Less is More

Most of the trailers I watched started with a slow to medium pace, but about halfway through the pace significantly increased. When the pace increased, the shots became much shorter and revealed less information than the beginning, scene setting, shots. This was especially apparent in the horror film trailers, where the later shots were too short to reveal any significant information about the plot. I noticed two types of transitions throughout the trailers: straight cuts and a fade transition. The fade was mostly a brief fade to black, but a few of the trailers faded white at the end, before the title of the film appeared. 

Along with the rapid increase in the pacing and the shortening of the shots, there was often a swell, or change, in the music halfway through the trailers. Some trailers switched the mood by changing the music and others maintained the same music as the rest of the trailer, but the intensity increased. Almost all of the trailers had music and audio from the film. In many of the first shots, the audio was synchronized with the clips, but as the trailer picked up intensity, and the shots became shorter, the audio switched to an unsynchronized audio clip. Many of the trailers had a dramatic or inspiring quote from one of the main characters accompanying the shots at the end of the trailer.

The trailers were generally 2 minutes and 20-some seconds long. There were two trailers that stuck out as different and were significantly shorter than the others. The trailer for Monsters University was short and consisted of just one scene from the movie. The other trailer, for Les Misérables, was short and had a song from the film played over clips with no dialogue. I think these trailers were different because they did not introduce new stories. People are already familiar with Monsters Inc. and Les Misérables so it is not necessary to explain the story to the viewer, just to introduce them to how the story will be portrayed in that film.

The typography in the trailers was mostly a thin font with a clean look. There were some more brightly colored, “fun” fonts in Monsters University and The First Time (a high school comedy). One thing I noticed is that in the “feel good” movies it was common to display the actors and actresses names next to a shot of them in the film, which was not done in the horror or action films.

The recut trailers utilized music that evoked the emotions they were trying to convey and strategic dialogue from the film. The recut trailers had a specific idea for the story and pulled dialogue from the film that would fit with that story. The dialogue was not often synchronized with the shots. Some of the trailers did a good job conveying the story without narration, just by using the specific dialogue and shots from the film. The font used in the recut trailers I watched was very basic and did not appear to be well thought out in relation to the trailers. The recuts had a few instances of typography on the screen to set up the story or display actors and actresses names, similar to the typography in the trailers I watched for dramatic films.


Trailers: Flight, Monsters University, Safe Haven, The First Time, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, 7500, House at the End of the Street

Recut Trailers: Stephen King’s IT Trailer (recut as a family film), The Ring Recut, The Notebook Trailer Recut

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

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