Pro Tips for Making the Perfect Video Trailer

Making a video trailer is an art in itself. In long-form clips, you have the liberty to cut down a few scenes and shorten the movie, but things creating a two-minute trailer for an hour (or more) long clip requires true creative brilliance. Your trailer should be engaging, exciting, and prepare the audience for the longer version.

But how do you pick out the best scenes to put in a video trailer? How do you make a story, a rhythm without giving away the plot of the film? How do you choose the music that complements the vibe of the story?

In this article, we will cover all of the above-mentioned queries, and a lot more, to equip you with the necessary skills for creating a killer video trailer. So, let’s dive right into it.

10 tips from professionals on creating a captivating trailer

We have listed ten key tips and tricks that will help you in video trailer making will entice your audience for the long-form film.

Introduce Key Characters

Don’t just revolve around the main two or three characters of the story. You can also show glimpses of the supporting cast, especially if there is someone notable playing a role. However, these clips shouldn’t be more than three seconds.

Your video trailers should mainly focus on putting the main characters of the story into the limelight. You want your audience to know the type of role the protagonist will be playing.

In fact, a unique role by a notable person would only increase your potential box office sale as people would love to see artists play a character they have never seen him or her play (think Daniel Radcliff going rogue in Mission Impossible, or Fast and the Furious series).

Identify Your Audience

Every film has a mass audience and a core audience. Some people just to watch a movie just to have a fun time, while others particularly buy tickets to watch the film. Your trailers should cater to the latter part of the audience while giving something for the former type as well.

In simpler words, if you are making a movie on Wallstreet, throw in something that will connect with the generic audience as well – it could be a comedy scene that has nothing to do with the financial hub, or some action clips that don’t necessarily relate to the crux of the story.

Experts recommend showcasing multiple stories side by side. For example, your protagonist may be facing personal problems at home while dealing with his corporate struggles. You can show parts of his personal life that may relate to a broader audience in addition to the corporate story.

Undo the Movie

Creating a captivating movie trailer requires you to divide the happening parts of the move into short clips. This will help you watch scenes in isolation and redo them, only that this time, you will be connecting them for a smaller version of the movie.

You can do this by either taking clips from the raw footage (which you used to create the movie), or you may cut down the final version of your film into multiple clips and then take a few crucial seconds from several clips.  

Tell a Story

Think of a video trailer as a short film. It must contain a story without an ending. You may begin your trailer making with chronologically set thoughts and scenes. However, once you get the hang of it, you can choose scenes to create a new story without being dependent on the movie’s actual direction.

Some professional editors often take dialogues from one clip and play it over a different scene in the trailer. “There is a storm coming” is a dialogue in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This dialogue is played by the character Rubeus Hagrid halfway into the movie, but the trailer shows it in a different context.

Add an Interval

As we mentioned above, your video trailer is like a short film. Although you cannot show the ending of the actual movie, make sure to add a clip from the interval to create due hype. The entire purpose of the trailer is to build excitement among the audience – it is part of marketing . You need to drive action, which is only possible if you can develop that hype within your audience.

Experts suggest ending the trailer at a cliffhanger that entices people to go watch what happens in the movie as soon as it releases.

Don’t Oversell

The last thing you want is to overdo a video trailer to the extent that it ends up overselling the movie. This may help you in the short run as most people would be eager to watch the move, but this can have dire consequences on your potential career down the road – people will think twice before considering going to a movie you edited or directed based on their initial experience.

Of course, creating hype is critical in a trailer, but make sure you give some essence of the actual movie, so people don’t feel betrayed. The 2016 version of the movie ‘The Suicide Squad” is the perfect example here. Its video trailer was rated as one of the best, but the actual movie was a massive flop in the box office.

Use Music Wisely

Music plays a critical role in trailers as it sets the entire mood for the movie. For instance, a video trailer for a thriller would be slow and dark to match the plot and scenes, while a trailer for a comedy movie will contain more upbeat music.

Opting for the wrong music composition can make or break your trailer. If the cuts and clips are well-presented, but the music doesn’t match the story, your trailer will not get the praise it should.

Keep It Short

You want to give the audience a glimpse of the movie, not the movie itself. Although modern video trailers are around 120 seconds long, experts recommend capping at 90 seconds. Professional editors believe that ninety seconds is ample time to introduce characters, provide a glimpse of the story, and build curiosity within the audience.

In other words, although you have the liberty to go over two minutes, we recommend keeping your trailers under the 90-second mark.

Avoid Credits

Trailers are meant to be snappy, and 90 seconds are not enough to include catchy clips, a cliffhanger, and credits. Allocate that time to make your video trailer a scene longer to make it catchier. However, if you think you can tell a story and intrigue viewers within the time frame, you may add logos and credits.

The key here is to recall the ultimate purpose of trailers – to create a hype of the movie, so people are ready to watch it right when it gets released. Adding unnecessary details would take up your space which may create a hindrance in appealing to viewers.  

Make Quick Cuts

Again, you have about 90 seconds to entice users. Introducing characters, telling a story, creating the hype, and adding a cliffhanger is just isn’t possible if you drag a cut for more than a few seconds. The trick is to make quick cuts to each scene so you can insert as much content into your video trailer as required to create the due hype.

You may start with a slightly longer clip but as you move forward, make sure that cuts are three to five seconds long at most.


Making the perfect video trailer is a tedious task, and it requires a lot of expertise. The abovementioned tips will help you create a trailer that will appeal to your audience to watch the full version of the movie. Once you’ve created it, use social media marketing to make sure it reaches a global audience.  

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