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Film Trailers. Media A2 By Reemsha Raza. The Uses and Gratification Theory. It is said that people watch the television for integration and social interaction; information and entertainment. Integration and Social Interaction –

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Film Trailers

Media A2

By Reemsha Raza


The Uses and Gratification Theory

It is said that people watch the television for integration and social interaction; information and entertainment.

Integration and Social Interaction –

Where the audience views the media to judge it and take it in as well as for social reasons, where they watch things that will get a crowd going, by many people talking about the same thing, it makes conversation with peers and people around them easier.

Information –

If there is something going on, the way to spread the word is through the media. It gives out information people don't necessarily know through many different media platforms such as print, broadcast and e-media.

Entertainment –

The main reason media is so popular is because of the entertainment. This can be through print media, such as newspapers and magazines, or television where audiences watch shows and programmes that they like and can gain social interaction through. Media entertainment can also be a form of escaping or being diverted from problems, relaxation, emotional release and sexual gratification.


What is a Trailer?

A trailer or preview is an advertisement or a commercial for a feature film that will be exhibited in the future at a cinema. It uses small snippets of the film to make a bigger picture to entice the audience. It uses codes and conventions to tell a smaller story, missing out the answers and leaving the audience wanting more.

Trailers are used for advertising and marketing a is used to promote different aspects of film making, like the stars that feature in the movie, the directors, music artist, clothing and more.

There are three different types of trailers;The first type is the teaser trailer, which is a shortened version of the trailer , shown well before the movie is released. Its aim is to ‘tease’ the audience and whet their appetite for the movie.

The second type of trailer is the theatrical trailer. This is usually shown in a longer strip a few weeks before the release date.

The third type is the DVD trailer. This is mainly shown on television and the internet in advance of the DVD release.



Genre refers to the method based on similarities in the narrative elements from which films are constructed.

Audiences expect to see a range of different things on screen depending on what genre they are most interested in. For example; if someone is watching a horror movie, they would expect to see blood, knives, abnormal things, villains etc. With a chick flick, the audience would expect to see a romance side to the movie, with girly friends living up to the expectations on someone falling in or out of love, or some form of revenge.

Main Film Genres

  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Gangster and Crime
  • Horror
  • Romance
  • War

Conventions of Film Trailers

  • Genre indicator
  • Plot
  • Short clips
  • Voice over
  • Music
  • Cast
  • Director
  • The title
  • The studio

Trailers are said to have a 3 Act structure – Act 1 lays out the context of the story. Act 2 establishes the problem and ends with a dramatic climax. Act 3 often features visual montage of key moments of the film and may have cast name screens if there are stars that sell the movie.

  • Trailers use Long shots at the start to establish character and setting
  • Fades to black that suggest shifts in time
  • Transitions/cuts with by booming SFX build tension
  • Transition screens place significant text on screen, images and shots before/after should echo the text
  • Short shots and quick cuts of some of the most exciting moments from the film, the ‘events’ that lead to resolution but not necessarily in chronological order
  • Resolution should be left out, viewers left guessing.
  • Music should build to a crescendo
  • Sudden moments of quiet and silence will have impact on mood and pace.

Textual analysis of Trailers

  • Sounds
  • Camera shots
  • Camera angles
  • Camera focus
  • Mise en scene – (lighting, settings, props)
  • Editing
  • Transitions

Action/ Adventure



  • Diegetic –
  • Picking up the gravel
  • Dialogue
  • Things getting blown up
  • Cars moving
  • Opening of the windows
  • Birds squawking
  • Fireworks
  • Shooting of the gun
  • Trains moving
  • Crying
  • Ammunition falling to the floor
  • Non diegetic –
  • Background music
  • Emphasis on things getting blown up
  • People running

Camera shots

Establishing shots –

An establishing shot is used to show the setting of the scene. This is relevant for an action movie as it might give a slight hint of what kind of action scene may be coming up.

Close up –

A close up is used to show a character on which the camera is focused on. For an action movie, this may show what they are planning, or what may be coming next in the clip.

Medium shot –

A medium shot may be used in an action movie to show the person or prop they might be using in the scene. This lays a slate in the audiences mind for what may be coming up next.


Extreme close up –

Extreme close ups are generally used for showing facial expressions and other things close up that have meaning and can determine what happens within the scene. For example here, in the extreme close up are bullets, which for an action movie may show that guns are or already have been used.

Long/ wide shot –

A long/ wide shot is used to show the whole length of something. In this action shot, the long shot is of a place of worship of some sort and this may link to the mise en scene of the action movie.

