In this installment of The Weekly Reel, I’ve decided to answer some questions people often ask me about the process of making a film and the film industry. I have chosen to answer four questions today. Two are commonly asked by people both in and outside of cyberspace and the other two are niche questions about some things that I have talked about in previous installments of The Weekly Reel.
#1: What is the difference between a movie teaser and a movie trailer?
To the best of my knowledge, the difference of the two is determined by length and when they are shown. When you are sitting in a theater and see a preview of an upcoming film, that preview is considered a theatrical trailer. The term trailer comes from the practice of showing the advertisements for other films after the end credits of a film. This practice didn’t last long since most of us have the tendency to leave when a film has ended.
A teaser is a shortened version of a theatrical trailer intended to create hype for an upcoming film. These are often the trailers you see on television that hope to entice you into seeing a film. They’ve existed for as long as television has been around since the film industry tried many methods to bring audiences back into theaters (e.g 3D, Smell-O-Vision, etc.)
#2: What does it mean when the film students here at the college say they’ll, “fix it in post?”
The filmmaking process is divided into three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production is when the planning of the film takes place. Production is when the film is being shot. Post-production is when the footage shot during the production phase is being edited and shaped into a complete film. So when you hear a film student say “we’ll fix it in post,” that means that they will fix an error made during the time they were shooting while the film is being edited.
#3: You mentioned terms like “kaiju” and “tokusatsu” in your superhero article. What do these terms mean?
“Tokusatsu” means “trick shooting” or “trick photography” in Japanese and often refers to visual effects. In time, it became a label for a genre of film and television that relies heavily on special effects. The most notable entries in this genre include television franchises such as “Kamen Rider,” “Ultraman” and the widely-known “Super Sentai” series, the series that the “Power Rangers” franchise is based on.
“Kaiju” is the Japanese word for monster, its literal translation being “strange beast.” This is a term that is often applied to the genre of Japanese monster movies, or films that feature characters like Godzilla, Anguirus, and Mothra. Both Ultraman and Godzilla were designed by the “father of Japanese visual effects,” Eiji Tsuburaya.
#4: What is that clapboard we often see used in behind-the-scenes featurettes?
That is what filmmakers refer to as a slate. When making a film, the picture and the sound are often recorded using separate, dedicated devices. When they begin to edit the footage, they match up the visuals with the sound by using the image of the slate and the clapping sound made when the top piece is slammed against the bottom. This practice is known as “slating” or “marking the shot.”
While there are still many questions about the filmmaking process to answer, I don’t want to put the wonderful instructors in the Film and Communication departments out of a job. If you do have any questions remaining about the trends in the film industry, I’m happy to answer them to the best of my ability. In the meantime, The Weekly Reel will be taking a little break as finals week is fast approaching for all of us here at the college.