Thursday, 23 September 2010

B-Movie Trailer Research and Analysis...

These were the retro B-movie trailers i looked at when composing my notes for the structure and conventions found in these B-movie trailers around the 50s which was the main era for sci-fi/horror B-movies. These are some of the notes and commonalities i found from watching these trailers:

- Ident representing production company
- Voiceover (Narration)
- Overusing titles
- Showing the film name at least twice
- Fast cuts
- Cross Dissolves
- Cheesy effects and transitions (wipes etc) usually to show a change of scene or environment
- Titles have cheesy transitions too
- We usually see a main character/hero, army/military, civilians etc
- Lots of screaming
- Sound builds up with intensity and pace
- Questions used to build suspense
- You can either show the monster/alien or keep it a mystery to the viewer
- Famous names used ie directors, producers or actors
- Soundtrack used
- Black and White or Colour film
- Stylistic but retro fonts
- Strong use of light in sci-fi films
- Average secs per shot ranges roughly from 3 seconds to 6 seconds based on these trailers and the cutting speeds up as the trailer goes on

These were the notes i got from watching these trailers. Clearly some of the conventions are more important than others, but it's clear to see that there are certain rules we should stick to when creating a B-movie trailer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Everyone,

    What a great set of rules you given yourselves. It seems like a simple task but analysis of this kind can become incredibly useful.

    One thing i'd like to add is the disparity between 'Poster, Trailer, and Film'. You all know this to be ture - we've all watched films after seeing a trailer or looking at a poster and thought "That wasn't what I thought it was going to be". But in B or Z Movie terms this works doubly so.

    These movies were made cheap, quickly, and on the back of larger budget A-Movies so the aim was to get bums on seats and then move on to the next production.

    The 1950's was repressed time full of paranoia and fear (not too different from now). This was turned into marketing stratagies aimed at disguising the awfulness of the film - Overly sexual content on posters, a big emphasis on fear, screaming women etc. It didn't even have to be in the actual film to end up on a printed poster. Not so true today because you can get sued for misleading the public.

    Even A list movies were in on the act - Take the 'Forbidden Planet' poster. Robbie the Robot never carries a women in the film. It was just a way to get people in and paying.

    Make sure to beef it up - Mislead a little and exaggerate.