Two/ group shot –

A two or group shot is used to show two or more people within a shot. For the action movie, it may be used to kill another character on screen and using this shot makes it better as you can see both people in the shot and you don’t have to split focus between the two characters as they will both be present.


Over the shoulder shot

Over the shoulder shots are used to show a point of view from another character on screen. It gives the ‘spying’ impression and is proven very effective in action movies. It can also be used as a target, so the person who the camera is pointing at over the shoulder may be a target of some sort, either to kill, or be killed.


Camera Angles


Birds eye angles are used to get an overall view on a person, place or thing. In action movies, it is usually used to show the location, or a helicopter view if someone is trying to find someone else on screen.

High and low angle shots

High and low angle shots in action movies are used to differentiate the height differences in roles of importance or the person, place of thing. In these shots, the angles are used in form of a point of view shot, being the person looking down at the man who is going to shoot and then the other way round when the person shooting is underneath the person jumping and shooting.


Eye level

It is very normal to see eye level shots within an action movie. It usually signifies a battle going on onscreen or someone is in trouble, which is one of the main factors that make up action movies.


Rule of Thirds

Using the rule of thirds rule shows suspense and thrill within the action movie. It makes the audience think why they are like that and why they bare in that position. In this image, the rule of thirds shows one of the main characters climbing out of a window out looking a skyline. This shows suspense as the audience wonders what she is putting her life at such risk, and risk is all part of the horror genre.


Mise- en - Scene

  • Lighting
  • Positions on stage
  • Setting
  • Props
  • Costume


Low key

Low key lighting is used in action movies to set the scene. In action movies, you go from light to dark quite a lot and is one of the main factors of action movies.

High key

High key lighting in action movies is used to symbolise death and the end of something whether that be for the good or the bad.



  • Cars
  • Guns
  • Newspapers
  • Knives
  • Electric chair
  • Light bulbs
  • Phones
  • Cups
  • Beds
  • Pictures
  • Bags

Sets are used because they are easier to control than real-life locations. A movie would not look real without props either. Props are used to make the movie seem real and makes everything come to life.


Grass Analysis of Action Movies:

G– Gender – any gender

R– Race – any race

A– Age – any age, depending on the certificate rating on the movie

S – Sex – any sex

S – Socio economic background – not specific type, suitable for all.



  • Diegetic –
  • Dialogue
  • The ball hitting the head
  • The whistle
  • Lying down on the bed
  • Non Diegetic –
  • Starting music and the music played throughout
  • The voiceover

Camera shots

Close up -

Close ups in chick flicks are usually used to show facial expressions on the characters face. It usually shows happiness or sadness depending on what is going on in the movie at the time.

Medium shot –

Medium shots are usually used when people are talking in the movie. They are usually from the head down to about the waist are like that because it usually may be showing part of what the character may be wearing.

Two / Group shot –

Two/ group shots are mainly used to represent relationships, friendships and families.


Long/ wide shot -

Long/ wide shots used in chick flicks are usually used to show a wider range of people within the movie. It can usually symbolise what the movie may be about and what message that movie may want to give out.

Over the shoulder shot –

Over the shoulder shots in chick flicks are used for the point of view of a character from that movie. In stereotypical chick flicks, over the shoulder shots are used to show superiority of the person looking at the character. It can also show stereotypical ‘followers’ of gangs of girls or boys within the movie.


Mise en scene –

  • Setting - high school themes, between crowds of people
  • Props – pink, a lot of colour, bags, cars
  • Costume – short ‘cool’ clothing, sports clothes for the boys
  • Lighting – mostly medium lighting and low key lighting during the night in the movies.

Grass Analysis of Chick Flick Movies:

G – Gender – Mainly female audiences, some male audiences depending on taste of movie.

R– Race – any race

A– Age – any age, depending on the certificate rating on the movie

S – Sex – any sex

S– Socio economic background – not specific type, suitable for all.



  • Diegetic –
  • Breathing
  • Tapes being moved around
  • Dialogue
  • Doors opening
  • Axe being dragged along the floor
  • Projector being played
  • Non – Diegetic –
  • The ringing bell
  • Background music
  • Voice over
  • Exaggerated reel playing

Camera Angles / Shots

Wide shot –

Two/ group shot –

Wide shots in horror movies are a vital part of what the movie may be about. It lets the audience know where the horror movie is taking place. It also makes the audience of what they can expect from this movie and where the location is to what they have seen before in previous horror movies and how this one may be different.

