A movie trailer is a short, condensed preview of a film. Trailers are a form of advertising that often have a dramatic climax and are used to promote films and television shows. In addition, trailers can also be used as self-promotion for a film or series, especially if it is a sequel.

Most film trailers use a three-act structure. The first act introduces the setting and the premise of the film, while the second act heightens conflict, and the third act reveals the final scene. This structure is usually accompanied by a strong orchestral piece. Some trailers include bloopers and out-takes, which are footage of entertaining aspects of the shoot.

Movie trailers typically feature a music score and scenes that reflect the mood and action of the film. The filmmakers may also use editing techniques to control the pace. They may show quick cuts or liven up scene transitions with sound effects. For example, a dramatic orchestral piece might be used for a thriller or a lighthearted pop song for a romantic comedy.

While the term trailer is most commonly associated with movie trailers, it can also be used for other types of video and audio content. These can range from TV spots to online content, such as YouTube videos. Featurettes are another popular genre, and are filmed behind-the-scenes footage of a film. It is now routine to include these on DVDs and on television show websites.

Trailers are produced to promote a movie, TV series, or a new episode of a franchise. Unlike TV spots, they can be longer than one minute. Traditionally, trailers were produced to be a quick way to convince viewers to leave the theater. Nowadays, they are highly polished pieces of advertising.

Trailers can be a great way to draw in a large audience. Even poor movies can benefit from trailers. However, they have been criticized for misleading audiences. Oftentimes, the trailer will portray a minor celebrity as the main cast member, when in fact that actor or actress is not actually in the film. Another common complaint is that the trailers show scenes that are not in the film. Sometimes, the trailer will even contain deleted scenes from the movie.

Trailers are most commonly presented in the same format as the feature film, although some are in digital formats. Typical trailers for a feature film are one to four minutes long. Several companies specialize in the production of trailers. Many of them are located in Los Angeles and New York.

The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a guideline in January 2014 asking film distributors to provide trailers that are no longer than two minutes. It allows for exceptions and gives producers and studios permission to use additional creative content.

Many working trailers have gates, which are lift ramps that help raise and lower heavy items. Some trailers may also have accessories, such as cooler racks, blower racks, or trimmer racks. Specialty trailers are lockable and weather-resistant.