There are four main textual codes to look at when analysing a trailer:
- Mis en scene
- Camera angles/shots
The first trailer I have analysed is 30 days of night:
- Mis en scene is argulably the most important code as it sets the scene and reflects what the mood of the film is like. In the opening sequence of 30 Days of Night we see immediate isolation within a house, the frightened look on the man and womens face shows that something ominous is going to happen. The bad weather and darkness are a common convention used in horror films because they are symbol of danger. Shots later on in the trailer further show the isolation when all we can see in the darkness is a few people in the snow amogst what look to be run down houses. The sequence in the prison when we see the character talking therough the bars shows that they are trapped in the situtation. Costume is a vital part of mis-en-scene because it is dark all of the clothes are grey and dull which again highlights the bleakness of the trailer.
- Editing is also crutial within a trailer with this one the shots start off relativly long and get shorter and the cuts more frequent to build tension as it progresses. The use of text cards to explain what is happening is an effective piece of editing and because it is on a plain black screen with eary red writing it fits in perfectly. Fade to black is used alot throughout the trailer to add to the tension.
- Alot on non diegetic sound is used to create an atmosphere all the through the trailer. As the atmosphere builds the sound gets louder and eventually merges into dark sounding music to fit the pace of the action. At the beggining there is the diegetic sound of the window breaking and the woman screaming this is very loud and makes the audience jump. As well as this dialogue is used to tell us a little bit about what is happening.
- The opening shot of the trailer is a mid shot of the woman looking worried in the kitchen which them zooms almost to a close up before panning across the room the show the mans reaction in the same way. The birds eye shot of the town shows the isolation and idicates that all is not right. There are a series of quick shots to follow the one which i feel is particularly significant is the one of the 'villan' it is a close up of his face, I found it quite unusual that they would show this in the trailer as normally there is a sense of mystery surrounding the villain or monster however is doesnt give too much away so it is still very effective. Also because we are looking directly at him its as if the viewer is one of his targets which makes him all the more scary. In the shot just before everything goes black we can see something lurking behind the window implying that they are being watched. Shots of fire and weaponary show disater without giving too much away.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the second trailer I have analysed:
- Mise en Scene. From the very beggining of the trailer we establish that it is going to be scary thanks to the mise en scene. The area for the opening shot is run down with with an abandoned house, the fact that its in black and white adds to the effect. A chase scene follows picking up the pace immediatly and making the audience wonder whats going on. The setting then changes and it appears to go back in time showing children playing. This is like the equlibrium in the trailer but the sound that goes with it means its still very eary. All of the candles spread over the floor have connotations of being spiritual. The shots towards the end of the trailer are relativley short but are packed with excitement. The metal claw hand features frequently throughout the trailer suggesting that its the hand of the villan but doesnt give too much away.
- Editing. The editing in this trailer is fairly straight forward with every transition either being a straight cut or a feade to black. This works well because it keeps the sequence smooth and means people can concentrate on whats happening with getting confused by fancy shot transitions. As the tension builds throughout the trailer and the pace picks up the editing becomes more frequent and the shots shorter.
- Sound. In my opinion the sound is the most effective textual code within this particular trailer. The trailer opens with heavy breathing and fast paced music throwing the audience straight into the action. There is dailogue throughout which tells a little bit about the story. However without a doubt the most important piece of sound is the angelic voice of the child doing the 'one, two freddies coming for you...' it is absolutly spine chilling and compliments whats going on within the trailer perfectly. The voice of the villain is heard towards the end, its low and husky as you would expect and evil characters to be.
- A wide range of camera angles and shots are used within the trailer. It opens with a long establishing shot to set the scene. The length of the shots fits with the speed of the music which ties the whole thing together. The claw like hand becomes a significant part of the trailer because it clearly belongs to the villain but because of the angle of the camera nothing is given away that could spoil the film.