Aardman, Lightsabers, Trainspotting

Why we started making video and the artistry of movie trailers

Seeing as this is the first proper blog post, we might as well start at the very beginning…

Today we’re going to talk about why we started producing video content and how we were inspired by the artistry of movie trailers. 

Video (or ‘film’ if we fancy being pretentious today) uses sound, visuals and most importantly time to evoke emotion like no other medium can in our humble opinion. Changing even a minor element like the camera angle, editing, music or the colour tint can completely change the viewer’s perception, sometimes consciously and sometimes sub-consciously.

Like many people in the video production industry, as kids we started playing about with bulky and ludicrously heavy VHS ‘camcorders’. They looked something like this:

This was the future, once upon a time…

 

We spent hours making basic stop motion animations inspired by Aardman Animation classics such as Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave.

Simple stop motion animation / the lowest ever budget episode of Doctor Who ever produced.

 

As visual effects software became available to the masses we experimented with computer animation. Sometimes it was just for the sheer fun of it, like filming a lightsaber fight and then ‘rotoscoping’ the familiar special effect. Then by adding sound effects and music and understanding the principles of editing it became clear how much fun video production can be.

What bewildered dog walkers and passersby must have thought is anyone’s guess…

 

If there was anything that made us think ‘yea that’s what we want to do’ it was probably the artistry of the movie trailer. Movie trailers were the ultimate blend of mood setting music, teasing glimpses of narrative and a large dose of sentimentality – if the current trend of franchise sequels is here to stay (Spoilers: they make lots of money so yes they are).

Here are some memorable trailers that have really stuck out in our minds for specific choices that were made.

 

WARNING: Some of these videos are NSFW due to fruity language or seeing people’s naughty bits so please make sure you ask Mumsy first and/or check over your shoulder before watching. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

It’s a classic. The trailer certainly hasn’t aged well since 1993 but we think the film and the special effects still stands up to this day. The state-of-the-art computer generated dinosaurs and the swelling John Williams music really adds to the sense of wonderment. As kids, this trailer had everything and made us annoy our parents until they took us to see the film.

We love this trailer as it harks back to the 90s and a very different style of making movie trailers. Comparing this trailer to recent movie trailers you notice just how much of the films plot is given away compared to the brief glimpses we get now. A great example of this is the original Ghostbusters (1984) trailer.

 

A voiceover would often explain the entire premise of the film and often describe the main characters in a dialogue and narrative heavy style that seems quite bizarre today.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed Danny Boyle’s sequel to Trainspotting. What we love about the trailer:

  • The opening scene establishes how long Renton has been gone for and the awkward wide offset camera angles adds to the tension between him and Sick Boy. It teases the premise of the film without giving too much away, this is important seeing as how the first film ended.
  • The famous ‘Choose Life’ speech is back and it’s updated for 2017.
  • After the opening scene the audience is hears Underworld’s song ‘Born Slippy NUXX’, giving them a massive hit of sentimentality as the cult song was such a huge part of the last film. It continues to ratchet up the tension as we see glimpses of infamous psychopath Begbie ‘catching up’ with Renton and the consequences of his actions.
  • Several times we see (fan favourite) Spud with his life in various precarious situations. Mixed with Wolf Alice’s song ‘Silk’ it makes for a intriguing trailer as we are left wanting to find out if Spud survives the film and what happens to our beloved characters now.

 

The trailer for Logan really stands out compared to the usual generic comic book trailer. What we love about the trailer:

  • Everything about this trailer reflects the apocalyptic premise of the film. Everything is stripped back, even including the title font which is very understated.
  • The tired old superhero trope of  ‘epic’ music is replaced with a very bare and minimalist soundtrack provided by Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’. Again, reflecting the stripped back nature of the story it leaves the audience with a haunting feeling.
  • Superhero films are usually pretty egregious at giving away the entire plot in the trailer, the Logan trailer manages to avoid is.

 

Making a film about Facebook can not of been an easy pitch, making the trailer must have been equally as hard. To take that subject matter and make it a human story is way the film and trailer succeeds. The choral cover of Radiohead’s creep helps the audience emotionally connect to the story.

A familiar facebook* interface is shown at the start to establish with the audience that this is indeed the Facebook film they’ve heard about. Enough is shown to establish this before moving on to the human drama that is the film.

*although probably “legally distinct” as Facebook is never really seen.

 

 

Alien (1979) vs Alien: Prometheus (2012)

It’s quite interesting to compare these two trailers.

We love the font and editing. The fast pace editing and horrendous soundtrack really stood out at the time and it stands up to this day.

 

Personally we found Prometheus to be a let down but the trailer really stood out at the time as being well produced. The ‘squeaky-bum-time’ foghorn/alarm/klaxon soundtrack really adds foreboding and harks back to the original Alien trailer. The editing and brief glimpses of horror manage to tease enough without giving too much away. The prometheus trailer uses many elements familiar to fans and audiences who recall the original Alien trailer back in the 70s.

Both films have similar plots… well who are we kidding? It’s the exact same plot. I guess the clues were there all along.

 

 

A Star Wars film (depends on who you ask).

Ok ok… don’t freak out. We’re not talking about the actual film here, but the original trailer. We think it is noteworthy because:

  • Let’s face it, it was the first movie trailer to truly ‘break the internet’.
  • Jar-Jar Binks was looked upon as an exciting new character, oh the halcyon days…
  • This was during the dial-up modem era of the internet, the fact that it was possible to eventually watch it (when the servers were able to cope and we had RealPlayer), undoubtedly was an amazing technical feat.
  • John Williams & Yoda’s back, nuff said.

 

Right that’s enough talking about Star Wars, we’ll get carried away…

 


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