Polishing a Trailer

A trailer can attract someone to see your film or not.  It can determine if a film lives or dies. I just got back from Hawaii.  I had been visiting and working with my friend PF Bentley in Molokai and PF was color grading my trailer, balancing the audio and creating new title graphics.  I had been wanting to do that ever since I made the trailer over 2 years ago, but I didn’t have the know how, nor the proper software to do it.

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER versions of the trailer. Before and After These clips only illustrate the before and after in terms of color grading. PF also changed the title slates as well as greatly improved the audio, but these clips only show the “after” results as far as those changes.

Generally, a good trailer will peak your interest and make you want to see the film. But sometimes a trailer makes you feel like you’ve already seen the best parts of the movie, and that’s not good.  Trailers set the tone of the film.  They tease and introduce us to the characters and a bit of the story.  Thrillers evoke suspense with fast cuts while romantic love story trailers let shots linger on the screen.  Choice of music is integral to setting the tone, pace and rhythm of the trailer.  All these things combined is what makes a great trailer.

There are editors who specialize and only edit trailers.  Editing a trailer is different than editing the full film.  You don’t need to be concerned with explaining the whole story of the film. You need to tease the audience and make people want to see more. I have gone through a few variations of this trailer since the initial cut, each time shaving off a bit of time on it’s length. This latest revision was just to give the trailer more polish, smooth out the color and sound and create better graphics.  Overall it has made the trailer look more “movie” like and less like a video.

The best way to learn about making trailers is to watch a lot of them.  It’s pretty easy to find trailers online.  You can watch them on a film’s website or on a site like moviefone.com.  Check them out – It’s a great way to see first hand what makes a great trailer.

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