Remix It Up!

Since the legendary remix of The Shining from a horror into a family film, a new rising trend of “trailer remixes” and “trailer recuts” has been sweeping over the Internet. These trailer remixes are characteristically known for converting the genre of the original movie to a genre that is completely the opposite of that. Since trailer remixes are not changing the actual footage of the movie, that is to say that they are simply rearranging the existing clips to fit the desired version, points to the fact that trailer remixes reveal the commonly used techniques and forms of the various genres of film.

One of the first observations after watching all of the trailers is that all trailers are typically between 1:30-2:3o in length. Depending on which genre is being represented, shot lengths vary: with long length shots being for , dramas, and romances and short shots being for horror and action movies. Shot lengths create the overall pacing of trailers, and therefore the overall pacing is directly related and reflects the same notions depending on which genre. The transitions also relate to the shot lengths because very quick and abrupt frame-to-frame shots are seen in fast paced action films, and horror films, where as the slow fade-to-black transition was more for the slow dramas. Another observation was that a fade-to-white transition was used exclusive in the romantic comedy remix, which shows the “light-hearted” nature of that genre of film.

For all of the trailers that I watched there was none that contained the voice-over style narration, although that is most likely just reflective of the movies I chose to watch. Since there was no voice-over narration, audio synchronization and typography fulfilled that role. Typography was probably the part of this whole exercise that I found the most interesting results– the trailers consistently chose really specific, and fitting fonts. For example in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer the editor used the Hunger Games book cover font, in the trailer for The Monk the trailer creator used a type face that looks very biblical, the typography for the movie Neighbors emulated graffiti stencils (comedy about a family that lives next to a fraternity house), the Dark Knight romantic comedy remix trailer used colorful text, and all of the horror movie trailers had very bleek, intense, or scary typography style.

In addition to the typography, the next most interesting finding was about the music and sound effects. The music and sound effects in themselves may be the most essential aspect of determining genre, and we have all been socialized to know the characteristic distinctions. For the comedies and romantic comedies very lively and upbeat music is featured, in contrast with the very intense and dark sound of action and horror movies. Films such as Upstream Color that use very soft piano as the music of choice truly set the mood in that it is very somber, slow paced, simple, and potentially more about the actual dialogue than visual intensity.

Lastly, the key things to be learned from watching the recut trailers are that they very effectively “tell the story” of their desired version of these films by using all of the appropriate forms and iconographies characteristic of the intended genres. The creators of these trailer remixes and recuts are truly doing something skilled when they can extract all of the clips from a film that can be used to portray another genre, and then subsequently utilize all of these very significant clues for viewers that point to that particular genre: music, overall “lightness” or “darkness” portrayal, and the typography. I am very excited to get the chance to try this myself!

Trailers: Non Stop, Neighbors, Seventh Son, Jurassic Park IV, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Upstream Color, 6 Souls, The Monk.

Recut trailers: Titanic (dramatic romance converted to horror), The Notebook (romance converted to horror), The Dark Knight (dark dramatic action converted to romantic comedy).

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