Editing First Trailer
I have a short movie I made and would like to cut a teaser/full trailer for it to show my friends before its completed. I have never really cut a trailer before and was wondering on the basic technique used. Do you get music first or just cut pieces in that you think will show what your movie is about? Also is there a good place to get sound effects such as the cool ones you hear in trailers. Most are just short effects that are used during a cut or transition.
Any ideas on how to create some cool ones too? Thanks
Hi - I've cut a few trailers, some theatrical. The first thing I'd suggest is go to http://www.apple.com/trailers/ and watch as many trailers in the genre of your film as you can.
You might begin to notice certain "rules" and stylistic conventions that you can emulate. For instance, always open with your protagonist and set up the general plot point and what must be overcome. Then after that, you can be a little more creative with what you show. You probably won't have a voiceover, so you might like to throw in some words and sentences to tell the audience about the film. Here's a great example of this: http://www.apple.com/trailers/dreamworks/disturbia/d_trailer_small.html
A few more things:
Use music to emphasise a change in scene.
Show a couple of mini scenes, if you can.
DON'T give away any endings, twists etc.
You always see the "dip to black" transition.
Personally, this is one of my favorite comedy trailers: http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/schoolforscoundrels/trailer2/
Have fun. It's a chance to break the rules and be flashy.
Write a voice over, but as you will hear in pro trailers, they are very, very few words, in short sections of only a few words. Same for dialog clips,keep them short and don't show the person speaking the whole time, throw in b-roll over part of it. Only be on the person speaking to the words with the most impact. Use white flashes, fades to black, pull out the old bag of fx, this is where to use them. Change music when you change gears (sections) and stop music momentarily to ad impact to a line of vo or dialog. Watch trailers, you'll see, then emulate. Use your best lines and best shots, but don't give too much away. Cappeesh?
Pick the right music selections and make sure the dialog can be heard over the music. Bring it down if necessary to hear a line clearly. Just watch the pacing, it's all about pacing?
this is good stuff guys. Do you suggest I cut a rough copy to a pace I want then find music or find music then edit to the music?
Put yourself in the position of the blurb writer for TVguide or IMDB, or yourself, needing to describe the movie to someone in the elevator, and you only have one floor left before your stop. That will give you the idea for what are the most essential facts to get out about the film in a trailer. Structure your choices of clips around that narrative thread, minding the warnings you've already been given earlier. I think trailers give away too much these days: I can tell by looking at them if the movie is going to tank, almost with perfect accuracy, because the editors today give away too much of the plot.
Don't make the mistake of putting every one of your very best shots in the trailer, or you will lose too much surprise in the final audience, while raising unmeetable expectations. You need to communicate:
The Genre (comedy, drama, horror, etc.
The protagonist, particularly if a recognizeable name.
The very basics of the plot, up to the major plot complication, leaving it a question as to how the hero gets out/wins/ etc. If it's a story where everybody knows the ending going in, like titanic, king kong, the St/ Valentine's Day Massacre, Ray Charles, etc. you don't cover that in a trailer so much as the new, different hook you have for the "untold" part of the story.
Wanna see some awesome trailer work? Look for the re-edited trailers for West Side Story, Jaws, and the Shining on YouTube. ####### brilliant.
I always create the music bed and vo first. I write whats needed and I have my good friend Jim jakala at http://www.radioandtv.cc do almost every vo I ever need. He has such a great variety in reads I just don't have to go anywhere else. I get alot of my sound effects from http://www.sounddogs.com
Wooshes and things like that are what I use the most for bboth text and transitions. I create the entire piece, knowing what sound on tape I am going to use and where, knowing this is totally subject to change. I'm building the vibe, basicly but a good editor knows when to follow the piece and not stand fast on leading it. In other words, sometimes something maical happens that ya just didn't plan. THIS is where art comes in. Everything else is technique. Sometimes less really is more and just like an oil painting, you can really screw up something golden if you over work it.
I then do what was mentioned above, utilize the hilights without giving anything away but ensuring intrest is created. I have the music swells all ready and everything and it's just a matter of back timing some things. This goes really quick. I have seldom taken over a day to produce an entire trailer, assuming I don't have to animate or composite much. This is usually already done within the stuff I am making the trailer out of ya know?
and again as mentioned, have fun! If you aint havin fun makin it, it aint gonna be fun watchin it.
Use whichever method works for you, or combination. I too like to find the right piece of music to set the mood I want to establish and work off of that, let it guide the edits. I like putting the music in first because it creates an energy and guide to keep me moving forward in a particular direction emotionally. But you can leave the music for last if you don't have any ideas for music and need to put something together first to help you choose.
Since we are talking about trailers, thought the group might like to see these, just for grins....
Our tiny company produces local television commercials. One of our main clients is a credit union, and sometimes they just let us go and allow us to have fun (pretty unheard of, with a stuffy client like a bank).
Anywho... we recently produced these three spots for them. Since they were to air ONLY during the really REALLY bad nighttime soaps on the CW network we decided to cut them as if they were movie trailers for a really cheesy film. Take a look, if you wanna...
...and yes, the acting is supposed to be that bad.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Bravo Dude! That's definitely outside the box. I liked the first one is the best.
Kicks butt, man!... even worked in the evil twin thing.
Is that the "real" movie voice over guy? Name escapes me at the moment but he's the guy from the Geico commercial who does all the trailers. Can't imagine him doing a local commercial, but if that's a sound-alike he sounds just like the real guy.
And if you don't mind me being rude in asking about: Production format (film?)? Budgets? And how long was the shoot and edit?
Hi guys thanks for the kind words.
Yeah that's Don LaFontaine, the "king of the movie trailers" guy. Budgets were tight but he was really our only choice to make the campaign sound really authentic. There was a time when either Don or Hal Douglas voiced virtually every trailer that came along (Don has done literally thousands and thousands of trailers). You don't hear them quite as much on trailers anymore, partly since the current trend seems to be to use no narrator at all. True I guess it's a little unusual to hear him on a purely local spot, but most of these guys work pretty much the same way: a gig's a gig... sweet talk their agent, pay their normal rate, and they will pretty much do whatever you want.
And no Alex I don't mind you asking --- production was on a format we call e35mm, which is basically a 35mm/HD hybrid. This was pretty low-budget project, I think it was around $11,000 and that was for three spots. Because budgets were tight we had to shoot it all in a day and a half (it was pretty frantic... lots of wardrobe changes, 30+ camera setups, think there were about a nine different locations). Edit took a couple of days.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
I hate trailers that I can see the "trailer formula on"
do something different. get people excited. scare people, make them laugh. watch youtube videos of people sitting in there bedrooms doing nothing, but have 100,000 hits, and figure out why.
it may also help to take your favorite film, or one that you hate, and cut a trailer for it. I did that a LOT in school. If you can amrket a movie that you despise, then you would be an awesome trailer editor.