EditingProjects

Man of Iron: Into Darkness (2013) – They’re all the same movie!

The thought struck me in the shower that not only were the trailers for Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and S.T. Into Darkness all thematically identical, but it would also be possible to graft one trailer onto another with no alterations to the underlying audio track. A quick Google search revealed that other people had similar ideas: mashup MoS, IM3, and ST:ID, but i wasn’t really satisfied with their attempts. They all felt lacking in some way. Actually only in one way: audio. The editors of those videos cut in between different trailers willy-nilly, and without a clean audio sample that didn’t include the music track, there was no way to make something that sounded at all reasonable. It was all very… inelegant to my ears.

So I decided to have some fun combining trailers, but preserving the unique audio tracks of each trailer to highlight the interchangeability of the footage and plots without making a discombobulated Michael-Bay-esque mess of highlights. I started with the highest quality footage I could get my hands on, the direct-download 1080p .mov’s from Apple Trailers (unfortunately this meant there would be a small watermark in the lower right but I didn’t really care). I separated the audio tracks and laid them out with some crossfading, and isolated a 30-50 second segment that captured the dramatic buildup of the trailer. Then I started on the footage.

There are two transitions that are ever really used in these three trailers: the crossfade, and the nothing. Editors will either jump from one shot to the next (usually in high-intensity montages), or fade from one scene to the next/into black. For distinct dialogue excerpts there will usually be a fade-to-black between each shot to punctuate it. There are also usually fades to black to highlight text like “from the director of ___”. These are the best case scenarios because they let my isolate clean shots to arrange however I want. They also typically last longer, since they’re not sharing screen-time with whatever they’re fading into. In the third “scene” of the Star Trek segment of my mashup, there’s a series of fades from character to character. Those were so quick that I couldn’t possibly have isolated anything useful from them, so I had to keep that clip intact.

You can play around with the footage somewhat, re-timing it to fit your purposes. Trailers often make use of slow-motion to make something seem more epic, but they don’t always have footage shot at higher frame rates. It’s acceptable in trailers to not have buttery-smooth slow-mo, so you have some wiggle-room when stretching out a brief scene.

No one said things had to appear in real/forward-time, either. In the Iron Man segment, there’s some blatant reversing of the footage. There were few long shots I could drop in to set the scene, so I improvised with the longest continuous ‘element’ of the trailer I could find. I think it works fairly well building up to the dialogue as well.

The ending shot of the movie titles is just layering all three titles with tweaks to their composting properties (i.e. “Add”, or “Normal with transparency”, etc).

From start to finish, it took me about half a day, including waiting for things to render and upload. Let me know what you think!

For reference these are the two other mashups I wasn’t quite satisfied with:

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