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RESEARCH &ANALYSIS . Analysing trailers . What are trailers?. Definition: a short teaser produced to advertise a new film (Defined by the Media Studies a AS Dictionary by David Probert )

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research analysis

RESEARCH &ANALYSIS

Analysing trailers

what are trailers
What are trailers?
  • Definition: a short teaser produced to advertise a new film (Defined by the Media Studies a AS Dictionary by David Probert)
  • Trailers are used in the distribution stage; often used to market their product. There are three different types of trailers:
  • Teaser trailers: Movie teasers are usually made for big-budget and popularly themed movies. There are used to advertise an upcoming film and usually contains small clips from the film. heir purpose is less to tell the audience about a movie's content than simply to let them know that the movie is coming up in the near future, and to add to the hype of the upcoming release. Teaser trailers are often made while the film is still in production or being edited and as a result they may feature scenes or alternate versions of scenes that are not in the finished film.
  • Theatrical trailers: is an advertisement or a commercial which is normally used to promote a film, usually in the cinemas. Previously, trailers were shown at the end of a feature of the film screening, however that did not last very as consumers started to leave the cinemas after the film ended so they started to show the trailer before the film started.
  • DVD trailers: movie trailers are not only shown in the cinemas, they have now become popular on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs as well as on the internet and mobile devices. Out of ten billion videos watched online, film trailers were rank third – this shows how consumers have taken advantage of digital proliferation! Larger media conglomerates are the ones who are more likely to show their trailers on TV as they have a large amount of advertising budget.
  • In some cases, movie trailers have been so well-designed and beautifully executed that they have won awards!
golden trailers awards
Golden trailers awards

The first Golden Trailer Awards ceremony was held on September 21, 1999 in New York City. Due to the fact trailers are awarded, it just shows how significant trailers are in the media.

  • 2013: Iron Man 3
  • 2012: The Dark Knight Rises[3]
  • 2011: The Social Network
  • 2010: The Cove
  • 2009: Star Trek
  • 2008: The Dark Knight
  • 2007: 300
  • 2006: Mission: Impossible III
  • 2005: Saw
  • 2004: The Stepford Wives
  • 2003: About Schmidt
  • 2002: The Royal Tenenbaums
  • 2001: Requiem for a Dream
  • 2000: The Matrix
how has trailers changed over time
How has trailers changed over time?
  • Well we all know that the way trailers are presented in this modern society is very different to how it would have been presented years ago. Take a look at this trailer…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyv19bg0scg

First of all the trailer is presented in black and white, however now a days trailers are presented in colours – the improvement in digital technology has allowed for better looking trailers making it more attractive for the consumers.

Not only that, modern audiences will say that this does not even seem like a trailer. This just shows how we have become more of an active audience – modern audiences are aware of the conventions of a trailer today so we will not perceive this as an actual trailer, therefore making us reluctant to go and see the film. Filming industries need to be aware of the audiences thoughts when producing a trailer – they need to always make sure trailers include modern conventions! For example we would be more interested in a coloured trailer rather than a black and white one.

trailers changing over time
Trailers changing over time...
  • What about the trailers in 1997?
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP_1T4ilm8M

Again, back in 1997 people were not able to take advantage of a better and professional video camera we have no, for this reason the quality of the trailer is poor. However, the voiceover used in the background is not striking enough, he seems out of place and not engaging at all. Modern consumers will not be eager to watch Star Wars.

Now take a look at this one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVpnNyalKT0

A lot more engaging as you can see. The voiceover is more striking and appealing than the other one. Unlike the first one, at the beginning we are introduced to the name of the film industry: 20th Fox Century which allows us to view the trailer in a more professional manner. The ratings as well were also shown: rated as ‘parental guidance’ which was not included on the previous one, this therefore shows us that in our modern society now include regulations within the filming industry which did not exist years ago – media platforms in general have now become more restricted. Did you notice anything else? There is a coloured man. Before the 1950’s coloured people were exploited in the media but now they receive appropriate recognition, which has been shown in this trailer. The previous trailers did not even black people, which shows how inferior they used to be in the past.

As well as that, we are able to engage more with the characters as a lot more of the narration is coming from them rather than the voice over . All these are modern themes we expect to see in a trailer.

slide6

As you may have acknowledge the quality of the film has changed overtime.Digital proliferation has allowed us to produce better quality in HD, so viewers have a better view of the trailer.

