If you haven't yet noticed, we're currently living in the golden age of film trailers. People line up outside for conference rooms for hours at events like Comic-Con just for the potential to catch a glimpse of a teaser. Massive franchises like Star Wars have basically set up entire conventions purely for the sake of revealing the trailer for their next installment. In a marketplace where metrics are dominated by view counts, the trailer reigns king.
VICE News recently did a mini-expose on the art of trailer-making, and from it we can really glean how massive the industry has become. In the early aughts, there were only a dozen or so trailer editing companies. Now there are over 100.
The major reason for the increase is because there are now so many more platforms where a trailer can be placed. At this point, we're living in a landscape where there are teasers teasing when a teaser will drop for a full trailer. The internet is just ripe for exposure.
And what's more, unlike most video content on the net, audiences are actively searching for them. The truth is most people just plain like watching trailers. Viewers have even started to create their own videos which heavily scrutinize and analyze trailers or they'll just simply film their exaggerated reactions as they watch a buzzy new spot. That's basically free advertising!
Trailer house companies now compete to come up with little pieces of design that intrigue the viewer.
Apparently, science has even proven that there is a correlation between people’s reactions to trailers and box office success. People trust trailers more than Rotten Tomatoes and even their friends, simply because they’re able to digest the material quickly and make an opinion for themselves. So, you better have a good trailer.
In that vein, trailer house companies now compete to come up with little pieces of design that intrigue the viewer or make them think, "Oh, this movie looks cool." Many said tactics simply deal with sound. The include commonplace maneuvers such as including “sixty voices rising," “power downs," “bass drops," “click-click-boom” action FX, and even inserting random sounds that grab peoples attention like explosions or tiger roars.
One incredibly popular tactic we’ve seen over and over in the past decade is taking a well-known song and stripping it back to be darker and creepier.
With sound design, comes score, and the golden age of trailers has brought on a market for bespoke composers and “Trailerization.” One incredibly popular tactic we’ve seen over and over in the past decade is taking a well-known song and stripping it back to be darker and creepier. Another interesting editing tactic trailer editors use is to show characters having strong reactions or emotions, as brief glimpses at these scenes often cause the audience to have the same reaction they view on screen.