Instructions for creating poem videos with Lumen5
Several readers have reached out to me wanting to know how I make poem videos. Even more important is how I create them for free. My only expense is my time.
While making my most recent video, A World of Contrasts (shown at the end of this article), I wrote these instructions.
Be sure to check out my YouTube channel to see all my poem videos. New videos are added every week. Please subscribe while you’re there.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Primarily, this post is about using the free options available on Lumen5.
Create a Free Account
The first step to make a free poem video is to create a free account with Lumen5.
Go to Lumen5 (affiliate link) and create a free account.
You will need to verify your email but should get the verification email almost immediately.
Once verified, go to your Dashboard.
From the dashboard, click on Create Video in the upper right corner of the screen.
There are three options for creating a new poem video.
Start with a link
Use this option if your poem is already in a blog post. Medium links will work, but it must be the main story link. Friend links will not work.
Choose a template
This option let’s you make your poem video from scratch if you want to write the text as you go.
Start with some text
If your poem isn’t already published online, copy and paste its text into the text box. This is my preferred option.
Choose a Format
Select the video type you want to create. Lumen5 will create videos for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and custom videos.
I create most of my poem videos for YouTube, so I usually start with that option. Just scroll down until you find YouTube.
Note: Once your video is complete, you can return to the dashboard and select the Make a Copy option. In the copy, you can select a different platform and Lumen5 will reformat the video for you. It will take a little editing to get it right, but Lumen5 does most of the work for you.
Select a Theme
The next step to make a free poem video with Lumen5 is to select a theme.
Lumen5 has a collection of themes you can use for your video. If one catches your eye right away, select it. If not, just pick any theme. You can always change the theme later.
Lumen5 will select random lines from your poem and create scenes. Scenes are portions of the video using the same background image or video. To make things easier, I usually delete all except the first scene.
Before doing anything else, simply click, No, clear board, in the upper right corner. Lumen5 will delete all the scenes it added. Don’t worry, the text of your poem won’t be changed. This option only appears once at the start of the project.
To delete a specific scene, click on the small trash can to the left of the scene.
Once you are down to just one scene, which should be the title of your poem, you can start adding scenes.
Your poem should appear on the left side of the screen. If not, click Story on the far left menu.
As you hover over your lines, a green circle will appear to the right. Click the circle, and Lumen5 will create a new scene for your video.
Note: Lumen5 uses a lot of memory, so adding scenes can be a slow process. It’s best the click on the line and wait for the scene to load fully before clicking the next line.
As a free member, you can create videos up to five minutes. You should have no trouble fitting your poem in the five-minute window unless you’ve written the next Beowulf. Most of my poems are in the 2–4 minute range.
Move scenes up or down by clicking the arrows above and below the scene number.
Before I start my project, I like to change the video speed. In the top right corner, click the small arrow next to the video time. You’ll want to watch this number. As a free member, videos must be under five minutes.
The options are Fast, Normal, and Slow. Poetry should be savored and read slowly, so I usually switch to Slow. You’ll learn how to adjust the length of each scene a little later.
Each line of your poem will be its own scene. If you are happy with that, skip down to Working with Media. However, if you want several lines of the poem to be part of the same scene – have the same background image or video – keep reading.
Often, I like to keep stanzas together with the same background. That’s how I made Darkness Is Coming.
Other times, I want scenes to show contrast or specific emotions. I used this method in today’s poem. (Video at the bottom of this page.)
Lumen5 will have added videos and images that it thinks are appropriate, but don’t worry, it’s easy to replace them. I rarely keep any of the scenes the AI picks for me.
There’s no easy way to combine scenes, at least not that I’ve found so far. Instead, you’ll want to go to the first line of the poem you want to be part of the scene and click the Add Subscene link. There are two ways to do this.
Click on the text in the scene. Next, click on the far-right button with the plus sign.
You’ll find the same button on the left side of every scene.
Find the line of text you want to move to another scene and select it all. To select, you can either click and drag your mouse across the text or click in the text box and hit Ctrl + A. (I’ll be using Windows shortcuts in this post.) It will highlight all the text.
Once the text is selected, cut it out. To cut, either right-click on the selected text and then click on Cut or hit Ctrl + X.
Click on the scene or the subscene where you want the text to appear and paste it. To paste, either right-click in the box and select Paste or hit Ctrl + V.
