In the eight trailers that I analyzed, most of them tended to exhibit short shot lengths and quick transitions. Longer shot lengths were dedicated to scenes that emphasized dialogue in which the trailer would sometimes cut the music as to further focus on what the characters were saying. The majority of the trailers exhibited fairly quick pacing. The music and sound effects helped contribute to this speed by fast paced melodies and the audio often synched with actions within the trailer. For instance, in the Finding Forrester trailer a backpack hitting the ground is synched with the loud beating of a bass drum.
In 42, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, and Limitless, the film’s main character introduced himself and continued to narrate the trailer. In Finding Forrester, there was a narrator that described the various moments of the trailer, producing a brief synopsis of the film’s message. Each film fit within the trailer lengths of 2 minutes to 2:34. The average trailer length was around 2:30. Often, the typography of a trailer was synchronized with the music. For example, The Wolf of Wall Street trailer included a fast paced drum beat that was synchronized with words appearing on the screen.
The genres of music within the trailers usually matched the emotion that the movie was trying to convey. If the movie was a fast-paced drama like Limitless or The Wolf of Wall Street, the trailers included fast paced, eccentric music like Hip-Hop and Rock n’ Roll. A movie like 12 Years A Slave had a dramatic orchestral and symphonic sound to it to exhibit the seriousness of the film’s message. The dramatic nature of these films were also conveyed through the vehicle of slide transitions. Many of the trailers included slow transitions to stress the dramatic element of a scene; almost all of the trailers had scenes that faded in and out to black with some sort of type that would subsequently appear on the screen.
The recut trailers achieved their genre reformation through a variety of techniques. All of them used explanatory power through fades into type that would explain the film’s new situation. One of the recuts (switching The Dark Knight to a romantic comedy) used a narration to achieve the genre transformation and another (Mrs. Doubtfire to a horror film) primarily focused on manipulating certain scenes in which a character’s dialogue could be catered to fit the new genre. For example, Mrs. Doubtfire‘s remix used a clip where Robin Williams exclaims that he is obsessed with his kids but the eerie music makes it seem like he is overly obsessive and psychotic. In the Home Alone recut, there were nine scenes (five in rapid succession at the end) where text appeared on the screen. Most of them were short, however, and the remixer did a sufficient job at remodeling the character’s dialogue to cater to his genre change. Being an avid fan of the Home Alone movies (only the first and second), its remixed trailer was my favorite.
Trailers: The Wolf Of Wall Street, 42, Finding Forrester, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 12 Years A Slave, Limitless, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Recut Trailers: Home Alone (family comedy to horror/thriller), Mrs. Doubtfire (comedy to horror), The Dark Knight (dramatic superhero film to a romantic comedy)