Film Trailer Sound Design

Film Trailer Sound Design

Half of a film trailer is usually the race to the crescendo ending and possibly one or two extra beats of surprise endings after the title just for good measure, and the other half is the use of decent whooshes, risers and booms that make for cinema shaking magic.

Sound Daily have a great interview with Bryan Jerden, a sound designer who has worked on trailers for Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and Inception.

The first piece of advice for doing trailers it is to know how to work with the rhythm and pitch of music. Trailers are driven by music and you don’t want your sound effects to clash with it. Try and time your effects so that they land in time with the beat of the music. Also watch out for tonal sound effects that are out of key with the music.

Film Trailer Sound Effects

So where do all the pros get all these immense sound effects? Well one place with a decent Hollywood heritage is Robert Etoll’s Q-factory catalogue. You can listen through hundreds (if not thousands) of effects, music cues, trailer hits and risers on

Snapshot of a trailer timeline

First of all I want to make it 100% clear that I am in no way what so ever comparing a trailer for a corporate video I cut to anything else in this post. Not in a million years. But as I have access to the timeline here is what the sound design looked like for this trailer. I can only imagine that one a ‘real’ trailer the timeline is even more crowded. In looking at the trailer again I think the ending needs a bit more pacing but it worked at the time, in the time available.

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