Repeat this process until each stanza of the poem is in a scene or subscene.
If you accidently delete the text, you can type it in manually.
Working With Media
As you continue to make a free poem video, now is time to get creative. On the left side of the screen, select the Media tab.
You will see four options at the top of the white section: Library, GIFs, Uploads, and Recent.
Library. The Library tab is where you can select images and videos from Lumen5’s collection. You’ll probably spend most of your time on this tab.
GIFs. This tab is Lumen5’s collection of GIFs. I find the videos to be of better quality than the GIFs, so I rarely use this option.
Uploads. This tab is the videos and images you have uploaded.
As you make your free poem video, you may find an image on another site you want to use. First, download it to your computer. I like to keep all stock images in a Stock folder in my Pictures folder.
To upload the picture to Lumen5, go to the Uploads tab and click Upload images and videos. You can then drag and drop the files you want to upload or click in the middle of the box to search your computer for the file.
Recent. The Recent tab shows images and videos you have used recently.
Star. The star icon is a list of videos and pictures you’ve added to your favorites. To add to this collection, hover over an image in the library and click the star in the lower right corner.
As a free member, you can only use media marked “free.” As you hover over an image, it will show FREE in the upper left corner.
Some images and videos may be marked Editorial use only. Lumen5 will alert you if you add one of these images to your video. Generally, poems are considered Editorial use, but if you’re not sure, read Lumen5’s answer in Is my video commercial or editorial?
Finding an Image
On the Library tab, there’s a search line. Type a word or phrase that’s appropriate for your poem. I started this video with the word “sunny.” It rarely happens when I make a free poem video, but I ended up using the second picture shown.
Hover over a video image to see the video preview. Click on the three little dots in the upper right corner of the image to see it larger. The larger view will also show you the length of the video. A four-line stanza will take 16 or more seconds, so you’ll want to consider this when choosing videos.
Once you find an image or video you want to use, click and drag it over the scene you want. The whole scene will shade green right before you release your mouse button.
Again, Lumen5 can be a little slow, especially if you have a long video or a slow computer processor. It may take a couple seconds before the image updates. Be patient. This site is worth it.
Next to the search line is a drop-down box where you can refine your search. The options include searching only for images or videos.
If you can’t find the right image or video in the library, you can find options on other royalty-free stock sites. My favorite is Pixabay, but a quick internet search will provide you with many more.
Repeat the process and select images for each scene of your poem.
The next as you make a free poem video is to edit the appearance of your text.
As a free member, you have limited options. Each theme allows you to highlight text giving you at least two colors to work with.
Even as a free member, you can find other color choices by changing the theme. To change a theme, click on Style on the left of the screen. Next click Change Theme.
Once you select a new theme, it will take a few seconds for Lumen5 to update all of your scenes.
For paid members, additional options are available to select text color, font, and background colors.
Text can be edited both in the Story window and in the scene. I prefer to edit in the scene because it has formatting options.
Click on the text in any scene to open the text box. With a text box open, you have several options for editing.
The Paint icon on the left is for highlighting. Select a word and click the paint bucket to highlight it. The theme you choose determines the highlight color. Upgrade and you can choose this color.
The Drop icon is for clearing highlights. Click it, and it will remove all highlights from that text box.
The Grid icon determines where the text appears in the frame. Click on it, and you have nine options of where you want the text to appear in the scene. Select the location you prefer. Changes made with this option will change all text in the entire scene.
The two Ts allow you to change text size. Clicking it will give you six options: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, and a slide rule for custom select. Changing text size only changes the subscene you are in. If you want all subscenes to have the same size font, adjust it in each subscene window.
One drawback of Lumen5 is no global settings are available to free members. If you want a larger or smaller text throughout your video, adjust each scene individually.
As you make a free poem video, you need to spend some time with the video and image options.
To the right of each scene is the following menu.
Preview plays the selected scene by itself. It’s useful when you only need to change a scene or two and don’t want to watch the whole video to see how the changes look.
Layouts will let you change how your image or video looks in the scene. Clicking Layouts opens a menu on the left for you to make a new selection. Choosing a new layout will change your text size, but you can easily resize it again by clicking the two Ts.
The Time option changes the length of a scene. Lumen5 does a great job of setting the scene length based on the number of words present, but you may want to make the scene longer or shorter for effect. Click the plus or minus buttons to adjust scene length.
