Trolls World Tour Featurette – Making the Soundtrack (2020) | Movieclips Trailers

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Movie trailers

A trailer is a video clip composed of a few passages of the original work, usually of short duration, which is used to promote a cinema or television film, a computer game or another publication.

The word comes from the English word trail. In the past, trailers were actually shown after a main movie as a preview of the future film program.

Fields of application


Cinema trailers that announce major Hollywood productions and are nowadays shown before the main movie are often produced so elaborately that they are even announced weeks before their premiere and expected by the fans. For example, in the US, all cinemas were seized by movie fans when the first Star Wars: Episode I - The Dark Menace trailers premiered. Often the auditorium was already empty again at the beginning of the main film.

It is noticeable that trailers are usually produced before the completion of the actual film and therefore sometimes contain scenes or even pieces of music that do not appear in the finished film at all. For similar reasons, the dubbing of the trailers is often faulty or at least deviates from the final version of the film.

The teaser, a first short commercial for a film, which is already produced before the trailers, is to be distinguished from the trailer. Usually there are no film excerpts in the teaser yet, but mostly material especially made for the teaser, which is supposed to make the audience curious about the upcoming movie.

A short film form also seems to be emerging, in which trailers are produced without the accompanying film and are distributed e.g. via the Internet (see the article on the film Grindhouse).

In the USA, a distinction is made between so-called 'red band trailers', which are not released for children or young people and contain explicit depictions of violence, and green band trailers, which are harmless to younger age groups.

PC and video games

Trailers, which are used to preview a computer game, are compiled with scenes from cutscenes and from the game itself, which are intended to give the viewer an insight into the game and to present it as positively as possible.

Trailers have become a popular medium that is not only used by large industries. In the area of PC games, various private programming groups also like to use a trailer for their upcoming game or mod developments.


On tv, trailers before or after the television commercials indicate upcoming programmes. These trailers are considered as self-advertising under media law and are not taken into account when calculating advertising time (§ 16 para. 4 Interstate Broadcasting Treaty).

If a film with an age rating of 16 or over or no youth rating is advertised on television with film excerpts, this may only be shown at times when the advertised film itself could also be shown. So-called still trailers are an exception, which are produced only with still images and audio of a film.


Increasingly, the theatre uses the trailer as an advertising medium. Trailers for current performances are published on internet platforms such as YouTube or the theatre's own website.

In 1987, the Theater an der Ruhr had three productions by Roberto Ciulli: Danton's Death, God and The Croatian Faust adapted by film director Hans Peter Clahsen and used them as so-called film theatre trailers for cinema advertising.

What remains challenging in the adaptation of stage productions is that the change to the highly technical, audiovisual medium should not contain any effective promises that would ultimately disappoint the theatregoer motivated by the original performance.


On the radio, trailers announce contributions on special topics and focus programmes. Listeners are also informed about broadcast frequencies and times.


The term book trailer comes from the American terms book trailer and book video. The term is borrowed from cinema trailers. Book trailers are short advertising films for books commissioned by publishers, similar to trailers for cinema and television productions. Their task is the announcement of new releases. They serve to inform readers and are intended to encourage them to buy the advertised book by conveying the most important information emotionally and authentically in the shortest possible time. While about ten book trailers were produced in some European countries in 2005, this number has already grown to over 500 films by 2010. To date, no book aesthetics have been established. The design spectrum ranges from filmed book covers, recorded author readings, text and image animations to book trailers that work with real actors.


As with the scenes shown, it often happens that the music used in the trailer does not appear in the movie itself or on the following soundtrack CD.

Especially in this branch some renowned companies have emerged, which produce specially tailored tracks for each trailer. It is not uncommon for whole orchestras and/or choirs to be used. In contrast to film music, composers of trailer music have a maximum of 1-3 minutes time. Within a track there are usually many mood changes. In extreme cases, according to the main producer of IM, these are 5-8, so this type of music is always a special case. All presented emotions are presented exorbitantly in order to achieve a maximum effect within a short time.

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