Page 1: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites

Lesson notes on teaser trailer and film poster

Film Trailer

Things to avoid Things to do

- No dialogue - Variety of locations- Too many titles - Use music to help establish genre- Unclear narrative - Use a voiceover

Teaser trailer analysis

Trailer When are we told the name of the film?Why is this?

Why are we told who is starring in the film?How is the information given to us?

What information are we given in the very last frame?

War of the Worlds We are told the name at the end, as it builds anticipation and forces the viewer to continue watching, until they receive the name, persuading them to go and watch the film

Because a big named star is in the film, Tom Cruise. This is a USP as he is very well known and critically respected

The release date

The Pink Panther We are told the name at the end (even though it is obvious that the film is ‘The Pink Panther’ as it is very well known) this is to build anticipation and forces the viewer to continue watching, until they receive the name, persuading them to go and watch the film

Because a big named star is in the film, John Cleaves. This is a USP as he is very well known and critically respected and established with the comedy genre, clearly showing what type of film it will be

The title ‘Coming Soon’


- Both trailers have 48 frames each- The start = factual information- The middle = Information on the cast & director- The end = name of film & director- The layout of title are in the same format- Approx 10 titles/graphics- 4 production related- Spaced evenly at start as trailer reaches separate conclusions- Logos/ production company

Page 2: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites

- Narrative/ genre related- Actor/ director- Factual information and release

Titles – indicate the genre, identify the target audience, emphasise the stars, give factual information and help to establish the narrative.

A title should …

- Give an indication into the genre- Link to the narrative- Be comprehensible to the mass market- Catchy/memorable- Have an ominous undertone/ raise suspicion- Font choice should complement the genre and colour- Poetic effect/ techniques (pun)- Challenge expectations/conventions

A title shouldn’t …

- Reveal too much of the plot- Not very long name- Not too culturally exclusive- Universal language & meaning

Close analysis of ‘Run Fat boy Run ‘teaser trailer

How many frames until music start? 7

How many shots are used? 34

How many dialogue shots? 12

How many different locations? 9

Teaser trailer

Short 30 – 60 seconds Slipped into gaps in the cinema or T.V Going to show its niche unique selling point Establishes a quick overview of the narrative Content = genre, narrative and who’s included Purpose = tease audience and raise awareness, enticing people to watch it Released long before a film’s release 12 – 18 months in advance Ad campaign are cryptic and challenging Usually only made for big, popular, blockbuster films

The main jobs that a film trailers do are to:

- Promote the film

Page 3: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites

- Build anticipation- Entice people to go and watch- Market the film to a mass audience- Build up the brand/production company reputation- Creating awareness & hype- Showcase stars


- Gives the audience some information about the film- Depicts the genre and tone of the film- Shows that it’s a theatrical trailer and will be shown in the cinema- Adds to atmosphere and gives sense of anticipation- Showcases the star actors and directors- Reinforces the title of the film and what it’s about

Techniques used in voiceover

- Repetition- Pun- Triadic structure- Informal/simplistic language- Superlative- Emotive language

How a trailer attracts its audience

- The purpose of a trailer is similar to that of a poster as it is meant to encourage us to want to see the film.

- The trailer is the most powerful tool in the marketing campaign. Posters are vital in capturing interest and drawing the audience into the cinema, but they cannot convey the excitement and atmosphere of film in the same way as a trailer does.

- The combination of moving image and sound at a cinema is an exciting experience, as it is dramatic and catchers your attention. This stirs our emotions and gives us a flavour of the film that is impossible through still images alone.

- The trailer holds our attention as images change quickly and we must concentrate all the time or we may miss something.

- A trailer uses sound to get its message across. Music, sound effects, speech from the film and the voiceover all join together to create an exciting mixture for our ears.

- The combination of sound and moving images is a very effective way of attracting us to see a film.

When and why trailers are aired

- We usually see a trailer just before we are about to see a film, although sometimes a short version of them appears in the advert breaks on TV.

- The exhibitor (cinema manager) uses their marketing knowledge to select trailers aimed at a similar target audience to that of the main film in the hope that the forthcoming attractions will appeal to them and bring them back at a later date.

Page 4: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites

- Trailers are given a classification in the same way that films are. Whether in the cinema or on TV, the distributors think carefully about who will be watching at this time and try to show a trailer which will be interesting to this type of audience.

- For example, a trailer for Thomas and the Magic Railroad would not be shown before an 18 certificate horror film at the cinema or in the break of Coronation Street because the distributors want as many children as possible to see it.

What types of trailers are there?

- The distribution company may decide to release more than one trailer for a film, particularly if it is a big production with a substantial budget for marketing.

