Early Development Trailer - How I made it

I was unable to find practical videos on how to make a video game trailer. I decided to make my own as I was learning the process.

The video shows the different iterations of the trailer, up until the few last versions.

Starting with goals in mind

I wanted to have a transportable medium to show my game quickly. Screenshots and words are useful, but videos can display an experience.

The trailer needed to be shorter than 60 seconds. Scene transitions had to be at most every 6 seconds to keep the video dynamic.

We were going to do many iterations and improve at every phases. To gather feedback, I published every versions of the trailer on YouTube using Unlisted videos.

Finally, it was a way to inform people how they could follow our development.

Follow our development

Creating the outline

I created the outline of my video using PowerPoint. I created 10 slides of 6 seconds each. I planned the order of every scene and making sure it made sense.

The goal was to have something that can easily be created and was easy to change. PowerPoint allows us to just put a quick screenshot, text and add the time frame.

This would allow us to do a faster first draft of the video.

Image of Powerpoint

Version 1 - Rough draft

I used Adobe Premiere Elements (trial version) to get started. I didn't commit to buy it right away. This way, I could have changed my mind if I couldn't complete the trailer myself.

The draft was only recreating the PowerPoint plan we had. No perfect transition or audio sync was done. In other words, we went from a Photo Slide to a Video Slide. This was the first step to give life to our trailer.

The in-game footage was recorded while on Stream, so they have random recorded music playing.

The feedback was that the trailer only got interesting at about 22 seconds. This meant we would probably lose the interest of many people. It was very risky to keep it that way.

Version 2 - Adding music

Next step was to add music. This created a better feeling for the video. We didn't gather feedback here. Small improvement can be key to bring you closer to the final product. This was the reason behind this iteration.

Having the end goal in mind is important. But being able to deconstruct the process into smaller parts makes the process easier.

Version 3 - Sharing on Twitch

This version had a more polished output. We kept the same song. We made sure that scenes transitions were in beat with the music. Also we added in-game sounds back to the video.

Time was to share it with a more people and get their feedback on it. I showed it to a few Twitch Streamers.

I gathered the following feedback:

  • The music is repetitive
  • After the crash, people expected a faster tempo
  • The Name of the Game is too late and not shown long enough

Version 4 - Dubstep anyone?

We wanted to have a change of tempo in the middle. One suggestion was to have a Dubstep song, with the drop synced with the crash.

While the song choice was not final, the new music emphasized the crash and introduced a new feeling. Not only did I feel something different myself, I could see a difference on the reaction of people I showed it to.

Next steps

While the next iterations were not documented on the video, the final steps were to find the right song and get the proper rights of licensing. I also made sure to fix any small issues with gameplay footage, synced every transition to the beat and reduced the length of boring scenes.

Closing Note

Hope a behind the scene video was helpful for the making of your own trailer. It was definitely a hard process that required close to 30 hours in total in the end. Planning, recording, gathering feedback, iterating, repeat.

In the end, we might have up to 7 iterations. We wanted to keep some surprise for the final product!

Feel free to reach out if you'd love help on your own trailer project and you'd love to share you own work.

Don't hesitate to stop into the Live Development on Twitch or leave a comment below.

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