The Stowaway

I have been doing video editing for quite sometime. I usually do music videos but I had

The movie was adapted from a best-selling novel.

always wanted to make a movie trailer so when I heard about this assignment I was so excited! I am more familiar with Final Cut Pro so I decided to use it for this project instead of Adobe Premier (I actually  like premiere better I’ve just started out on Final Cut). The movie I chose to remix was Water For Elephants. The original story is of a Cornell drop out, Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson), who runs away with the circus and falls in love with the ring leaders wife, Marlena (Witherspoon),  and marries her in the end (typical love story, you can see the original trailer here.). I chose to remix the movie into a thriller/horror movie in which Jacob is actually a stowaway/serial killer who stalks Marlena. I changed the name of the movie to The Stowaway since the movie had less to do about a circus and love for animals and more about Jacob, the serial killer who is a stowaway.

The first thing I had to do was find a thriller/horror soundtrack for my new remix. The original soundtrack is too happy and melodic for what I was trying to do, so I searched on iTunes and bought a song just for the trailer. I chose to use fast and copy cuts as well as slow cuts to show a sense of urgency and drama. I think this worked out well. I also used “slugs” (black filler for gaps in video) to convey a sense of suspense. When the music stopped at certain points I felt that it was better to have no video playing and have a “slug” instead. I also decided not to use any of the original sound from the movie. Like I said, the music from the movie is too happy and it seems to be playing throughout the entire movie! I had a hard time trying to separate the voice from the music but after much deliberation I decided to just mute all the original audio altogether. I think the trailer is actually more dramatic with no one speaking because it makes the viewer think about what is happening in each shot.

A lot of the editing and camera techniques I decided to take from Bernard Dick’s Anatomy of a Film: Film, Space, and Image to create a more thriller-like trailer. The faster cuts where Jacob is attacking people and Marlena is scared shows urgency. The slower scenes where Jacob and Marlena are watching each-other show the sense more for the stalking/creepy side of the story. With these two different kinds of cut you can create a dimensional story line. I also closely synced the video to the audio. I  made sure transitions were at crucial points in the sound track to make it seamless.

Another problem I had was, with a weird logo popping up in the bottom right hand

This is the annoying logo that pops up randomly through out the trailer...

corner of the movie. I don’t know where it came from or what it’s for but it pops up periodically throughout my trailer and I couldn’t get it to go away. I think it had something to do with the ripping of the DVD. This also didn’t appear until after I had exported the movie so I spent quite some time trying to get the logo to go away. I just kept playing to trailer back to myself and before long I didn’t even notice the logo popping up. (Needless to say, I got used to it.)

All in all, if I had any tips for someone it would be… don’t use Adobe Premiere, use Final Cut Pro. It seems to have less bugs and problems. Every clip I used in the trailer was a sub-clip first and I had no issues with audio or anything.

I am actually really pleased by my trailer and I am excited to show it in class!

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