No fog horns, just a jingle

Sailors' warning

Videos are on my mind. Not the neatly packaged and enticingly or garishly labelled bought from a shelf in supermarket or shop, or downloaded or streamed to computer. But a short promotional video, shot, assembled and brought into the world by me to publicise my novel Any news from India?

I’ve been thinking about it for ages, mulling over what I might do, and hitting problems as to how I would convey the complexity of a novel with numerous characters and locations, distilling all into a brief minute or two minutes. The challenges and pitfalls of writing book cover blurb seem as nothing to this. Yet I love using images in my writing, so I kept telling myself I just had to get down to making some decisions and doing it.

The project became further complicated when, after sending my apologies for non attendance at the H G Wells short story competition dinner and award ceremony at the end of November, I was asked if I could send a video of me reading the first page of my shortlisted story. So ideas about that took over my mind and pushed the other incubating video into the background. Though full of enthusiasm to organise husband to set up the camera, having asked one of my sons for tips on lighting, how to ensure reasonable sound, continuity if it ends up being shot in clips and put together, the days have passed with other happenings and necessities (like shopping) intervening.

However I have produced artwork for opening and closing captions for which I dredged up some photographs to add interest. That restirred interest in the book video, and this week I finally sat down to put something together.

I had vaguely wondered about using some old cine film footage of India (shot in colour in the 1930s/40s), interspersed with a few stills of wording and photographs. That appealed, but husband is busy and persuading him to set up the antique cine projector to run the old films prone to breaking and melting, and taking time to rejoin, while filming the scratchy, hairy images on the screen with the video camera, wasn’t going to fit in his schedule. Would have been interesting, and I might still attempt it later, but meantime I wanted a faster solution.

The faster solution was no video footage, but to put together a series of stills into a brief trailer for my book. In my writing I’m not good at planning. If I plan my mind goes blank. If a vague idea, a phrase, a word even, catches my imagination and enthuses me then I can start to write, and when I write the ideas flow. Making the trailer was much the same. Start at the beginning and work my way through it, keeping the message very simple as viewers won’t read too much wording, and using images to convey what words hinted.

Only, as with books and other writing, the beginning isn’t always the beginning because adding something there can help hook attention and involvement. Though I’ve produced many creative Powerpoint presentations, I’m far from an expert at video, having previously made only one other (for my book The Seaweed Cage – But I learn as I go, and this one was easier using only jpgs of my artwork.

iMovie has many wonderful options to explore, but apart from a couple of transitions I’ve kept it simple, adding only music. I spent time one afternoon, headphones clamped to my ears, listening to what iMovie calls jingles and selecting what I thought the most appropriate piece. I haven’t even added any of their fog horns (as in my previous effort) or audience laughing clips. This time, the jingle is fine on its own.

So all this has been a very long way of saying here’s the video I’ve produced for my new book Any news from India? Please watch. Thank you.

Any news from India? is published by Twinlaw Publishing and is available in paperback from It is also available from Amazon as a paperback and ebook.


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
This entry was posted in Any news from India?, Books of Scottish interest, Dorothy Bruce, Historical nuggets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to No fog horns, just a jingle

  1. Chris says:

    Your video came out well. When I read that you’d chosen a “jingle”, I was a little worried, but the music is perfect. Your original plan to use old footage sounds wonderful, but also a lot of trouble. Might be nice to go through with it someday when you and your husband have time though, as a way of preserving those old films before they melt or crumble irreparably.

    • Thanks, Chris. It’s fun to do.
      We’ve been meaning to do something about the old inherited cine films for ages but other things that seem at the time more important always intervene. Now I have an excuse. Amongst the films is one of a manganese mine with whole families from toddlers to great grannies working there in a white pall of dust. Quite horrific. There’s also one on the launching of the Queen Mary. Really must do something about them.

  2. Pat Mosel says:

    Intriguing and atmospheric Dorothy.

    • Thanks, Pat. It’s fun to do. iMovie (which comes with an Apple Mac) makes so much possible, and has transitions, sound effects and music you can drop in or you can make your own music with Garageband. I think I could become quite addicted to it if I took enough video. It’s very satisfying translating some aspects of a book into another medium.

  3. By the way, Chris, I called the music a jingle as that is how iMovie describes their pieces of music. Odd name, but I was glad to find a piece that went with the images and book.

  4. Mama Cormier says:

    Brilliant! I loved your video. Everything worked well together.

  5. So pleased you liked it, Carol. Quite time consuming to produce, but lots of fun. You could have a field day with your artwork and photographs. I was lucky with the music. It was right for the subject matter, and fitted well with the sequence of images.

    When your grandchild makes an appearance (hope all goes well for everyone concerned) you’ll have lots of excuses to take video clips and can play around fitting them together into longer videos to share with others.

  6. carol1945 says:

    I just watched your video, and I think it is excellent. I have been going to classes at Apple to try to learn how to use iMovie. Totally time consuming, yes. Great results, yes!!

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