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A Study Into Film Trailers - Media Studies


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A in depth study into film trailers including the conventions, structure, and difference between the US and UK film industry.

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A Study Into Film Trailers - Media Studies

  1. 1. A trailer is a form of marketing that condenses the film into its most entertaining and enjoyable moments. Trailers can be exhibited in cinemas, on television, and online, making them accessible to more people. DVD’s often have film trailers included on their special features. an example of a modern blockbuster trailer. Following the guidelines of a standard film trailer, a trailer lasts for no more than two minutes and thirty seconds in length.
  2. 2. A trailer is used to advertise a film, portraying it as a high-quality film that will be enjoyed by many. Trailers are supposed to persuade a specific target audience to watch the film – and spend money to do so - upon its release so that the money spent on the film can be made back (with profit). Clips from the film are shown, or special footage is shot, so a viewer can find out what the film is about without too much being given away.
  3. 3. The best bits of the films are often used – as long as they don’t give too much away to the audience. As the purpose is to attract people to watch the full film, some mystery is often employed as a technique. Sometimes specially shot footage will be used instead, though not often – to make the film appear even more appealing. It could be argued that this is not a fair way of advertising the film.
  4. 4. There are three main components to most film trailers. The first sets the tone of the film, showing clips that build a clear view of the story in the audiences mind. The second part of the trailer shows the most dramatic and significant moments of the film to attempt to attract the audience. Finally, the film often brings in a piece of the films soundtrack that is the most recognisable and/or fitting while showing off the cast members that could bring in audience members.
  5. 5. One convention of film trailers is a voice-over. Sometimes the voice-over may be recorded especially for the trailer, but most often the voice-over is a sound layer of dialogue and voice-over from the film content. It is a very useful format of trailers that can give insight into the character of the film, and the film content. Voice-overs can work well to attract an audience to the film and to clearly convey the genre and narrative of the film. Rating cards are a convention of film trailers made in the US. The rating card shows how the film fits in with the Moving Picture Association of America’s standards, telling an audience the suitability of the trailer for certain ages and people. Green rating cards are shown to appropriate audiences in theatres fitting to the standard of the film they are seeing in the film theatre. They used to be appropriate for all ages until 2009. However, red rating cards are used to show that the audience of the trailer is restricted to a more mature audience. These trailers are not appropriate for young audiences due to profanity, nudity, violence or any other inappropriate content within the trailer.
  6. 6. The Motion Picture Association of America is a trade association that represents six US major motion picture studios, serving as the supporter of the American film, home video, and television industries. The six members of the Motion Picture Association of America are; • Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc • Universal City Studios LLC • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation • Paramount Pictures Corporation • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  7. 7. British films have their own rating system and organisation responsible for this system- the BBFC. The British Board of Film Classification are nongovernmental, funded by the film industry and accountable for the censorship and rating of films. The current rating categories of British film are: U (universal), PG (parental guidance), 12A (under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult), 12, 15, 18 and R18 (can only be shown in specialist cinemas and sold in specialist shops). an example of a rating card in Britain (12A)
  8. 8. Production logos, sometimes called vanity cards, are made by different motion picture studios and production companies to brand a film trailer and show it as their product. This is a feature of a trailer as it can help in promoting the film as some studios may be famously affiliated with films that appeal to their audience. There are some particularly famous production logos such as Universal Studios Inc. and Walt Disney Pictures. When featuring in film trailers the production logos often use motion and sound to add to the trailer’s appearance and effect.