- A teaser trailer may be cut and played in cinemas in the early stages of the promotional campaign. This will be shorter than the traditional trailer and is designed to whet our appetite for a film and ‘tease’ us so we want to know more.

- Teasers are followed up by a main trailer campaign closer to the film’s actual release date. Trailers advertising sequels to successful films often don’t need to give us as much information.

When is the trailer produced?

- Most trailers are created and produced at the same time as the film is being edited.- Many of the films we see are from the US and the trailers have been created there, hence

the use of American vocabulary and accent in the voiceover. On occasion the trailer may be re-cut for the audience of another country (style of humour may be different!) Re-cutting is rare due to expense involved.

Why is it important for a trailer to show us the genre and how does this happen?

- When we view a trailer we are automatically decoding the things we see and hear to work out what genre the film is. (Conventions).

- Another indication as to the genre of a film is the stars. We are used to associating certain stars with certain genres. A trailer will usually ensure we are made aware of who the stars are, as this will encourage us to see the film and help recognise the genre.

- Trailers have their own set of easily recognizable conventions. They are designed to capture our attention and hold it for a short space of time. They give us just enough information to raise our curiosity but not enough to spoil the story of the film. They tease but they don’t tell. We’re often given information as to plot and character and our task is to fill in the missing pieces in the time available.

- Sound is very important in a trailer, particularly the music, which swiftly manipulates our emotions and creates an atmosphere. The voiceover, a feature of advertising, is used to summarise the story and emphasise credit information where appropriate. It also looks to build anticipation.


- When we watch a trailer we know from experience that we are seeing the most exciting, funny, significant or dramatic parts of a film and that we must interact with these to create a whole story from the parts we are given.

- A trailer is designed to create a ‘want–to –see’ reaction in an audience. To this end the trailer will give the audience some amount of information about a film in terms of narrative

Page 5: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites

and character but equally will aim to raise questions which can only be answered by seeing the whole film.

Key conventions of trailers:

They highlight the ‘best bits’ of the film, the very funny, sad etc. We are not shown the story in narrative order They showcase the stars of the film Some visual images stay on screen for only just enough time for our mind to realize what we

are seeing Conversations between characters usually consist of one line each Unusual angles are often used to show events or characters Action is interspersed with credits on screen Voiceovers are used to tell the story and give credit information Music plays an important role in creating atmosphere The title does not appear until the end The trailer builds to a climax, where it ends

Film Poster

Interview with Lee Jury – Buena Vista International

- Poster aims to stand out in crowded market place, instantly memorable as people only spend 5 seconds looking at a poster, has to grab attention

- Static image should encapsulate storyline and genre, should sum up the film in 1 shot. Give USP e.g. star actor/director

- Goal = simple name & displays genre. Vital to appeal to broad market. Poster aim is to represent rags to riches story. 10 -12 day process two fine tune and make perfect

- Tried an iconic look, focusing ion colour, but didn’t establish storyline. Didn’t focus on him as actor as he is unknown, USP is the storyline. Effective is the picture on the beach, as not one dimensional, more than just football. When got correct picture focus on colour & composition. I conic image is vital and has to be flexible in design and enrapture theme

- Important to have campaign strategy to promote the film so general public are exposed to it and get people in the cinema. Primary colour = iconic look

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- Film web sites can be official or unofficial. An official web site is set up by the distributors of the film as part of the marketing campaign.

- An unofficial web site is set up by fans wanting to express their own opinions and exchange information with other interested parties. An official web site will be designed to complement the ‘look’ of a marketing campaign, with the same graphics and images used as in the poster and trailer. However, the interactive nature of the Internet means a web site can involve an audience in the actual process of raising awareness to a far greater extent than was previously possible

- The inclusion of a web site in a marketing campaign has meant far greater accessibility to material about the film for an interested audience in two ways:

- Most web sites are created to coincide with the release of a film in the United States. This is generally in advance of the release date in the UK and other territories - information is thus available at a much earlier stage than was previously possible (before the poster and trailer campaigns start to raise awareness over here).

- Production information about cast, crew, stills from the film and even moving image clips are available for all to see. This information would previously only have been available to the press.

Analysis of District 9 Website

- In-depth website, as it uses a wide range of images and features such as a map for entering forums or authentic looking news reports from ‘District 9’.

- The website is completely authentic as it has a range of features which are unusual and serve as a unique selling point, for example pressing a button for ‘human or non-human’

- This reflects the genre of sci-fi as it seems highly technological, and the visual style is complex and literally alien to us, as it reflects another society, as it has a recruitment site for aliens.

- The website includes a range of design features such as downloadable videos, news reports, and games this attracts the audience as it contains a range user friendly content, so the viewer feels accustomed to the film and interacts, this creates a strong brand identity and reputation.

Page 7: Research on film trailers, posters and web sites