You don’t need a Hollywood budget to make a book trailer. Novelist Richard Melo made a book trailer (embedded above) with public domain video clips.
Here’s more about the video:
This is the first in a series of short films highlighting an aspect of a new novel published by Red Lemonade in June 2013. The book begins at an American nursing academy established in Haiti during the 1950s. The images are from public domain films (listed below), while the background songs are Laura Nyro’s ‘Sweet Blindness’ and Brigitte Fontaine’s “Il se passe des choses.” You can learn more about Happy Talk and the short film series at facebook.com/harborcoat
If you are looking for public domain material to use in your own book trailers, you should explore the Prelinger Archives online–a collection of thousands of “advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur” films assembled by Rick Prelinger over the last twenty years.
Here’s more about the license for the material in the archive:
Rick Prelinger and The Internet Archive hereby offer these public domain films from Prelinger Archives to all for free downloading and reuse. You are warmly encouraged to download, use and reproduce these films in whole or in part, in any medium or market throughout the world. You are also warmly encouraged to share, exchange, redistribute, transfer and copy these films, and especially encouraged to do so for free. Any derivative works that you produce using these films are yours to perform, publish, reproduce, sell, or distribute in any way you wish without any limitations.
If you need more inspiration, ovelist Jurgen Fauth had remix artist Ivan Guerrero create a book trailer for his novel, Kino.
Guerrero is a video creator who uses public domain footage to make popular “premakes” of films such as Up! (1965), The Avengers (1952), and The Empire Strikes Back (1950). His inspiring work shows a whole world of possibilities for book trailers.