I dreamed a dream of trailers

Usually when I watch movie trailers, I have one of these reactions: “OMG I need to see this RIGHT NOW,” or “Well, I think I’ll be skipping this one.” Recently, I’ve been put to tears by the Les Miserables trailer (if you haven’t seen it, have tissues ready) and I seriously cannot wait until it comes out on Christmas….Anyway, when I was completing this assignment, I tried to watch movie trailers of different genres in order to find the differences in the cinematography, and I found a lot of interesting things. The longest trailer I watched was Hunger Games (2:37) and the shortest was Breaking Dawn Part 2 (1:19). It seemed the average trailer was about 2:00 minutes, which was plenty of time to get a good sense of what the movie was about.

In all of the action trailers I watched (Looper, Hunger Games, Skyfall, Taken 2), they were cut in very similar ways.  Each of these trailers started out fairly soft, but quickly changed pace. The shots were very fast and hectic, with just enough time to barely discern anything from the scene, and included a lot of violence shots. All of the narration was dialogue from the movie, and not outside narration.  The transitions were very hectic and quick, and evoked a sense of chaos. I also noticed that sometimes transitions would be accompanied with sound effect, like ”booms” or “swooshes.” I thought it was interesting that in both of the trailers for Looper and Taken 2, flashbacks were shown in black and white. All of the music was ominous and suspenseful, and would especially build towards the end of the trailer. The typography in all of these trailers seemed industrial, and were always in dark colors and in all caps.

In comparison, the dramatic trailers I watched (Breaking Dawn 2, The Vow) were more similar to the action trailers than I expected. There was obviously less violence, and more dialogue, but the quick shots of the emotional scenes mirror the quick violence shots in action trailers. However, the pacing was much less hectic, and included some slower shots of “romantic” scenes. The music was much softer and happier. Both of the dramatic trailers had lighter typography and were much less dark than the action trailer typography. The comedy trailers I watched (Fun Size, Pitch Perfect) were the most distinct. The trailer seemed to be much more plot-driven than the other trailers because it included mostly dialogue between characters. Because of this, the shots were long enough to include enough dialogue to set up the movie. The background music was upbeat and happy, and the typography was on bright colored backgrounds.

I loved watching these recut trailers! I watched probably 20 of them, but for this assignment I’ll only discuss three (Brokeback to the Future (romance), Silence of the Lambs (romance), 300 (romance)). Since all of these were turned into romance trailers, it was pretty easy to discern the characteristics of a romance trailer. Each of these trailers included upbeat, rock music. In order to emphasize the romance, they focused on the silent parts of the films: a character would look into the distance and smile, an (seemingly) innocent embrace between the characters, etc.  Since the trailer included these silent parts, audio synchronization with the lips didn’t seem to be out of synch. However, when there was dialogue, it was a vague statement by a character. In the trailer I watched, the only type that appeared on the screen was the final shot with the film’s name, but each of the trailers used the original type from the original title of the movie.

Trailers: Looper, Taken 2, Breaking Dawn Part 2, Fun Size, Pitch Perfect, The Vow, Hunger Games, Skyfall.

Recut Trailers: Brokeback to the Future (comedy turned into a romance), Silence of the Lambs (horror film converted into a romantic comedy), 300 (action turned into a romance).

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This entry was posted in Blog #4. Deconstructing Trailers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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