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The Cutdown - Episodes 1, 2, 3 discussion!

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The Cutdown 1, 2, and 3:

The Cutdown 1


Episode 1: Welcome to The Cutdown
It's the first episode of The Cutdown, a podcast all about the art of trailer editing! We talk about why we started the show, our plans for future episodes, the history of our interest in trailers, how we became trailer editors, why we love doing it, and some of our favorites. Whether you want to learn about the industry, you're an amateur or professional editor, or you just like watching them, we hope you enjoy learning all about the art of making movie and game trailers!
Trailers Discussed: Bee Movie, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Comedian, The Birds, The Caveman's Valentine, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

Episode 2: Spoilers
Why do trailer editors "spoil the movies"? In this episode we talk about the difficult balance of teasing in trailers, when to hold back and when to show more - and the importance of storytelling.
Trailers Discussed: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Terminator Genisys, Castaway, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Dead Cells, Get Out, Black Panther, Hereditary, Unbroken, Red Eye, Welcome to Marwen, The Avengers: Infinity War.


Episode 3: Trailer Trends
In this episode we discuss trailer trends, and how the trailer industry keeps evolving. From the move to playing out scenes longer to - yes - the Inception Braaaam, we've got you covered. We also dive into the creation of the trailers for It: Chapter 2 and everyone's favorite anthropomorphic hedgehog, Sonic.
Trailers Discussed: It Chapter 2, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sonic The Hedgehog, Detective Pikachu Full Movie Clip, Gemini Man, Sleepless trailer, Kong Skull Island, Good Omens. Kingsmen The Golden Circle, The Social Network, Maleficent, Fade to Silence, The Innocents, Godzilla King of Monsters, Inception, The Island, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, Joy.

 

If you have questions or comments please send them to cutdown@idlethumbs.net.

 

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Hi everyone! 

 

We covered a lot in these first three episodes, but I'd love to hear about some of your favorite movie or game trailers, and what makes them your favorite.

 

Another favorite of mine is the trailer for the film Ultraviolet (which I've still never watched). It falls into the camp of trailers-where-Milla-Jovovich-introduces-herself-in-voiceover. I think it has great ramping up and down of fast and slow motions, good hits in sync with the music, and a wide variety of colors and compositions. I also love the final music cue. It received abysmal reviews, so maybe it's one of those situations where the material made a better trailer than a movie.

 

 

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This is a great idea for a 'cast, I look forward to working my way through these! Hopefully I can steal some talking points for when I'm whinging online about the latest show-everything trailer, too.

 

That Ultraviolet trailer is great, in a kind of music video way - I'm not sure I could handle a whole movie at that visual intensity..! The things I thought brought it down a bit were the introduction of Voiceover Guy partway through and that thudding conversation with the British guy.

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Enjoying the pod so far! Looking forward to episode 3 :)

 

That Ultraviolet trailer is something. I too have never seen the film, but am now tempted to check it out to see what it is actually like. The music feels like the movie should have come out in 1999 instead of 2006, though? The visuals kind of remind me of the Wachowski's Speed Racer, especially the bright colors and the shot of the motorcycle ride at around the 50s mark.

 

Also, @Ben X if you search youtube for "jem 24 ultraviolet" you will not be(?) disappointed in the surprising array of fan cut music videos. This feels of a certain era of the internet.

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Only listenened to ep 3 yet, but I like this!

 

Fave recent trailer trend: letting one scene play out for most of it. IT 2, like you mentioned, but also Frozen 2 did this. In both cases I really like the part where it's just the one scene, and then kinda loose interest once it gets more generic trailery after that.

Worst recent trailer trend: the 5 second mini-trailer for the trailer at the start of the trailer in every recent trailer. I get why it's there, with youtube letting you skip after 5 seconds and all, but I still don't like it.

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Yes Frozen worked really well. Someone pointed out how close it was to the Episode 9 teaser. 

 

Re trailer bumpers it seems they’re a necessary evil although no one likes them. I like when we get the opportunity to do something interesting with them. Second trailer for once upon a time in Hollywood being a great example of that. 

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Trailers aggravate my constantly, so I'm genuinely curious to hear why they are the way they are. Can't wait to listen.

 

The only thing that sticks in my mind as a trailer is that one Dragon Age: Origins cinematic trailer, though I'm not sure 4 minutes of no actual gameplay counts as a trailer for a video game?

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4 hours ago, Kyir said:

Trailers aggravate my constantly, so I'm genuinely curious to hear why they are the way they are. Can't wait to listen.

