Here are all the trailer resources that I use regularly as a fan, and as an editor!
Movie trailer history
You might already be familiar with the reason they're called "trailers", but these links provide a more thorough history of the movie trailer from their inception to present day.
- Filmmaker IQ's History of Movie Trailers - A nice video overview of movie trailers
- An epic history of the movie trailer - A more in-depth article on the history of movie trailers
- Becoming Attractions: a brief history of film trailers - Another article with some other tidbits about movie trailer history
Where to watch movie trailers
The most well known places are of course YouTube, and Apple's trailer site, but here are some alternatives if you want high quality downloads and/or surround sound versions.
Surround sound versions are especially useful if you want to edit mashups or videos, because as explained in my tutorial you can isolate the center channel, and hear versions of trailers like the one that got accidentally released for the Tom Cruise reboot of The Mummy.
- HD-trailers.net - Regularly updated, with pages dedicated to each film with all trailers in the campaign.
- The Digital Theater - Rotating selection of trailers with high quality MP4 and MKV files with AC3 or uncompressed audio. Many, but not all have true discrete 5.1 channels with isolated dialogue in the center channel.
- Demo World - Surround sound encodes of trailers from demo discs.
- Movie-list.com - Encodes classic trailers, and has an active forum with trailer news and high quality encodes.
- Game Trailers YouTube - Latest video game trailers
- @Microtrailers - A bot that takes 6 random seconds from the new releases on Steam. More of a fascinating look into how quickly you can decide you find something appealing or not.
Who makes movie trailers
There are DOZENS of trailer houses that work on everything from small indie films to the biggest Summer blockbusters.
You can find the names of just about all of them in the Golden Trailer Awards' directory page! Most of them have Twitter accounts with relatively few followers, so give them some love.
Also, follow @Trailerbeat; whenever a new trailer comes out, they do their best to find which house cut it.
Unfortunately there's no Trailerbeat equivalent for game trailers, but you can find out names of various agencies via the Game Marketing Awards nominees.
Trailer sound effects
Trailers use a very specific type of sound design, and few people even know what those sound effects are even called. Descriptors for trailer sound effects generally include: hits, whooshes, rises, and drones (and variations on each).
NOTE: When you find a sound effects library, check their licensing information, because several trailer sound effects libraries license on a per use basis, and are not free to use willy nilly.
I'm always on the lookout for more royalty free SFX libraries, so if you find any new ones, please send them along! I'm mostly on the hunt for libraries that sound less specific, by which I mean they're sounds that could be used in multiple genres instead of just sounding like they belong in a Transformers trailer.
Here are the libraries I currently use for my trailers (royalty free). They range in price from free to a few hundred dollars each, but don't assume that the cheaper ones are low in quality!
- Adobe Audition library - Adobe has an amazing FREE sound effects library that includes everything from ambience, cars, weapons, water, impacts etc. Did I mention it's FREE!?
- Big Fish Audio Blockbuster Trailer - A great start to your trailer sound effects library, and very affordable!
- Big Fish Audio Cinematic Sound Design - Another good starter library
- Boom Library - Has a vast selection of sound effects libraries that include a handful specifically for trailer sound design.
- Video Copilot MotionPulse - This library has a lot of action movie sound effects, and also some for trailers.
- Hollywood Edge Sound Designer's Toolkit 1, 2, 3 - Sound Ideas is a pillar of royalty free sound effects in the industry. Since it's such an institution, a lot of their sounds might sound dated, but it's still a very versatile library.
Phew! That should be plenty to get you started.
One final thing is this parody of blockbuster trailers that is so good that I wish I made it. Whenever possible I try to remind people that high quality audio is vastly more important than the video, and this video perfectly sums up why.