  • Moreover, based on the both previous trailers of star wars we can see a difference in the way both trailers have been produced. We have been able to take advantage on the improvement of technology, this is acknowledged because we have now been able to create more realistic and better animations on screen. As well as that the recent Star Wars can now be viewed on 3D, therefore showing how technology has developed.
media conglomerate trailers vs independent movie trailers
media conglomerate trailers vs. INDEPENDENT MOVIE TRAILERS
  • Marvel Studios (part of Disney’s conglomerate): produced The Avengers.
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hPpG4s3-O4
    • $78,000,000 (estimated budget)
    • $407,999,255 (gross profit)
  • Lionsgate Films (Independent institutions): produced The Hunger Games
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMGRhAEn6K0
    • Budget: $220,000,000 (estimated)
    • $623,279,547 (gross profit)
  • Do you see the difference between both trailers? Since Marvel Studios are subsidiary to huge filming conglomerate, they have a higher budget so therefore they can afford to implement better visual effects in their trailers, making it more entertaining to watch, hence the reason why they made more profit. However, independent institutions like Lionsgate Films can not afford this, so therefore they will find it difficult to take advantage of a much more advanced technology for visual effects.
cameras
Cameras

As you can see, the technology that the filming conglomerates used are very advanced and expensive compared to independent institutions. For example in the production of the movie ‘The Avengers’, they used more advance and better camera Arriflex 435, compared to Lionsgate, who used Arriflex 235. This just shows how technology can have an impact on the way the trailer looks. Obviously the better the technology, the better your trailer looks, therefore the more audience you attract. This has been proven due to the popularity of The Avengers which had biggest opening weekend in North America and the fastest film to gross $1 billion. It grossed $1.51 billion worldwide, and became the third-highest-grossing film.

why do we watch trailers
Why do we watch trailers?
  • This is similar to the reasons why we watch the actual movie. It can be based on the audience gratification theory by Blumler and Katz's:
  • Gaining information: if you can’t wait to see a movie people may watch the trailer to satisfy their curiosity and also maybe for general interest.
  • Personal identity; finding reinforcement with personal values
  • Social integration: gaining insight into circumstances for others
  • For entertainment!
  • The two- step flow, created by Katz & Lazarsfeld (1955): it is very easy for opinion leaders to influence the mind of others. All they have to do is to exaggerate about a trailer they have seen and they can influence others to watch it. The people that are influenced then become the opinion followers
regulations in trailers films
Regulations in trailers/FILMS
  • Before a trailer is released, regulators such as the BBFC have to check the trailer to ensure that the trailer is suitable for the audiences viewing the film. All classifications decisions are based on the BBFC’s published and regularly updated Guidelines. Examiners look at issues such as discrimination, drugs, horror, imitable behaviour, language, nudity, sex, sexual violence, theme and violence when making decisions. The Guidelines details show you what is acceptable at each age category, from U to R18. They also set out the laws and principles which impact on the BBFC’s work.
  • Filming industries must consider the following guidelines when classifying the age range for their film (these are only the guidelines for PG, 15+ and 18) :

PG

15+

slide11

18

Before trailers/movies are shown, the BBFC checks them and ensure that the rated age range matches the procedures set out

conventions of trailers
Conventions of trailers:
  • Genre indicators
  • Plot
  • Short clips
  • Voiceover
  • Music
  • Cast
  • Director
  • The Title
  • The Studio
what is a genre
What is a genre?
  • A category of artistic composition, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
  • A genre also depends on what we expect to see. Active audiences know what they are looking for in a certain genre, so it is important that film makers include features that are consistent with the genre.
comedy

these stories are intended to be funny, they also touch darker areas of storytelling, such as death and fear; they make fun out of serious events.

comedy

intends to mimic another genre to humorous effect. Parodies can be intended to mock and criticize as well as to pay homage.

 This type of comedy features physical humour such as pratfalls, silly and exaggerated body language, and unlikely scenarios.

mix love stories together with comedic events.

