Dissecting a Trailer

In 2013  The New York Times geared up for the annual Oscar ceremony by publishing a fascinating and informative interactive graphic. They examined the trailers of five of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture. They put each and every shot in every trailer on a timeline, and correlated the moment each shot appears in the trailer to where it is in the actual movie.


The results are revealing and can teach us a lot about, for instance, the difference in approach between trailers en teasers. Some film trailers slavishly followed the chronology of the movie, basically laying out the whole storyline. Other trailers (more in the vein of teasers, actually) roamed freely through the chronology of the movie, cherry picking shots from all over the movie and jumbling them up – not stressing story progression but instead focussing on character and atmosphere.