Anatomy Of A Movie Trailer

If you've ever wondered how filmmakers chop up and reassemble a two-hour film into a two-minute trailer, you need wonder no longer. The New York Times has visualised the contents of five recent film trailers, so you can see how they're put together.

In the visualisations, the horizontal axis represents time elapsed during the trailer, and the vertical axis represents when the particular clip occurred in the original movie. Above is the timeline for the Silver Linings Playbook trailer, about which the New York Times explains:

Silver Linings Playbook follows the standard model for trailers, according to Bill Woolery, a trailer specialist in Los Angeles who once worked on trailers for movies like "The Usual Suspects" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." While introducing the movie's story and its characters, the trailer largely follows the order of the film itself.

So, broadly speaking, you see a nicely sloped line, albeit one with a few blips, which starts at the start and ends at the end. Elsewhere, though, some movies mix things up a little: Lincoln's trailer, for instance, is all over the shop, while Amour's bizarrely focuses on the middle of the feature. Go take a look for yourself over on the New York Times website. [NYT]


Comments

    I may be alone in this, but I hate almost all modern trailers. There is an obvious notion that if studios don't show the best parts of a movie in the trailer, people won't bother to go see it; for me, this ruins the movie. Worse is when the trailer goes so far as to give away significant parts of the plot (and this isn't a rare occurrence). Remember when you would go to the movies knowing only vaguely what a film was about and be able to enjoy the twists as it unravelled before your eyes?

    In recent years I've been forced to rather extreme measures to avoid having nearly every movie ruined for me (e.g. listen to music/browse web throughout pre-movie ad marathon, avoid news articles concerning specific movies, see movies as soon as they open, etc). Sure, I end up seeing 5 crap movies for every good one, but it's better than never being able to enjoy the good ones.

    tl;dr Give me more movie trailers that don't involve footage from the movie.

    A few interesting trailers I came across in the past;

    Shining - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQFD4gz9l8

    Resident Evil - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRnp4UPI-Qk

    The Comedian - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIILUKJ74r0

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