Conventions of a comedy trailer:

Editing sounds to add humour

Generic setting: bright places, towns, cities, well populated areas

Characters are idiots and very stupid

Sarcasm

comedy1
COMEDY

This can be viewed as a Slapstick comedy

Non-diegetic sound: as the audience because we are not yet viewed with the characters so can assume the background singing at the beginning is non-diegetic but it then moves into a diegetic sound when are viewed with the character singing the song. The sound transition at this point also acts as a sound bridge as we hear the same music from one scene to another. Moreover, the singing at the beginning contradicts the genre of the music. The tone of the song is quite depressing and sad, which doesn’t link into the comedy genre. As a result to this, the sound bridge at the beginning acts as an enigma code, leaving the readers confused as to why a depressing sound tone will be in a comedy trailer. Further on in the trailer the music starts to get faster and more up beat, which compliments the conventions of a comedy trailer as fast and striking music can connote fun and banter which is a feature of comedy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLAkxSjs8ZY

Mis en scene: What makes laugh? We usually find unexpected and unusual situations funny. Therefore seeing a giraffe in back of the car might make the audience laugh. Also some audience may have found the man singing at the beginning funny as we do not expect a man to be singing with such a high voice. Did the topless man in the scene make you laugh?

You may not be laughing at the fact that he is topless. Directors and producers are smart! They purposely decided to display this character top less so his unattractive body can make the audience laugh. His actions in the trailer also allows for banter. – such as the accident he causes at the end and the fact that he buys a giraffe. Alan could be representing the ‘natural fool’ in the play

Lighting: high lightening used to highlight the genre of the film. However there are some low key lightening in some areas – rather than fear, it is used to create suspense making the film more engaging and interesting

Diegetic sound: dialogue is a typical form of diegetic sound we will hear in any trailer. The diegetic sound we hear in Hangover are chosen carefully so they make us laugh: ‘My name is Alan and I bought a giraffe?’ Again, unexpected, unusual and funny!

camera angles and movements
Camera angles and movements

Establishing shot: this is usually used at the beginning of a film and trailers, just to introduce us to the film. The audience maybe wondering why do we have an establishing shot of a funeral when this is meant to be a comedy? Again this acts as an enigma in the trailer. Also there is a lot of establishing shots of the town/city itself. Maybe this is shown to highlight the joyful mood of ‘Las Vegas’ again linking back to the genre of the trailer. Notice that this establishing shot uses low key lightening- this is not to create fear (although it usually does like in horror films), it could have been used to highlight the ‘fantastic city’ in Las Vegas

Low angle: high angle is usually used to display vulnerability and fear but as the audience since we are ware that this is a comedy trailer, we will instantly find this funny. The fact that he is about to fall off a building is used as humour.

slide18

Over the shoulder shot/Reverse shot: allows us to view the actions of the two characters. Through this over-the shoulder shot we also view the woman’s facial expressions. The facial expressions, along with the fact that the male character places a sweet in her mouth that has been on hers will make some of the audience laugh. The aim of comedy is to encourage the audience to laugh so therefore it will include a lot of funny actions

High angle: of an aeroplane. Could be connote holiday. Since holiday is all about phone – this could have been used to point of the genre of the film. Comedy is all about fun!

Medium close-up: used to introduce us to the characters in the film. The character is wearing glasses and a shirt which is stereotypical representation of a ‘geek’ , therefore making him a funny character. The fact that he is wearing a pink shirt is even more humorous as we do not expect a man to wear a pink shirt

Close-up: this may have been used so we are able to view the costume the character is wearing over their head. The animated costume is used to make the audience laugh. This makes the wear he chases Alan even more funny!

narrative theory
Narrative theory
  • It is very hard to acknowledge Todorov’s and Propp’s theory from watching the trailer as we are not viewed with the film movie, but however based on the trailer only…
  • Does this trailer challenge Todorov’s theory? Yes it does! At the beginning we are already introduced with a problem (the funeral gives this impression) instead of a fresh and clean start. This just shows how trailers have developed through the years - modern trailers no longer consider Todorov’s narrative theory. However in the film there is a resolution and a happy ending (the two characters get married and the ‘bad guy’ turns good)
  • Does this trailer challenge Propp’s theory? Only to some extent! It still includes the villain and we could assume the three main characters are the hero and princess as the blonde girl portrayed in the trailer
did you realise anything else
Did you realise anything else?
  • This trailer does not have a voiceover! The comedy lies extensively within the characters so it is important that they are pointed out as much as possible as they are the ones to make the audience laugh. As well as that, this also highlights the fact the conventions of a modern trailer. Although there are still a few, many modern trailers include little or no voiceover, giving the characters a chance to embrace their dialogue.
horror

These are stories where the dead return to life and haunt the living, such as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Sometimes the ghosts are trying to teach the living a lesson.

