Tips For Editing Better Trailers

Post Production October 23, 2019 4 min read

Trailers have always been an important part of film promotion, but when the era of internet video swept in, trailers became their medium. We now live in a world where a 1 to 2-minute video is exactly what people like to consume, and because of this trailers are created for everything from films to products to events.

This is great if you have something you want to promote, but it’s important to remember that just because you make a trailer, doesn’t mean it will be something people want to watch. It also doesn’t mean it will help you promote your product. A poorly thought out and poorly made trailer may actually hurt your product. Here are some tips for creating better trailers that will help you promote your product the right way.

Tell A Story

If you are making a film trailer, this is common sense. You don’t necessarily want to give everything away, but you want to tell a story that your viewer can get behind. Don’t just edit together the flashiest shots with no thread between them and no hint at what the plot is. Hook the viewer with some important background story that will make them want more.

The same goes for a product trailer. If you have a great product that you want to hype, don’t just show random product images and boring text. Show them how your product will change their life, how it will make things easier or better for them. Explain the problem and then let them know that your product is the solution. Use these emotional hooks to get them interested in your product through story.

Set The Pace

In many scenarios, fast pacing is the way to go with a trailer. There isn’t a lot of time, but there is a lot of information to convey, so keeping things moving will help you along.

However, a trailer for a drama or a nostalgic style film might need to be a little slower. Just make sure that you set a pace that works for your product. If you want hype, keep the tempo up.

You can also introduce a change of pace to drive home your key points. For instance, if you are creating a product video and you want to start by outlining competitors’ products, you could start at a slower pace, and then speed up your edits when you reveal your product to add intensity.

Choose Your Words

In many cases, especially with product or event trailers, it’s a great idea to use text on screen. There are a number of reasons for this. A viewer may not have the sound up on their device, or you may not have voiceover.

But choose your words wisely. Think of the most important information, and distill it down to the least amount of words you can. If you were creating a trailer for a new car reveal, splashing “0 To 60 In 4 Seconds” is more exciting and easier to understand than “This car has faster acceleration than any other car in its class.” You get the idea.

You also want to make your words pop. Avoid generic text on the screen that isn’t animated and is hard to read. A simple solution can be
After Effects templates built around type that can easily be updated to fit your trailer. Here are a few examples.

Get Graphic

In some instances, graphics may not help a trailer out. For example, graphics might feel out of place in a film trailer for a Victorian-era period piece. But in a lot of circumstances, graphics can help keep an edit moving and create a common visual thread throughout.

This is especially the case with product and event trailers that may not have a lot of footage to work with. In these situations, a fully graphic trailer could be the perfect solution. Just make sure to create one that fits the style and dynamic of what you are promoting.

A graphic After Effects template like this one might be perfect for a technology product or for adding graphics to a sci-fi trailer.

Whereas, a package like this one would make for a great suspense or thriller trailer. Or for a more urban style of product.

Music Matters

We say over and over again that music plays a key role in visuals. While it is possible that your viewer may not have sound, make sure to put time into
finding music that works with your trailer.

Music is the best way to set the emotional tone of your trailer and help the viewer understand how they should feel.

Tense string arrangements will put them on edge, which is great for a film thriller but not suited for an educational product. Light-hearted ukulele will make a product feel approachable and comfortable, but it won’t be good for suspense.

Find music that fits your product and then edit your trailer around the music. Cutting to music will help you with your pacing and rhythm for the trailer. It will also make it more natural for the viewer as they will have the same internal rhythm.

Remember to keep it interesting and keep it short. Trailers should leave a viewer wanting more, not wishing it were over. Set a pace that is appropriate for your product and use music to enhance that. And when it makes sense to do so, add professional-looking graphics and animated text to elevate your trailer to the next level.