Making a trailer…without an actual movie

This post radically differs from the previous ones, as this short 2-minute movie that I made is not a documentary film per se. That is, when I was making it, I did not necessarily intend to bring together simple video clips, talking about Central European University and fusing them together to create a realistic video diary of the life at the university.

Rather, I wanted to assemble this promotional video for a student contest in a creative and unorthodox way. Considering the length of submissions (up to 2 minutes) and wanting to create a maximal impact in this short span of time, I chose to use a framework of a movie trailer. This framework usually delivers excellent results as in a very compressed way it gives the main idea/s about the nature of the film and what one can expect from it. Yet, regardless of great potential of such videos, I had faced one formidable foe here. I had raw footage to make a trailer out of it, but there was no actual and already-made film to extract pieces from in order to create a trailer. It is much easier to make a trailer when the full movie exists, than when it does not. Of course, I took lots of video shots of Budapest and CEU, but some of these shots got connected only when I was about to assemble them. In the professional film-making industry, a movie is done or almost done, and this is when people begin to copy certain shots from a movie into a trailer. For me, I just had a loose collection of shots that I had to link in a meaningful way.

On the other hand, working like this, from scratch is good because in trailers they usually want to hide the best special effects/best scenes or only show them for as little time as possible in order not to spoil the movie-going experiences for prospective audiences. In my case, I was able to use the best special effects (well, the best ones as represented by Ulead VideoStudio Editor anyways) and best scenes in the trailer itself, as I knew that there would not be a full movie coming out any time soon. Thus, in a real movie, the scene of fighting hussars (especially fighting for several long seconds) probably would not go into the trailer as it might spoil the experience for movie-goers. Yet, in my case it was ok to use it.

Since the trailer is about the university, I wanted to make a creative film about some sort of secret order or organization and, in this way, to make the trailer a memorable one. Also, the whole trailer is built on an idea of suspense. In order to capture the attention of viewers, one needs to set an interesting riddle in the beginning of the film and answer it only somewhere at the end, so the viewer will be forced to watch the entire clip. Thus, I dropped some remarks about the secrets of Budapest and the secret order and revealed this order right at the end of the trailer. Hense, I created a sense of awaiting climax which came at the conclusion of the film.



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