HORROR

These stories paint a future where humankind is up against a threat like zombies or vampires and must survive against the odds.

These are stories where the dead return to life and haunt the living.

tell of deranged killers who are out to punish regular people.

Conventions of horror film:

Dark/ gloomy setting

Death

Blood

Fear

Isolation

Depression

horror1
HORROR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfcHoXTlMX0

Sound: a lot of diegetic sounds were presented in this trailer including: the sound of the clock ticking, the door squeaking slowly and footsteps. All these type of sound were used to create tension. The clock ticking and footsteps especially creates a lot of suspense. The clock ticking then acts as a sound bridge, moving onto non-diegetic sound. The sound of the clock ticking is included in many different scenes to highlight the uncertainty in the trailer. All these features compliment the conventions of a horror trailer.

More diegetic sound: at the beginning we hear the characters laughing which contradicts the non-diegetic sound of the ominous music we hear in the background. This adds more tension, because as the audience we know that a frightening event is yet to take place. Moreover, we then start to hear negative sounds such as a: baby crying, a characters shouting, the dialogue: ‘its not the house that is haunted, its your son’ . All these destructive sounds adheres to the conventions of a horror film.

Lighting: most of the time low key lighting is used. The trailer portrays dark scenes most of the time, which connotes fear, and as a result to this it also leaves the audience frightened.

Mis en scene: rather than bright colours, the characters in the trailer are wearing dark colours. Again, editors do this deliberately – they need to ensure that even the characters outfit compliments the horror genre. What else do we see? Shadows instead of the actual characters. This makes the audience curious and maybe nervous.

camera angles movements editing
Camera angles/movements/editing

Close-up: a close up of a broken ladder highlights a destructive atmosphere. At this point, we viewed with a little boy who tries climbing up the ladder, it breaks and the boys falls down – as the readers we will be curious, we do not want the little boy to fall over.

Wide shot: we are viewed with the boy falling over, which increases our anxiety levels, leaving us even more curious. This negative events that take place highlights the destructive atmosphere. Film makers, include these negative events as they are conventions of a horror trailer.

Close-up: of the clock emphasises the non-diegetic sound we hear of the clock ticking in the background

slide24

High angle: At this point we hear a loud anonymous voice coming from above. The fact that this voice is anonymous adds to the fear of the trailer. Moving on, this is taking from a high angle which portrays the character as vulnerable and also emphasising the characters terror. A lot of other high angle shots were portrayed throughout the trailer to point out how weaknesses of the characters and the power of this anonymous voice

This is a low angle shot from the audiences point of view, leaving the audience vulnerable. This low angle show allows us to be in the audiences position – terrified! It highlights the power of this ‘ghostly voice’ , leaving the characters to feel weak and defenceless

Wide shot: This is a very effective shot as it allows us to view the little boy in bed as well as a random arm by the side. This is really freaky and gives us the impression that the little boy is going to get hurt.

Two shot: a two shot allows us to view the facial expressions of both characters at the same time. As you can see they both look unhappy, which adds to the negativity of the whole trailer

slide25

Extreme close up of someone struggling to get through the door. This gives us the impression the character is trapped and being desperate to get out. The idea of being ‘trapped’ to the genre of the film. When you are trapped you usually feel scared and distressed.

Extreme close up: At this point we are able to view that her eyes are moving really fast which builds up the tension we face in the trailer.The eyes can connote sensitivity, since the characters are in such a destructive atmosphere we can assume that extreme close up of the eye is being portrayed to highlight the vulnerability of the characters.

Eye line match: we are viewed with the object the character is looking at. This shot emphasises the importance of this object. This objects detects the baby’s noise and the fact that this object is being highlighted gives us the impression that the baby is in trouble

Black out: used during the trailer making the audience assume that the trailer is finished but then another scene is portrayed which enhances the audience anxiety levels.

slide26

Panning: this is used to highlight the significance of the house. The main setting of the trailer is based on this haunted house. The house looks isolated – pointing out one of the conventions of a genre of the trailer

Tilt:

At this point the camera very slowly tilts up from the woman’s hands to her face. This was deliberately done in slow motion to build up the suspense of the trailer

Again we assume that the film is finished until the camera zooms in with a close up of this ghostly image, which leaves the readers shocked. The make up that is used, gives the character a more frightening appearance.

