I’ve worked in both the movie and game trailer industries. There are similarities between the two, but there are many ways they are fundamentally different beasts. Whether you’re looking to enter a career in either or just curious, this will answer your questions!Read More
BattleBlock Theater is a game whose trailer campaign I saw from both the outside and inside. What is to be done when development is so long and protracted?Read More
Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s trailer campaign has more trailers in it than just about any video game I can think of. How the heck do you sustain such a relentless campaign, and how successful was it?Read More
Hotline Miami’s trailers were released at a different time in the indie video game industry, but there are still lessons that can be taken from its eclectic approach to game trailers.Read More
I worked on most of the trailers for Firewatch. I discuss the progression of this trailer campaign, and what made it a little unconventionalRead More
How is the audience’s interest affected based on the content you choose to put into a trailer, and how frequently you release trailers? This is the first of a 5 part series exploring that question via a handful of trailer campaigns that took different approaches. Here I analyze the trailer releases for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Infinity War.Read More
The trailer for the game Ape Out is not only a great trailer, but it’s also a PLAYABLE one. This is why I find everything about its construction brilliant, and instructive for game trailers.Read More
The trailer for Bringing out the Dead is one of my favorite trailers with wonderful use of music licensed for the film that makes it a wonderful abbreviation of the full film.Read More
I watch a lot of game trailers, but I don’t finish watching them all, because there are a handful of red flags that tell me the trailer doesn’t have planning, editing or execution. Here are those red flags.Read More
I didn’t like Red Dead Redemption 2’s third trailer. In this post I explain what bothered me so much via an explanation of the “paper edit” phase of making a trailer.Read More
Part 2 of my post on rewatching trailers after seeing the finished film. Here I analyze Black Panther’s full trailer, and how it so expertly makes us think we’re seeing a lot, but still showing very little.Read More
It’s almost a ritual for me to rewatch a film’s trailers after I see the finished version. This is part 1 of what I look for in a trailer to do my best to reverse engineer the thought process of the trailer’s producers via the trailers for Black Panther.Read More
Trailers are frequently described as being better than their films, but what does it look like when a reasonably high budget film gets a low budget trailer?Read More
The primary goal of this trailer was to showcase the new dance battle system. Previously, Ooblets had a Pokemon style of combat where the Ooblets are pit against each other in battles where they hit and scratch each other. Becky and Ben realized this didn't fit tone of Ooblets, so dance battles were the answer!
Their idea was to open the trailer with a "duel" between Ooblets that turns out to be a dance battle. Beyond that, they wanted to show some farming, and the variety of new features in the game like: furniture, plant life, cakes, and machines.
I spent a lot of time worrying about the look and feel of this trailer, because I didn't want the trailer to feel like a rehash of the previous ones. I think if a trailer released a year after the previous one doesn't look significantly different, you can't help but wonder: "Is there nothing new to show of this game?" At the same time, the core features of the game have to be included to accommodate people unfamiliar with Ooblets.
This is why I like trailers to feel very different or tackle separate features. I think as a trailer campaign progresses either the scope has to expand, or it has to go in deep on something very specific. Fortunately, there was a LOT of new stuff going on in Ooblets.
I wanted to make the game look much bigger than before. I researched Ooblets forum and YouTube comments to see if there was anything people were looking forward to which I didn't cover in the first trailers. The Animal Crossing style NPC interaction is what I chose to highlight.
In the previous trailers, there were a lot of shots of the player running around, but they didn't feel connected to the world. To make the world of Oob feel like an inviting place, I thought it would be cool for NPCs to wave at the player when they run by. This is one of many features Becky implemented into the build I used to capture from.
The other stylistic choice I made were the series of what I deemed "Wes Anderson montages" where I center framed quick montages of plants, machines and cakes. A handy debug tool Becky added was the ability to copy the camera's current position to the computer's clipboard, then paste it back if I needed to restore its position either to its global position or one relative to the player. Without that function it'd be virtually impossible to get the camera back to the precise position necessary. (I've since added this option to my debug tools post)
I've watched enough duels in Ennio Morricone films to have a general sense of how to film the Ooblets dance off, but I watched a few clips to refresh my memory. Becky made a special build that allowed me to use the freecam in a dance battle an some hotkeys to trigger the boomboxes, dance lights and Ooblets rushing in to watch. She also gave me hotkeys to control the Ooblets' idle states. In my early rough cut I used another function she added to freeze time and move the camera around.
Petting Ooblets is a feature a lot of people (myself included) wanted to know about, so of course I had to include it! Becky put in some custom animations for the Ooblets, but I only had time to feature a couple.
A very handy tool I had was the ability to automatically till the soil in the farm. I had options to till it all, or in rows or columns. Then I could press a button to grow a bunch of random crops. That saved me a TON of time.
In my outline cut I used this clip from the anime "Dai Mahou Touge" (aka Magical Witch Punie-chan). I only used it as a placeholder to indicate I was going to show Ooblets sprouting out, but Becky made me an amazing tool to grow a bunch of random Ooblets and then press a button to make them hatch all at the same time. I expanded that section because it looked so good!
The furniture section was inspired by some screenshots posted on the Ooblets devlog. Becky rigged up a bunch of themed furniture sets that I could swap out by clicking on some buttons. I originally tried capturing them separate and hoping they cut together, but the axes wobbled a bit, so they never came out perfect. I realized the backdrop was perfectly even, so instead I slowly rotated the platform and clicked between the sets live, match up the cuts to the music, and later erase the visible buttons and cursor by covering it with a purple matte.
Becky also wanted to show some of the interiors. I only put a fraction of what was in the build, but she built them up with NPCs so they'd look lively as I walked through them. The Dance Barn was another new place in the game. I used it to show a mix of more dance battling and just NPCs dancing together.
The final shots and also the balloon shot from earlier in the trailer are there to show how big the game is. I really wanted to have more wide shots in this trailer, and the new environments made it very easy to do. The very last shot has the camera offset a little bit so that by the time the camera is very wide, buildings fill the entire screen.
That's it! Becky and Ben loved it, and I got a lot of positive feedback from Double Fine after sending the cut in, and it received a fantastic response when it was released at E3!
Simogo Games make some of the most impressive game trailers that I’ve ever seen, and they do it all by themselves! It’s not often that I look for inspiration to trailers made in-house by indie game developers, but I consistently find myself doing that with Simogo.Read More
The trailer for The Coen Bros’ film “No Country For Old Men” is as menacing, restrained, and intense as the film. How does it achieve this mood?Read More
A recent trend in trailer editing is sound effects being used as the “score” of the trailer or drawing even more attention than traditional trailer sound design. Why might an editor want to use this approach for their trailer?Read More
The match cut is one of the most fundamental editing techniques. This is how trailer editors especially can use them to draw the audience into a story and hold onto their attention.Read More
Here’s my list of the best debug tools that helped me get great capture for the trailers I’ve worked on. These will save you a massive amount of time, and give you the creative freedom for great shots!Read More
The trailer for the Coen Bros. film “The Man Who Wasn’t there does a great job of intriguing without saying much of anything about the film or the plot; here’s my review!Read More