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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Surfaces and Strategies – Making a Teaser Trailer

In week 2 of the module, we were tasked with creating a short teaser trailer for our project with a maximum run time of 2 minutes.

This is very much a task that is outside my comfort zone.  I have never made a trailer before and never really considered doing so.  Having videos about my work online will quickly enable me to tell the world what it is that I shoot and why I shoot it.  It will help me evoke emotion, create a mood and tell a story in a way that supports my photographic images.

Approaching this task, I decided that I wanted my video to focus on the images, but also to include video footage.  The images needed to be the main focus as they show who I am as a photographer. I chose to include the highest resolution photographs and contrast this with video footage shot on my iPhone.  This allowed the resolution of the images to be fully appreciated and very noticeable against the lower resolution video footage.

To give my viewers a different experience with my images, I chose to focus in on the photographs and pan over them to reveal details that might not be seen and appreciated when observing the photograph.

For inspiration, I looked at the videos made by Roger Ballen about his individual projects.  His films reveal some detail about the project, but you are left with more questions and answers about the work.  This adds to the intrigue about his work.  His videos can be seen at

I also drew influence from the Cottingley Fairies hoax as this has fascinated me since childhood.  Living in the Forest of Dean I had my pick of venues.  It was also important to me that the video told a story, but left the ending open so that the viewer would be drawn into the work.  Also I wanted to include behind the scenes footage to show how much laughter is had in the studio. This is a big step forward for me as I really do not like being in front of the camera. But, I decided that as the project is all about performance, I should really be in it. My husband also agreed to act in scenes in the forest.

I chose to use iMovies and chose a trailer that had a dramatic and intense music track.  I wanted the trailer to have a cinematic feel and for it to reveal something but not everything about my work; there needed to I then set about creating a storyboard (below).

The video sections were planned out and recorded before editing into the final snippets.  Each image and video section were carefully chosen to suit the part of the soundtrack playing at the time.

The video was so much fun to shoot and produce.

Comments from my peers about the video include…

“Wonderfully entertaining. The narrative, intense music and storyboard still images all point to a heightened sense of drama in this film, but then you throw in the behind scenes footage and we realise it’s all a tongue-in-cheek performance. It is lovely to see you in the film as well – we so rarely see the artist at work and it shows how much fun the models have during a shoot. Wonderful mix of linear story with polished final images and the preparation. A great trailer to showcase your work, but also with some tweaks it would make a great calling-card to send to prospective models who may be a little nervous about committing to a shoot.”

– Chris Northey

“Loved it! This is a massive distillation of your work and your collaborators (subjects and models are simply inadequate words to apply to your practice). There is more of you in there too which is nice to see and adds a personal touch. The whole piece is dramatic and eye catching; what more would one expect!?”

– Philip Singleton

Overall, I found this a very enjoyable experience.  I can appreciate how powerful a video could be in promoting my practice. Definitely something I will return to again.

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