 

The only thing that sticks in my mind as a trailer is that one Dragon Age: Origins cinematic trailer, though I'm not sure 4 minutes of no actual gameplay counts as a trailer for a video game?

 

What is it that aggravates you about them?

 

Broadly, the answer to why they are the way they are is usually: "Because it works" (especially with movie trailers).

 

That said, I think game trailers are still fertile ground for experimentation because they're such a different beast compared to movie trailers.

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On the topic of game trailers and experimentation, here's a blog post from Dan about why he decided to go for an all-gameplay announcement trailer on our upcoming game.

 

And here's a recent video (which quotes Derek) on how to make indie game trailers:

 

 

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One of my all time favourite trailers was the teaser trailer for Aliens, it actually scared me more than the actual film, the soundtrack was particularly haunting.

 

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Something that really interested me about trailers recently was the Avengers Endgame trailer (the main one???)

 

They've edited things out of the trailer footage for these Marvel movies before, but in Endgame they edited out like 3 main characters and promoted a completely different tone for the movie. The movie is a silly romp and a big fight scene! It's only 20% dire remorse! I would almost consider it a fake-out.

Of course you can only get away with that when you've already got a guaranteed audience.

 

Game trailers are interesting because you need to code in-game tools to make your camera fly around. You need to record and play back player input for a good performance, and code a UI-free version of the game specifically for trailers. I can't show an Xbox A button in a trailer I'm going to upload to the PlayStation store, that's against the rules!

 

Just take a look at this Astroneer trailer and consider all the unique shit they coded as trailer performance tools:

 

You have to communicate what the gameplay experience is step-by-step a lot of the time, and that can be a tricky task too.

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15 hours ago, Derek said:

 

What is it that aggravates you about them?

 

Broadly, the answer to why they are the way they are is usually: "Because it works" (especially with movie trailers).

 

That said, I think game trailers are still fertile ground for experimentation because they're such a different beast compared to movie trailers.

 

I just don't watch enough movies for them to actually inform my consumption, so I'm usually in the position where they're the thing that's taking up time before the movie I actually came to see. 

 

I did enjoy the first episode of the podcast though! Will definitely listen to more.

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Haha @Kyir I hadn't even considered people might be irritated by trailers for taking up time, but that's partially because my preferred theater is The Arclight which has a strict 3-trailer policy. I always get thrown when I go to another theater and end up watching what feels like 30 minutes of trailers. Maybe listening to us talk about how they're made will make them more interesting to watch from an intellectual standpoint :P

 

 

Thanks for linking that blog post @Ben X I actually saw that, and even though I loved The Swindle, I saw the long gameplay clip and decided not to watch it (I watched it this time though). There are definitely a LOT of indie game trailers which follow that format Dan mentioned, I hope that GMTK video will cut down on those at least a little bit. I think gameplay clips can work great for mechanically rich and/or a section of gameplay which is particularly dense. Dan mentioned a higher retention rate for that clip, I'd be curious to know just how high it was. Based on the comments it looks like it's mostly Size Five games fans, which would make sense.

 

We'll definitely talk about Endgame's trailers in the future. I think they hit the somber note because they did their best to avoid spoilers, so they wanted to match the tone of the end of Infinity War to not tip their hand in any particular direction.

 

Teaser trailers are definitely some of my favorites because they use the most potent imagery in a film or use special shoots to make stuff just for the teaser. One of my all time favorites is the teaser for Terminator 2 with the Terminator factory. 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Ric Thomas said:

Further to our discussions on Sonic, someone has a lot of time on their hands...

 

The model definitely looks better immediately, and the compositing is impressive. Shame they didn't properly animate the face, though - it feels very rigid.

 

I just listened to the second episode - all great stuff!

 

Regarding spoilers in general, just a quick note as someone who is rather spoiler-averse - it's a common argument that if a whole film can be ruined by a spoiler then the film can't be that good.  But this is, I think, a strawman. The Averse don't think a spoiler will ruin the entire film, just the moment it refers to. That still sucks - I want that moment to be conveyed to me by the film, not someone on Facebook. Even films with bigger twists that flip your understanding of the entire thing - Planet Of The Apes, Fight Club, Sixth Sense - aren't wholly ruined if that twist is spoiled, but they're designed to be watched without that knowledge. It's inconsiderate to take that experience away from people. I knew the POTA twist and loved the film anyway, but I also loved watching those other two movies not knowing the twist (or even that there was one). I'd rather have the filmmakers decide what I should know going in, not people on social media or in my office (or indeed the people in charge of which trailer edit to put out!).