A two/ group shot in a horror, especially in the trailer may show who or what the target is in the movie. It shows who the movie will be about and how it will affect the people on screen. In this shot of the man and woman, it shows that the people being scared in the movie are these two people who are the target by the person trying to kill/ hurt them.


Extreme close up –

Extreme close ups are used very often within a horror movie. This is because the shot is supposed to emphasise on the ‘horror’ expressions on the victims face within the movie. It also lays out a ground path of what may come next, unless the horror movie ha very unexpected thing occurring within it. For example if there is an extreme close up of an axe, it will be more then re assuring or the audience that an axe is going to be used to kill someone in the movie.



Low key –

Lighting is a crucial aspect of horror movies. Low key lighting is used in horror movies to overstate the darkness factor and how darkness is used to emphasise fear of the unknown. It gives off a eerie and uncomfortable feeling to the audience and is the main reason why audiences view horror movies.


Grass Analysis of Horror Movies:

G – Gender – Any gender

R – Race – any race

A– Age –age appropriate depending on the certificate rating on the movie

S – Sex – any sex

S – Socio economic background – not specific type, suitable for all.


I carried out an investigation on what type of things audiences expect from trailers. I did this by making an online survey asking a few questions on the topic on trailers, what they enjoy about them, what they least like, and what they expect to see in the specific genres of movies.

  • Here is a list of questions that were asked in the questionnaire:
  • Sex?
  • What is your age?
  • Out of the list, what are your favourite movie genres?
  • ( Genres being romance; horror, thriller, war/adventure, Sci-Fi and animation).
  • Where do you find out about the movies you watch? (Options being; family/friends, YouTube, social networking sites and movie websites).
  • What do you most expect to see in movie trailers?
  • What do watch the trailers for?
  • Why do you think people watch movies?

I asked the first question on sex/gender. This was because you can tell a lot from what person likes from their gender. For example, stereotypically females prefer chick flicks and males prefer action or horror.

I had 11 respondents from my questionnaires from which two males answered and 9 females. This does not say anything about the answers that are due to come up.


I feel that age has a big part to play in what genre or types of movies audiences enjoy. This is due to many things, but mainly certifications that are placed by the British Board of Film Classification. The BBFC is originally a British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification and censorship of films within the United Kingdom.It has a statutory requirement to classify videos, DVDs and some video games.

The BBFC place classification on films by rating them for sexual content, drug use, offensive language and sexually explicit representations of men and woman in the media.

I feel this may prevent audiences from watching what they ant to watch. This is because this places a boundary of what they are allowed to see and what they aren't. This may also be the reason the limitations of the genres they like as there may be certain genres that the audiences of say a younger age may not be able to view because of the content.


From my results from the question that was asked of what movie genre the audience prefers, the romance genre was deemed to be the most popular. Romance genres are usually there for people to feel that love is a part of everyday life.

The genre that was not as popular was the thriller genre. This may have been because people do like the things that are shown in thriller movies, or may not like the effect it leaves on them.


The people that responded to my questionnaire said that they heard about the movies they watch through their family and friends. This is right as people may be talking about it and of they have seen the content and recommend it, the can be spread to a wider audience, whether they liked the movie or not.


There were a number of mixed responses for my question of what people expect to see in movie trailers. Reading through the results, I found that most people watched the movies for the actors, the costumes and sets.


Looking at my results, it seems to me that my audience engage in movie trailers to make sense of the plot that will take place in the movie and the actors that play the part and how well they play and portray the characters they are getting paid to play.


Asking the question as to why people watch movies, my results showed that they are watched because it is a type of escape from reality and simply a form of entertainment.


Audience theories such as the two step flow play a major part in the making and distribution of different movie types. This is because when people go to see a movie and like it, they go on to tell other people about it, hence the two step flow. This is a good way to get the market values for movies up, and spread the word so that the movie makes up the budget, plus profit for the money spent on the movie.

With these films come a passive and active audience. A passive audience being the people who see and hear things that may or may not b true and choose to believe it without any further yes or no questions. An active audience is one where people see and hear things and then try and gain evidence to back up what is being said to whether or not it is true or not.


The genre of movie trailer I have chosen to do is War/ Romance. This is because romance from my results deemed to be the most popular, and war because it isn’t so popular. Therefore I have chosen to merge the two and see what I can get out of it.

I have chosen romance because it my favourite genre to watch and read about. This is because it is interesting and I get the idea from different movies that not all love is the same.

