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How to choose the right video format for your game trailer

John Miller October 4, 2017

What are the various video formats required while video editing for a game trailer?

When you’re ready to introduce the world to your new game or game upgrades, a video trailer is a must-have tool. But you’ve got decisions to make. How should your game video trailer be structured? How long should it be? What should it emphasize? What video editing techniques can you use to make it effective? Let’s start by examining the three most common video formats used for game trailers.

Announcement trailer

An announcement trailer lets your potential customers know that a new game is coming. The key elements for an announcement trailer are a short length (usually about 30 seconds), very short snippets of game play (if any), and limited voiceover or text. The goal is to interest your audience but not reveal too much.

Launch trailer

Your strategy and video editing techniques change with a launch trailer. With a launch trailer, you’ll want to show more gameplay and encourage your customers to purchase or download your game. Voiceovers and text citing features and positive reviews are a big part of the pitch with a launch trailer. A launch trailer is longer than an announcement trailer, usually clocking in around 1 minute.

DLC release trailer

DLC (downloadable content) trailers focus on new features that have been added to your game. You’ll want to emphasize how the features your customer’s download will improve their experience and keep the game fresh.

The right content for your trailer

Deciding upon the right video format for your game trailer is the most fundamental decision you’ll make. Once that’s decided upon, your attention will by necessity turn to how you’ll get the message across – what are the video editing techniques and content decisions that you can employ that will work best for you, and the type of video format they’ll best match up to.

  • Animation: Wait, aren’t all games animated? Yes, they are, but in this case, we’re talking about a strictly animated sequence that will allow you to present the key elements of the plot for your game. Animation requires its own specific video editing techniques and can be relatively expensive. Your best bet in using animation in your video game trailer is to employ it early in your campaign, particularly in the announcement trailer. This will give you an opportunity to capture the attention of potential consumers by setting the stage for what your game is about.
  • Live-action: Live action is pretty uncommon in-game trailers. But you can use it to good effect in several possible ways. For example, in an announcement trailer or DLC trailer, you can use live-action interviews with your development team or game testers. Use your imagination with live action, but be sure that your team is up to speed on video editing techniques for live action footage.
  • Gameplay: Gameplay rules the roost when it comes to trailer content. But you should approach it differently depending upon the format of the trailer you’re creating. With an announcement trailer or launch trailer, your gameplay content should show a variety of different aspects of the gameplay, employing video editing techniques that ramp up the excitement level – quick cuts, split screens, and more. For a DLC trailer, your gameplay footage should emphasize new features and gameplay improvements, so you’ll probably need to stick with extended segments of gameplay.
  • Voiceovers: Voiceovers are often an integral part of game trailers. While they can often be eschewed in announcement trailers or launch trailers by substituting text overlays, they’re particularly useful in DLC trailers, where you’re encouraging customers to upgrade to take advantage of new features. Voiceovers describing the features you’re adding or changing can be a valuable addition.

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