn’t mention all of the time, money knowledge and learning required for each detail along the way.

If I haven’t convinced you to not ever consider a “Book Reading” video like the ones that Brian makes, I can’t help you neighbor!

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