There are many codes and conventions of trailers,
although all trailers are different, they stick to a
general list of rules because they have been tried and
tested and equal a successful trailer if followed.
However over the years trailers have changed and
evolved, as have their films and audiences.
Film production logos
Usually within the first part of the
trailer, the film production logo will be
shown. The production company's
reputation can benefit the film trailer,
for example if people have seen and
enjoyed another FilmFour film, then
they may see the logo on a new trailer
and decide to watch it because they
enjoyed the last film they created.
● It also creates an idea of the type of
film the trailer is trying to sell. For
example people will see a
DreamWorks logo and know that it
will have a big budget, and they have a
reputation of making family friendly
The film title is in every trailer, so you know which film it is you
want to watch and it is generally at the end of the trailer, so that
you see if after you are already interested in the film and you are
more likely to remember it. The font, colouring and back drop
are also usually a good clue as to the genre of the film. For
example Kick Ass and We're The Millers look more comedic
and light hearted because of their bright colours and friendly
font, whereas The Conjuring is evidently a horror, shown by its
dark back ground and ominous white font.
BBFC Age Certification
Any film released in the UK is awarded an age certification by the
British Board of Film Classification, and the age is shown towards the
end of a film trailer. This provides a guideline for the target audience
age, for example if the film is awarded a U certificate, its a family
friendly film, and therefore you will get many children going to watch
it. It also means that people younger than the age certificate won't be
lead onto think they can go watch the film in the cinema. Film
certification is also very important because it can hint at the content of
the film. If a film has a 15 certificate, the audience can guess that
there may be moderate to higher levels of violence, sexual scenes and
bad language, so if the audience member doesn't enjoy that type of
film, they won't go to watch it, and vice versa they might enjoy that
type of film.
A new convention of film trailers is to add website URLs, twitter
'hashtags' or accounts to follow, or instructions to 'like' their
Facebook page. This encourages the audience to find out more
about the film and also if many people are talking about the film
on social networking sites word-of-mouth can become an
effective advertising campaign. The popularity of Twitter means
that millions of people across the world can tweet about a new
film coming out, spreading the word and gaining the interest of
millions of other people.
● This is a screen shot from The Conjuring trailer beginning
showing the Twitter hashtag and a Facebook link, which stays
on the screen throughout the trailer.
An important feature of film trailers is character introductions,
whether they have big Hollywood actors or not. This is essential
because an audience get pleasure from films by connecting and
relating to the characters, by their individual similarities, for
example if there is a prominent young female character, people
from the target audience who are young and or female connect to
the character and are more likely to go watch the film.
Also if the film has famous actors and or actress', and the
audience have enjoyed some of their previous films, or are fans,
they might go watch the new film because they know that they
enjoy the actor's work. If the actors are famous then they will
often be accompanied by a caption with their name, so their
reputation benefits the film.
Music and Voice overs
Music is a key feature, and can make or break the film trailers.
They show the pace of film, genre and often the budget, for
example a film may ask an artist to specially make a soundtrack
for their film, the bigger the film budget, the bigger the artists on
the soundtrack. And people may think that a bigger budget
means a better film.
Voice overs are important to guide the audience through the film
plot and characters. A voice over can either be an external voice
which is added on top of the footage, or the voice over can be
sections of dialogue from the actual film.
In every trailer there will be name captions, these can be actor's
names, director's names or producer's names. This is important
because an audience can see a director or producer which they
are either fans of, or weren't. Directors like Quentin Tarantino
and Tim Burton have particular filming styles, and having their
name on the trailer allows the audience to decide if they like the
style of the new film, and whether they will watch it.
However often on a trailers, the captions can be deceiving, by
saying things like endorsed by QEUNTIN TARANTINO, and
people will see his name and flock to the cinema to see the new
Tarantino film, when in actual fact, he has just agreed to have his
name mentioned in the trailer because he enjoyed the film. This
technique is a clever way of attracting a large audience, when it
may not star big Hollywood names or have a famous director of
their own to brag about.
Usually a film will have more than one trailer made,
with different sections of the film edited together.
There is always an official full trailer which lasts
sometime between 1.30 -2 minutes, but often you
will find, especially in horror, action or thriller
films, they have shorter 10 second trailers which
help build hype and will just have a short clip which
may or may not have the film title shown.
This is essential for attracting a large audience to the
opening night of a film release. The release date is
shown on trailers a couple of weeks before the film
is released, giving time for a wide audience to have
seen it, but close enough to the date that people can
plan to see it soon, rather than forgetting about it by
the time the date comes around.
The release date is usually shown at the end of the
trailer, like the film title, so that the trailer grabs the
audience's attention then gives them the information
they need to go see it.