Lights, Camera, Trailers!

               One of my all-time favorite things to do in my free time is watch movie trailers for upcoming movies.  I can be on YouTube for hours just clicking through the various trailers that pop up on the sidebar until I’ve seen them all.  When deciding what genre of movies I was going to pick for these trailers, I was curious to find differences, so I chose a wide range of films.  Each trailer was the same in that they had a song setting the tone, along with dialogue from the characters in the movie and intermittent shots of words on the screen helping the viewer find out a little more about the movie.
              I noticed that all of the shots were quick paced and only provided a taste of what was to come.  The romantic comedy (Valentine’s Day) and the dramas (Atonement, American Beauty) both had longer shots that showed more of the dialogue between lovers.  The action movies (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kill Bill, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) had faster snippets of the scenes in their movies.  The music in these trailers were different for each genre.  Every song, of course, sets the tone for the trailer.  Harry Potter, for example, has the mysterious, foretelling classic theme song playing in the background, while Valentine’s Day has upbeat music playing.  Since Pitch Perfect is a movie about glee clubs, the music was sung first by the actors, then it would fade into the actual song by the artist as background music for the trailer.
                The shortest trailer length was 1:44 (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and the longest was 3:04 (American Beauty).  Besides these two movies as outliers, the rest of the trailers averaged at around 2:30. Literally, every.single.one.  I never would have noticed this, either, if it weren’t for this analysis.  Two and a half minutes is a short enough time to not get the viewer uninterested, it’s long enough to get the main premise of the movie.  The narration for these trailers, I was surprised to find, was done 100 percent of the time by a male voice.  I’m not exactly sure why, but it was a definite trend.  Half of the movies didn’t even have a narrator.  The typography of the trailers were mostly normal fonts, aside from Fantastic Mr. Fox which had a bold yellow Futura font.  This makes sense since it is a cartoon and consists of colors that strike the viewer’s eye.  Other more serious movies can’t have anything that will distract the attention away from the shots.
                Almost every single one of the recut movie trailers had the audio of a character’s dialogue continue playing while other scenes were shown.  The only one that didn’t was the 80s sitcom Exorcist remake.  It would be hard to do this with a television show, though, I feel.  The recut trailers were able to tell their story through the music and cutting out of certain shots where the scene might change tones.  A narrator was not necessary for any of the trailers I chose, however, the typography played a big part in telling the story.  I prefer no voiceover. I think it gets the message across better because it doesn’t rely on a third party, but rather it uses what it has to use what it has.  The School of Rock trailer had an excessive amount of typography thrown in intermittently throughout the trailer–at least 7 different times.  I included my favorite trailer below–Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox–Enjoy!!
  • Trailers: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Atonement, Pitch Perfect, American Beauty, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Kill Bill, Volume 1, Valentine’s Day, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Recuts: School of Rock (Horror Version), The Shawshank Redemption (Romance Version), and The Exorcist (80s Sitcom Version)
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