More Options takes you to another screen to make additional adjustments to the image or video.
Dimmer provides a sliding tool to select the brightness of the image. This option is helpful if the text is getting lost in the background because of a similar color.
If you’re using a single image, there’s a Background Animation drop-down box. Use those selections to change how the image appears during the scene. Zoom in, zoom out, or pan right or left. Movement turns the single image into a video.
Still images give you a limited Crop function. To be honest, it’s not very helpful when making YouTube videos, but I can see where it would be a suitable tool for Instagram stories or other video formats.
Video images have a Trim option. With it, you can adjust the portion of the video visible in your scene. I used this option with the line, “The good shines from within,” showing the children running on the beach. (Time mark 1:39.) The source video is 21 seconds, but I only used four seconds of it.
While many people watch videos with the sound off, music is an important step as you make a free poem video.
Going back to the tabs on the left, it’s time to click on the Music tab.
Music is one of my passions, so this part of the process is always a bit of a rabbit hole for me. It’s easy to spend hours trying to choose the right track to fit your poem.
Keep in mind that most music has copyright protection. While you would love to use Adele’s Hello as the background track for your poem, you can’t. At least, not without her written permission.
The good news is that the music options offered through Lumen5 are safe from copyright restrictions. There are a ton of options, so you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect tune to fit your poem.
I start by selecting the Mood drop-down at the end of the search line. You can also search by word or phrase.
Mood options include Calm, Dark, Funky, Romantic, Inspirational, etc. Give some thought to mood as you make your free poem video.
When searching by word, try to search for a specific genre of music or instrument. I love piano music, so I often search for Piano. Other terms you could consider are Acoustic, Pop, Ballad, etc.
To the left of each song is a play button. Click it once to start the song and again to stop it.
Most of the time, you will know within a few seconds if a song won’t fit your poem.
When you find the perfect song, click in the song box anywhere other than the play button. That will move the selected song to the top of the page as shown above.
Pay attention to the length of songs while making your choice. Lumen5 will take care of you if the right song is too long or short for your poem. When the song is too long, Lumen5 will fade out the song at an appropriate place. If the song you select is too short, Lumen5 will repeat it until it’s the full length of the video.
My goal when I create a poem video is to find a song about the same length as my video, but that doesn’t always work. The perfect song is the perfect song, regardless of length. You know when you’ve found the right one.
You’re nearing the end, and this is the fun part.
At the top of the page is a Preview button. Clicking it will open a pop-up window and play your video in its entirety.
The first time through, make notes on scenes that don’t look right or have text errors. Make sure text is easy to read and images are bright enough.
This is where the scene preview button is useful. After you’ve watched your whole video, go to the scene(s) you need to change. You can now watch just that scene to see if it looks the way you want it to.
I suggest watching the full video several times. As you do, try to imagine you are the reader seeing it for the first time. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Is all the text easy to read?
- Do the background images fit the theme of the poem?
- Does the music invoke the right emotion for the poem?
- Is the video speed paced so even a slow reader can read each line?
Time to Publish
When you are happy with your finished video, it’s time to publish it. Next to the Preview button at the top of the screen is the Publish button.
Click Publish, and Lumen5 will produce your video. It takes several minutes to process and download the video. In the meantime, the video will play on your screen, but you don’t have to wait around.
Lumen5 will send you an email when your video is ready. There will also be a copy in your Download folder on your computer ready to upload to social media or your blog.
I upload my video to my YouTube channel immediately after it’s ready. You’ll find joy is sharing yours, too.
Congratulations! You have succeeded in your goal to make a free poem video with Lumen5.
I’m sure you’ll have a few bumps and bruises along the way, but hopefully, this article has given you enough basics to turn your poem into a video.
Your first video won’t be perfect. That’s okay. You can redo it later after you gain more experience. Think of it as your first pancake.
My first poem video isn’t great, but still received over 70 views. I know that’s a pittance compared to videos with millions of views, but those views were enough to keep me creating. I’d like to think I’ve improved with time.
More likely, though, I imagine the thrill you’ll feel when sharing your finished product. In fact, I would love to see it. Please come back to this story and share a link to your poem in the comments below.
I look forward to seeing all of your poems in video format. Have fun!
The video I created while writing this story.