A trailer is a short film or video clip which encapsulates the main plot of a feature-length movie or television program. Its purpose is to attract attention and promote the movie or show in a manner that will inspire the viewer to see the film.

A good trailer focuses on the main character, introducing them in an emotionally engaging way and setting up the central conflict of the story. It then ends on a major cliffhanger that leaves the plot unresolved and makes the audience want to watch the rest of the film.

Many trailers contain special-shoot footage that is not included in the final movie, usually as a technique to enhance the visual impact of the trailer. A popular example is Terminator 2: Judgment Day, whose trailer features an elaborate special effect scene of a T-800 Terminator being assembled in a factory that never made it into the movie itself.

Typically, trailers are cut at agencies and edited together by film editors, who work from rushes or dailies. Some trailers are created by the film’s director, while others are cut by producers, editors and other creative people.

Trailers are often the first thing that viewers encounter when they start watching a movie, so it’s important to have a well-crafted trailer. It’s also the best place to introduce your project’s key characters and establish a strong visual style for the film.

It’s also a great opportunity to set up the theme of your film, which will be clear when you move from one segment to the next. For example, a trailer for a sci-fi adventure might have a very strong emphasis on the environment, while a comedy may be more focused on the main characters’ personalities and quirks.

The right trailer can make or break a movie. The most successful trailers, like the ones for ‘Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest’ and ‘Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’, use a powerful, emotional approach to create empathy for their protagonists.

A great trailer will also include a good mix of dialogue and visuals that are meant to complement each other. This can be an exciting combination for audiences, especially if they’re new to the genre, as it can create a sense of depth in the story that is hard to achieve through a single shot or frame.

However, if the trailer is too heavy on visuals and not enough on story, it can leave audiences feeling disconnected and confused. This is particularly true when it comes to action movies, where a mish-mash of fight scenes can be disorienting and even downright boring.

It’s also important to make sure that your trailer doesn’t take too long. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, it should be no longer than two minutes. This can be done by cutting unnecessary scenes, adding a few lines of dialogue or reducing the size of some of the action scenes.

Creating an effective trailer can be challenging, but it’s something that anyone with a vision and a little bit of creative chops can achieve. With a little patience and the right tools, you’ll be able to craft a trailer that will stand out from the crowd and entice audiences to see your video.