Want to make great trailers? Here's some helpful tips
a blog by Sanguine
Trailers. When you plan one, it seems okay. When you start one, you feel optimistic. Once you’ve done a bit, you might realise that you are a bit out of your depth and may start to tear your hair out in frustration. And yet, once you’ve managed to finish it, it’s one of the best feelings ever.
But some people don’t know how to make trailers, so they don’t get to feel that satisfaction. And that’s why this blog is here.
First thing’s first: You need to know the entire plot of the story before you can consider making a trailer for it.
Well a trailer is like a cover or a blurb for a story; it hints at part of it, but not all of it. And the part that it leaves out is left ambiguous – to draw the reader in. To achieve this effect properly, you really need to know how the story ends. Use clips that relate really well to perhaps first quarter of the plot, but make sure you don’t reveal all of it!
Secondly, like a story, you should show, not tell. Your viewers don’t want the story told completely through the video – there would be no point in reading the story then. Try to convey your ideas through imagery rather than titles (when there’s nothing but text on the screen) or voiceovers.
My third point is that editors do not matter. Someone can make just as effective a trailer on Movie Maker as another can on Premiere Pro. The content of the trailer is more important than pretty effects, so focus on that, not how much the editor can do.
This brings me to numéro quatre: don’t use a heap of effects. Don’t be the person on PowerPoint who animates every single slide to make it look like she did more work and use too many effects. Don’t dissolve every single jump cut, don’t make it sparkly, or have a lot of filters that make it purple – too many effects will overwhelm the viewers, and it’s a bit off-putting in a trailer. If it’s so confusing that people can’t follow along, then you’ve done it wrong. Sorry.
Finally, my last piece of advice is this: don’t shy away from criticism. Acknowledge it, look at it from an unbiased point of view, and ask someone else. Preferably not a friend, because they will probably tell you what you want to hear. I know that a lot of trailer makers think that people who don’t make trailers can’t give advice, but remember this: you don’t have to be a comedian to know something’s not funny. If someone thinks that something should be one way, try it – you never really know until you try. When someone thinks something’s difficult to read, step a few feet away from the screen and look again. Get a family member to look, maybe.
Please remember that these tips are just personal opinion, or observations made through making my own trailers. There are exceptions to every rule :-)
Do you have any trailer making tips?
Thank you Sanguine for writing this blog post & designing the banner.