The power of cutting, transitions, sound design and music cues in creating – and completely transforming – our understanding of film.
Editing theory, specifically The Kuleshov Effect, posits that combining images creates meaning which may not exist within the images individually. Suggestion, persuasion, even propaganda, are built on this principle. Here are some examples of completely different moods, tones, and ultimately messages, are created with different edits of movie trailers.
… is transformed, through clever cutting, transitions, voiceover and manipulative music cues, to create a three-act arc, and suggest a character-driven dramedy:
… reimagined as horror / thriller – interestingly, however, without changing any actual story beats, but simply by showing them in a different light – with transitions such as inverting, fading-to-white, and ominous audio stings:
The Silence of the Lambs
… but by matching shots with reverse shots from unrelated scenes, on-the-nose title cards, upbeat music and, once again, voiceover narration, CineFix‘s “Trailer Mix” presents the story (albeit slightly less convincingly than the previous examples) as a romantic comedy:
… is reimagined – via the film’s official Twitter, no less – as a romance:
Let’s contrast the theatrical trailer for Christopher Nolan’s film…
not with a fan edit or parody, but with actual TV promo spots:
Jessica Fox talks through editing conventions used in commercial movie trailers (via Vanity Fair):
Now You Try It
Film Riot demonstrates in Premiere Pro how to think about and apply music to your video editing, and how dramatically it can affect the experience for your audience:
Featured image credit: via WallpaperCave