I have chosen to add the war element as I am a cadet for the RAF and the uniforms worn there are mostly military style green combats and best blues uniform that look professional. Another reason for me to pick the genre of war is because through what I do in my spare time, it will be easy for mew to shoot in the conditions I want to and the settings I want to because I have the cadets squadron available.

I have chosen the war element because this portrays a strong person, for whoever plays it and it would be fun and interesting for me to film and edit.


Private Benjamin (1980) – War / Romance


The Lucky One (2012) – War / Romance


Dear John (2010) – War / Romance


The trailer for 1980s Private Benjamin is set out very differently to the other two trailers that were filmed in 2010.

In Private Benjamin, long clips of the movie are added into the trailer, with no background music added whilst they play, unless they are the bits that are used in the movie. It seems to me as though just short parts of the movie are added together, in order of the time they happened in the movie to make up the trailer. In the other two 2010 movie trailers, there is more music, more lighting. There are shortened parts of the movie whereby music is added in to add sound motif and make the audience want to watch the movie through the trailer.

Reasons for simple things like this is through no fault of their own, as this is mostly due to technological convergences advancing and how things have moved through eras to get to where we are today. Back in the 80s there were standard cameras where things could simply be shot and shown. In this day we have advanced technology like the IMAX also have new computer software like Photoshop etc that can help massively with the production and distribution of movies.


Sounds in War / Romance Movies –

(Dear John , Private Benjamin and The Lucky One)

  • Diegetic –
  • Laughing
  • Dialogue
  • Splashing in the water
  • Gun shots
  • Crying
  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Running
  • Explosions
  • Non - Diegetic –
  • Background music
  • Voice over
  • Explosions
  • Gunshots

Camera Angles, Shots and Movement used in War / Romance movies

Establishing shot–

Watching the trailers for war/ romance movies I am analysing, there is an establishing shot at some point with the sun at either the break of dawn or the sunset. Although there is nobody present on screen, it is highly effective as it sets the romantic mood/ feel for the trailer. In the first picture, the shot is of the battlefield before the violence is shown. In the second image, it just shows a field which usually sets the scene of something having a calm and soothing atmosphere before everything else (action and dialogue) kicks in.


Two/ group shot –

Two / group shots are used in War/ Romance movies to stereotypically show how the two main actors meet. It also is a real significance when two people are on screen that they are going to communicate. In the war side of the genre, a group of people shown in a scene could be used to see a group of people getting ready in their uniforms to go out and fight in battle. In the romance side of the genre, two or a group of people may be shown to see the relationship of the people on screen. This being, family/ friends or a couple. Using this type of shot is effective because you can see more then one person on the screen at one time. This can be a less complicated way of people getting confused about what is going on in the scene. It is also a way to reduce the amount of editing a person has to do. For example, if people on screen are in two different locations, the editor will have to keep cross cut edit the trailer/ movie. With a group shot, this will be less necessary.


Over the shoulder shot –

Most of the shots I have analysed in the War / Romance genre of movies and trailers are mostly made up of over the shoulder shots. To me, these shots are more of point of view shots. They give the people that are in front of the camera a view of their own. It shows the person who is talking a purpose of being where they are.

The over the shoulder shot is a shot of someone or something taken from the perspective or camera angle from the shoulder of another person. This type of shot is very common when two characters are having a discussion and will

usually follow an establishing shot which helps the audience place the characters in their setting.


Close up -

Close-ups are used in many ways and for many reasons. They are often employed as cutaways which are mainly used to she the characters emotions, or something they are doing which is relevant to the scene or movie/ trailer. In a war / romance genre, close ups will be used to show crying, kissing, someone shooting a gun, maybe someone dying or someone in pain.

For a director to deliberately avoid close-ups may create in the audience an emotional distance from the subject matter.

Close-ups are used for distinguishing main characters. Characters within the trailer / movie are often given a close-up when they are introduced

as a way of indicating their importance and what kind of role they may be playing in the movie. Leading characters will have multiple close-ups throughout the movie.


Eye level -

Eye level shots are used frequently through every genre, especially in a war / romance movies. They are used to show someone on screen speaking or delivering information. This shot is also used when people are gesturing with their arms.  Although an eye level shot doesn’t show much detail apart from the person on screen, usually introduces another kind of background. This is usually in indicator that a setting has changed on screen.

High angle -

In high angle shots, the character appears smaller and less important. High angle shots are often used to make a person appear vulnerable. They are also used to make the moment more dramatic. Analysing war / romance trailers have taught me that these shots are used before either a big uproar, like a battle or fight, or a sexual scene. They show more of the setting to see who is there and what is going on.


