November 15, 2014 at 7:16AM

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Memorable trailers

Hello all - I'm in the middle of cutting a trailer for my first feature, and I've hit a brick wall in terms of new ideas. Before I started I read a few articles by trailer editors, and plotted out quite clearly what I wanted to say...

...But I think I now need a bit of inspiration before I go back in and start working on a new cut. It's an adventure film - Can anyone recommend some (old or new) trailers that are worth having a look at for a bit of inspiration? Ideally, ones that really stuck in your memory.

Cheers!

Alex.

10 Comments

I love visual trailers, here are a few of my recent favorites...

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkjDUERgCQw

The Tree of Life (2011)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrAz1YLh8nY

Prometheus (2012)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIJeQNyZ6VE

November 15, 2014 at 2:46PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30696

Thanks for the recommendations Guy - I'll have a look at those!

I'm currently trying out a more non-linear cut. No idea if it'll work, but fingers crossed...

November 15, 2014 at 3:22PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3347

This may come across as trite, and unfortunately, text rarely conveys tone. In all seriousness, I always loved the build-up and anticipation of the Star Wars episode 1 trailer (over 15 years ago now). Sure the movie wasn't as great as the originals, but the trailer did exactly what it set out to do, I think due in large part to the score. Whoever you're collaborating with, go the extra mile in putting together a solid music bed to connect the dots. Trailers are a different bag altogether, and because they're so short, the music is huge in connecting the dots. I can still hear the score in the episode 1 trailer. Can't remember much of the visuals, but I can easily drum up the music.

November 17, 2014 at 1:13PM

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Guy - the Tree of Life trailer is beautiful. I remember when it came out thinking, 'I have to see this!'... Still haven't got round to it yet. Too many films, so little time.

Cameron - I remember a short teaser for The Phantom Menace that was quite effective when I saw it in then cinema, but I couldn't find it on Youtube. The trailer itself (2 mins or so) is alright... but I remember that at the time it didn't leave me overly excited, and still has that effect now. You're right about the music - it's a huge part, and one I'll be spending quite a while on!

November 17, 2014 at 2:48PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3347

The first theatrical trailer for the Dark Knight Rises was one of the most epic in recent memory. Then again it's also one of the best action films made in past ten years with a quarter billion dollar budget. Something to strive for.

November 19, 2014 at 3:36AM

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matthew david wilder
Director/Cameraman/Editor/Colorist
275

The two most memorable trailers (and therefore, the best to my mind) are the following:

The Watchmen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONQ3Zgy195Y
Gears of War 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL_ZjJgbDmc

While my choices may seem a tad geeky (one isn't even a movie!), I think both of these are exceptional. They both use music to a great advantage, matching the tone of imagery perfectly to solidly establish a depth of emotion. The Watchmen trailer works by immersing you in the world and characters. And the Gears trailer was the first example I can remember of adding a whole new layer to the product advertised. It ignores the violence we would expect entirely and instead hooks the viewer with a quiet, solemn inevitability.

For all the action, dialogue and storylines in trailers, I'm 100x more likely to watch a film that suprised me with the trailer, and that I am emotionally invested in.

November 19, 2014 at 2:27PM

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Tim Ryan
Film Production Newbie
67

Your film trailer should be your best selling point of your film. So you need to pick some of its best bits and edit them together, not necessarily in the same order as the actual film. There's a tendency today in modern trailers to give away the whole story in the trailer, which I find totally boring -- what's the point of watching the movie then?
e.g. Check the trailer of The Theory of Everything http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8QYUgO-tZo
In less than 3min you are given the whole film!
Rather I think you should aim for a more teaser style trailer, where you give some attractive moments to grab the attention of your audience. Your trailer could be the starter of a 3-meal course. Try to convey the mood of your film (if it's a comedy or thriller etc) and maybe imply what is it about, rather than fully explaining it. A great example you can watch here for the (NSFW) teaser of Eyes Wide Shut
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTo1gRqVuEU

In general, try to take a distance form your filma and act if it were someone else's. How would you sell it? If you watched it, what are the parts that would stick to your mind and remember the next day? These are the ones you want to include to your trailer!
Good luck!

November 20, 2014 at 6:37AM

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Stel Kouk
Filmmaker
3095

Personally, I don't like giving anything away in my previews and I hate (HATE) when they do it for other movies. Trailers should leave the audience wanting more and should make them want to see the actual feature...not feel like they get the gist of it.

I'm not saying "pick the most random collection of shots possible" but I would also say...leave the narrative stuff for the actual video. Let the music drive it and try not to show much from the third act.

Examples of the music driving the trailer:

Man of Steel (Nokia) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejXjZ-k6Myc

IMO the trailer for Man of Steel was 20x better than the actual movie. That said, it did its job (getting people into the seats).

November 20, 2014 at 11:55AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2798

Wow! Thanks everyone for all the responses - I'll sit down tomorrow and go through all the recommendations, and also the varying opinions on what a trailer should/shouldn't do.

It's always a balancing act with these things - go too linear/narrative based, and risk wringing all the interest out of the project, but go too abstract and risk missing your audience completely. The 'safe' option is the formulaic linear one, but I'm hoping I can do better than that with what we've got.

One thing that seems to have been useful (whichever style we go with) - I planned a couple of shots/lines of dialogue specifically for the trailer. They're in the main edit too (all but one) but they were directly influenced by a mood reel I cut for the project 18 months or so ago. It might be that this approach only suits some genres (ours is an adventure movie - www.facebook.com/dsrmovie), but I'd really recommend it for anyone else planning a feature.

Right, Guy, J. Cameron, Jelle, Jon, Matthew, Tim, Stel, Luke (anyone else..?) - thanks very much for the responses - I should have something to release before Christmas!

November 20, 2014 at 5:10PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3347

Well, I finally cut the first teaser and it's online here: http://bit.ly/dsrteaser1

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Alex.

January 9, 2015 at 10:07AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
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