During the end of the trailer, the edits and shots start to move faster which then enhances the destruction and tension of the trailer leaving the readers stressed and disorientated

so what was the difference between horror and comedy
So what was the difference between horror and comedy ?
  • First of all, we are portrayed with scenes which included low key lighting giving a gloomy atmosphere but the comedy included more high key lighting which gives a light hearted atmosphere.
  • Horror includes many destructive and negative events however comedy involves more funny and unexpected events which makes us laugh. In horror movies we know what is coming but we don’t know when, which adds to the suspense and makes us anxious.
  • Notice that the music is different as well – the music that is used influences the way the audience responses to the trailer. The main background music is fast and jolly which gets the audiences excited. However, in the horror trailer, the music sounds mysterious and daunting.
so why do we watch horror films even though they are frightening
So why do we watch horror films even though they are frightening?
  • For the thrill and entertainment!
  • According to psychologist, we watch horror film because of the need for excitement. the desire to feel intense emotions, and distraction from everyday concerns. Although dramatic films can fulfil some of these needs, movies depicting violence and horror have features that other forms of drama do not, including the violation of social norms and the portrayal of events seldom seen in real life.
  • One study identified three factors that were important in the appeal of horror films to males aged 15-45: the excitement generated by the film (called "sensation-seeking" by psychologists, the enjoyment of stimulation or physiological arousal), the wish to see the destruction found in horror films, and the satisfying resolution usually found at the end of the film.Stated by Jeffrey Goldstein, Ph.D

Another reason is based on Gender socialisation:

More men like to see scary movies because men are socialised to be brave and love threatening events, therefore receive a social gratification of not letting scary films bother them

In one study males liked a horror movie more when they saw it with a female who was scared, and females liked the movie more when they saw it with a male who wasn’t scared.

Reference: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/31/why-some-people-love-horror-movies-while-others-hate-them/

The cuddle effect: Men often like scary films as date movies because women are more likely to seek physical closeness when they’re scared, and men can show off their strength and bravery

romance typical conventions
ROMANCE : TYPICAL CONVENTIONS
  • Often a voiceover used to introduce the theme of love
  • Normally contains emotional feelings
  • It will include sexuality, gender and relationships
  • Usually involves wedding bells, hearts and flowers
  • Usually the characters separate and reunite after
  • Audiences would be expecting a happy ending, hence the reason why we watch it.
slide31

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JoXHO3ceUY

Over the shoulder shot: used to present the dialogue, from this shot we are viewed with elements from the mise en scene – we see a wedding take place. The man is dressed in a suit and the woman’s veil. What we see in the scene compliments the genre of the trailer, leaving the audience pleased which is what we expect in a romantic genre. The wedding that takes place may make the audiences narcissistic towards the characters.

Wide shot: we can view the character’s pink dress and she is holding flowers which connotes love and happiness, highlighting the genre of the film. The fact that she is wearing a pink dress also the stereotypical view of woman being the more gentle and loving gender High key lighting is used to emphasis the light hearted feeling you receive when you are in love. The background includes a beautiful building to point out the lovely affections and feeling of love

Two shot: both characters are kissing, enhancing the theme of love. The fact that she is wearing a red jacket highlights this

High angle: of both characters in bed, points out the sexual and emotional connotations of a romance film

Sound: Diegetic sound: ‘I vow to live within the warmth of your heart’. Non diegetic sound: slow and passionate music playing in the background which influences the mood of the audience. Allowing them to feel emotional and also sympathy for the characters. These are all typical conventions of a romantic genre.

does this trailer adhere to the conventions of romance
Does this trailer adhere to the conventions of romance?
  • Yes it does! The two lovers separate because of her memory loss, but in the actual film they end up together at the end. This adheres to Todorov’s narrative theory.
  • We see in the mise en scene themes related to love and romance
  • As the audiences we are emotional when they break up and the happy ending we are expected is viewed.
  • Although there is no voiceover this is becoming a typical convention of a modern trailer.
why do we watch romantic trailers
Why do we watch romantic TRAILERS?
  • This can be based on the uses and gratification theory. One of the reasons why audiences may watch romantic theory maybe because of the entertainment – for the emotional release we gain when we watch it. This is usually a very good feeling as romance have happy endings.
  • Another reason maybe because of personal identity. Audiences may love watching romance because they are able to relate to the characters. E.g. audiences may have a hubby which they have been in the same situation with. From this social interaction can be developed – people may watch the trailer to gain insight into circumstances of others