Camera shots and angles I will be using in my trailer:

  • After observing closely and analysing the trailers in the war/romance genre, I have found that there isn't a huge range of camera shots and angles used in trailers of the genre I have chosen. In spite of this though, the way that the trailers for the genre are created are romantic and moving and this is what I aim to produce.
  • The camera shots I will mainly use:
  • Establishing shots – to set the scene.
  • Two / Group shots
  • Over the shoulder shots
  • Eye level shots
  • Close up shots
  • The camera angles I will mainly use:
  • High angle
  • Eye Level

Sound –

  • The sound I will use will mainly be non-diegetic. This will be a range of songs, that sound dramatic and uplifting and very romantic. My main song that will be played throughout the trailer will be ‘Love is Blindness by Jack White. The term ‘love is blind’ is an open statement with many interpretations. For me this is when two people decide they are in love and make a relationship work because they do not see the obstacles ahead of time so deal with them as they come along by working together to overcome them. This is what my trailer is aimed to be about. I originally heard this song in the trailer of ‘The Great Gatsby directed by BazLurhman’. I have chosen this song primarily because when I watched it, it gave be goose bumps and make me fall in love with the song instantaneously.
  • Other songs I am thinking to use within my trailer are ‘John Tyree - All I Ever Wanted’. I am going to use this song towards the end of my trailer to put a nice end to it within a romantic feeling. Another that gives off the same effect to the previous song is Snow Patrols ‘Set The Fire To The Third Bar’.
  • I am not going to leave any clips in my trailer without the music so where the dialogue is supposed to be I will add in a quiet instrumental of the song that is either already been played, or the song that will be followed up from the last.
  • - ‘Love is Blindness – Jack White’
  • - ‘John Tyree - All I Ever Wanted’
  • – ‘Snow Patrols - Set The Fire To The Third Bar’

Location / Setting –

The war parts of my war / romance genre will be shot in deserted places or places where there are people in uniform. I have chosen to shoot in fields, houses for some of the scenes and cadets. I have chosen to shoot at cadets because I will have access to more people in the uniform that I require, which is the army green combat uniform. I have discovered a place local to where I live to shoot a bit near a pond where a willow tree droops down to the water. As there are a variety of places I wish to shot, there will be more things going on in my trailer.

These are the images of which I aim to make my setting like –


Mise en scene –

Lighting –

I am planning to use high key lighting for the romantic side to my war / romance genre. This is because high key lighting is used to suggest an upbeat mood which is usually quite homogeneous and free from dark shadows, just as romance is stereotypically portrayed. High key lighting gives off a positive mood and sets a tone for the movie.

I am going to use low key lighting for the war parts of the war / romance genre. This is because war is never presented as good in movies. Bad is stereotypically represented as dark and in low key.


Props / Costume –

  • Costumes –
  • Army combat clothing
  • Casual clothing for other things
  • Smart uniforms
  • Army boots
  • Props –
  • Guns
  • Ammunition
  • Burgan bags
  • Webbing

How are these elements represented in your genre?

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Regional Identity

Gender - Female

Females in my genre of War / Romance are completely different with the genres mixed.

The war side for the woman represented as a girl that gets up and goes. Any girl going in to the army are well respected as most people know, or stereotypically think that it is not a girls job. They are represented as strong willed and

dedicated. In the romance side of my war / romance genre, girls are represented as naive and vulnerable. They are all wrapped up in the girly bubbly pink and believe that love is the way around the world.


Gender -Male

The main male lead will be presented as a strong person, also from the army. The man stands up for what he believes and in and always chases his dreams. He loves his family and friends and would do anything for them.

I want my male lead to be fit and healthy, who can play the characters role well. The character of the lead male is brave, willing and always up for a challenge. He find that love changes him, but for the good.


Age –

Age in the War / Romance genre can be represented at any age. In today’s movies though, it is mainly shown through a young persons eyes as they may go b y the saying that young people are innocent and they see the world through their own eyes.

Ethnicity –

Ethnicity is brought out a lot in movies nowadays. You can see Asian actors working in Hollywood films and vice versa. Ethnicity is not a big issue on the way it is represented in my genre of War / Romance. There is however hybrid diversities where people from all different ethnicities can work together to produce final products, or even in the production and distribution of movies.

Regional identity –

Regional identity does not usually depend on the genre of the movie. This does not affect my genre of War / Romance.

Disability –

Disability only slightly affects my genre. This may be because someone who has a loved one who has fought in the war may not be around any more.