The Buildup

Movie trailers are all about the buildup. The sole purpose of a trailer is to give the target audience motivation to go see a certain movie, and different techniques are commonly used depending on the intended genre of the movie. There are a number of techniques that can change the way we perceive the direction of a movie. Whether it be the background music or the transition between shots, these techniques provide the trailer with the potential to be portrayed as a romantic movie, an action movie, or any number of other genres. Different techniques can even turn a comedy trailer into a horror trailer, which can be seen in a number of amusing trailer recut’s.Although there is a stark contrast between romance movies and action movies, there are a number of similarities in the process of creating effective movie trailers. This is because movie trailers are all about the buildup. A movie trailer is simply supposed to wet the pallet of the audience, providing a buildup for the movie as a whole, and leaving everyone hanging on the edge waiting for more. In both types of trailers, this can be done by starting off slow, in terms of background music and transition pacing. In romantic movies, including romantic comedies like Crazy Stupid Love, the trailers often start out slow. However they tend to speed up, providing added tension to the love that the characters of these movies seem to be so desperately chasing. This change in pace is not only characterized by a change in background music intensity, but it also can be characterized by a faster pacing of transitions. This can be seen very similarly in action trailers like the newly released Iron Man 3 trailer, in which the rising tension is reflected in the speed of transitions and increase in music intensity.

It may be true that these two genres share a few similarities in the pacing of their trailers, but there are also a few differences which truly set them apart. It would seem quite out-of-place to have highly dramatic action style music in a romance trailer, and slower paced, light-hearted romantic music would simply not do for an action movie. Music choice is one of the many things that is vital to the effective portrayal of a movie trailer, some of the others being typography, and narration. For action movies, the narrator usually adopts a more dramatic and powerful tone, which can be seen in a movie trailer such as the trailer for The Avengers. However, for a trailer like the Notebook, the narrator uses a softer tone, which gives the trailer a much more peaceful feel. Typography is no different. A softer typography is usually used in a number of romantic movies, while a bold-faced powerful type is typically used in action movies.

Interesting things happen when these genre defining techniques are reversed. When the wrong techniques are used for a movie trailer, the meaning can be terribly confused. This can be seen in a number of comedic movie trailer recut’s in which the movie is portrayed completely opposite of its intention. Simply by changing the background music, narration, typography, and scene orientation of a trailer, the Harry Potter series can easily be portrayed as a terrifying horror film.

Though these trailer recut’s use footage from the film just like the legitimate trailer, they must be rearranged and altered in a way that changes the meaning of the story. This is usually done by changing the style of background music and the narration, as well as the scene selection. By giving the narrator a creepy voice, and providing more sinister background music, the trailer can make the movie seem like it belongs to a different genre entirely. This change in narration may unfortunately result in a lack of synchronization between the characters and the narrator. Scene selection is also very important, as a number of scenes in movies would be terribly difficult to alter, it is important that the scenes are cut together in a way that portrays the editors intentions correctly. To take it a step further, these trailers are often provided direction with some sort of explanatory type. The Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory horror recut uses explanatory type 8 times in order to help portray the movie as a horror film.

Many of the trailers I watched lasted around 2 minutes and 45 seconds, the longest being the Willy Wonka recut, and the shortest being the Iron Man 3 trailer. This seems to be the ideal trailer duration, as it is long enough to engage the audience without losing their attention. This duration also allows for the trailer to deliver enough content for the audience to formulate their opinions on the movie.

Trailers can be provided direction and purpose through a number of techniques. These techniques are vital to the way a movie will be categorized by an audience, and can make or break a film. If the build up is bad, the movie will bust, and if the techniques for creating a trailer are incorrectly used, the audience may be leaving the movie severely disappointed.

Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Zero Dark Thirty, The Notebook, Crazy Stupid Love, Wedding Crashers, The Proposal

Step Brother’s Recut, Harry Potter Recut, Willy Wonka Recut

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

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