Two Minutes and Thirty Two Seconds

After watching and really studying these movie trailers, the main thing I learned is that the tactics employed in the trailers are largely based on the genre of the movie. The length of shots, types of transitions, pacing, music and sound effects are just a few of the factors filmmakers can play around with in order to influence the viewer in a certain way. For example, the kind of music playing in the background of a movie trailer might not be something that the viewer even notices, but it will still have some kind of effect on the way they are feeling. I think the use of music and sound effects is one of the most influential ways that people are subconsciously affected by movie trailers they watch, and the successful employment of audio is essential in a quality movie trailer.

In horror movie trailers, such as Sinister, there is often very creepy music in the back that may get louder as scenes get more suspenseful, and sound effects are typically used to create the “jumpy” feeling that is so desired by scary movie lovers. In contrast, a movie trailer for a movie like The Notebook is likely to use a very different, perhaps solemn kind of music to set the mood for the movie, and a movie like Magic Mike will use modern and upbeat music in its trailer that is completely different from the previous two. Other qualities of movie trailers, such as the length of the shots, transitions and overall pacing, are also largely determined by the type of movie the trailer is trying to sell. I noticed that horror and action movies are two genres that tend to have pretty short shots and fast transitions, with fairly fast pacing overall. These strategies are often used to dramatize suspenseful situations because the quick cuts from one shot to the next create an excited or anxious feeling in the viewer, and the fast pace challenges the viewer to keep up with the action that is occurring. Romantic comedies or children’s animated movies generally have longer shots, with smoother transitions such as fading in and out rather than direct cuts, and slower pacing overall. I think this is because these kinds of movies are typically more focused on telling a story than creating exciting action or suspenseful scenes.

The movie trailers I watched were generally about two and a half minutes long. The longest trailers I saw were 2:32, and I noticed that quite a few of them were this exact length (significance of this exact time?). The shortest regular trailer I watched was 2:11, but some of the recuts were quite a bit shorter. Only a couple of the trailers I watched had any outside narration, while most were just a compilation of scenes from the movie. Some of them had a combination of narration and scenes from the movie, and if they had any typography it was only one or two instances.

All three of the recut movie trailers I chose were movies that originally had a very cheerful mood and were made into trailers for horror movies through the use of carefully chosen scenes and things like music and sound effects. The audio was often not synchronized with the characters’ lips because the actual audio from the scenes used was usually altered to make it seem like something more scary was actually occurring. Typography was used to some extent in all three of these, with the maximum number of instances (8) in the Willy Wonka recut (some of these were just one word at a time). These recuts used a combination of narration, typography and the careful ordering of scenes to “tell the story” they wished to tell. In The Sound of Music recut, hardly any typography was used, but I thought that it was less effective in its creation of a horror story. My favorite recut was the one for Mary Poppins, because I thought it used effective special effects to alter the colors (lots of black and white) and the gradual increase in volume of its scary music also helped it to be a more convincing horror movie trailer.

Trailers: Sinister, Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Notebook, Finding Nemo, Magic Mike

Recut Trailers: Mary Poppins, Willy Wonka, The Sound of Music

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