 

Regarding trailers specifically, I find the 'you showed the entire movie!' issue more prevalent than the 'you spoiled this twist or plot development!' one. It's interesting to hear that it comes from focus groups - I can't help but think that they may not be formatted in a helpful way. If you asked me after I saw the Hobbs & Shaw trailer "does that movie look fun"? I'd say yes. If you asked me "does that trailer make you want to watch that movie?" I'd say no, because I feel like it showed every single cool moment from the film - I doubt there's much left there to surprise me. I often close my eyes partway through a trailer because it's sold me on the movie 30-60 seconds in and I don't want to see any more stuff. It's probably impractical, but if the focus groups could get that granular perhaps it would lead to different decisions.


The multiple trailer versions thing is definitely an issue too. I try to avoid subsequent trailers if one version has sold me on a movie already. In the case of Detective Pikachu, the one I saw on the internet was perfect - gave me a tiny amount of story set-up, some humour and atmosphere. Unfortunately, I then went to the cinema and saw a second trailer for it which gave me loads more story, more locations, creatures etc. It even gave me a different version of the mime scene, so I likely had that entire scene composited in my head by that point. It made me feel less enthusiastic about seeing it at the cinema, and more likely to wait for it to arrive on a streaming service.

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I have watched the Hobbs & Shaw trailer, and if there is one thing that Fast & Furious trailers have taught me is that it is impossible to put every dumb/brilliant thing that those films have into one trailer.

 

Also, my favourite spoiler/not spoiler is in Reign of Fire:

 

 

2.22 minutes in you see a bare-chested Kratos/Matthew lunging at the screen with a battle axe. Anyone who has seen the film will laugh knowing what the context of that scene is about. Because in the trailer this has been recontextualised as 'badass'

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Sorry for the double post, but surely the 'parsed down cover' started with Donnie Darko and Gears of War using it?

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On 6/3/2019 at 6:03 AM, twmac said:

Sorry for the double post, but surely the 'parsed down cover' started with Donnie Darko and Gears of War using it?

 

Oh, good call! I didn't realize the Gears of War trailer preceded The Social Network (and I'm not familiar with the Donnie Darko trailer). I think because Mark Woollen (the trailer maker behind The Social Network) is so well known as a pioneer of trailer editing style, that I tend to attribute things to his company. I also haven't watched the Mad World trailer much, so it doesn't occupy much space in my head :P

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Yeah, I am not sure whether Donnie Darko used the music in its trailer now that I think about it. But Gears jumped on that music for its trailer and used the Face/Off juxtaposition of slow music with ultra violence happening, muted.

 

That trailer was such a strange thing because I sort of loved it, but felt it was completely misrepresenting Gears of War

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If you're talking about Mad World (the song in the Gears of War trailer) then just remember that they used the original song in that trailer. Not a downer cover.

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Sorry, nope. You actually made me doubt myself for a bit, and then I remembered that the original causes a very visceral reaction to it and that there is no way I can mistake the two.

 

 

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I remember Gears used the sad music rather than the original song because of this Bad Company parody trailer:

 

 

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On 5/30/2019 at 12:50 PM, Ben X said:

If you asked me after I saw the Hobbs & Shaw trailer "does that movie look fun"? I'd say yes. If you asked me "does that trailer make you want to watch that movie?" I'd say no, because I feel like it showed every single cool moment from the film - I doubt there's much left there to surprise me.


The multiple trailer versions thing is definitely an issue too. I try to avoid subsequent trailers if one version has sold me on a movie already. In the case of Detective Pikachu, the one I saw on the internet was perfect - gave me a tiny amount of story set-up, some humour and atmosphere. Unfortunately, I then went to the cinema and saw a second trailer for it which gave me loads more story, more locations, creatures etc. It even gave me a different version of the mime scene, so I likely had that entire scene composited in my head by that point. It made me feel less enthusiastic about seeing it at the cinema, and more likely to wait for it to arrive on a streaming service.

 

On 5/31/2019 at 9:37 AM, twmac said:

I have watched the Hobbs & Shaw trailer, and if there is one thing that Fast & Furious trailers have taught me is that it is impossible to put every dumb/brilliant thing that those films have into one trailer.

 

Well, I just got a different Hobbs & Shaw theatrical trailer made up of completely different scenes, so I guess the lesson here is to avoid either all internet trailers or all theatrical trailers!

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I won't be watching another trailer - someone told me that Hobbs and Shaw gets really, really weird.

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