Background music in trailers and shot linking

Topics: Behavior

The most frequently non-diegetic sound in this trailer is the background music which is played over frames. Background music is also used to link shots together. These are known as sound bridges. The interesting and unusual part of the “Moulin Rouge” trailer which is probably the most persuasive selling tool for the audience is the background music. The background music is very cleverly used by Baz Luhrmann and this is very unique.

The songs played are specifically applied to the situation that is occurring in a particular shot to convey what is happening; for e.

g. when Satine and Christian are together showing love towards one another the music is happy, soft and gentle rhythm, whilst when the Duke is in the frame, the music in the background has a strong, heavy drum beats with a fierce, angry rhythm. By using background music and musical lyrics rather than just spoken conversation between characters it adds more weight to the emotion being conveyed in that shot.

This adds to the effect and makes the feelings between characters more heightened and recognisable for the audience.

This persuades the viewers to go and watch the film. The music which is used throughout the trailer is contemporary, modern music of the current day: songs which the audience are familiar with, for example “Your Song” by Elton John and “Roxanne” by Sting. Although the film is set at the end of the 19th Century and the images in the shots show this, the music conveys feelings and emotions which have no historical boundaries, meaning the shots and music relate to each other.

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The director has chosen to use these contrasting but well relating devices as it shows that people’s emotions have not changed even though music and fashion has. An example of this interesting film language is used in frames shot inside the “Moulin Rouge” were people are dancing, dressed in historical costumes. Over these shots “Roxanne” is played expressing passion and emotions of characters even more. Baz Luhrmann’s clever directing influences the viewers into going to see the film by using sympathetic background music.

By using familiar songs this captures the audience’s attention, persuading them further into going to watch the film “Moulin Rouge”. The director uses different cinematic shots to vary the frames in the trailer. Different shots have different terms which are used to indicate the amount of subject/character within a frame, how far away the camera is from the subject/character, and the perspective of the viewer. Each different shot has a different purpose and effect on the audience. An Extreme Long Shot (ELS) is generally used as a scene setting shot.

In this trailer, in shot 5, it shows a shot of Paris ranging from the Eiffel Tower to the “Moulin Rouge”. This informs the audience where the film is set making them more interested in the film as they can really relate to the place where the film was shot. Baz Luhrmann has chosen use many long shots (LS) to view characters as approximately life size i. e. corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the real screen. Long shots show a full length shot of the character from head to toe.

Long shots are very popular in this trailer when the shots are inside the club and show many people dancing together. This interests the audience more as they feel involved in the trailer as the viewers enter the mind of the “Moulin Rouge”. The director uses long shots to introduce characters to the audience so they know what they look like. This persuades the audience to go and watch the movie at the cinema. The most popular shot in the “Moulin Rouge” trailer is the Medium Shot (MS); which includes variation called the two shot and three shot.

A medium shot contains characters from the waist up and they are mainly used in dialogue scenes. The medium shots are frequently used in the “Moulin Rouge” trailer and there over 30 dialogue shots between characters. If a shot contains two characters from the waist up these are called the two shot. These often occur in this trailer when there is a narrative between characters. For example the most frequent two shots are of Satine and Christian, the lovers. These are shots which include dialogue informing the audience of the storyline.

The three shot are also used. This is when a shot contains three figures. The director uses the three shots when three characters are talking for example, a three shot is used between Satine, Christian and the Duke. Here the audience feel tension and suspense as the Duke wants to split the couple up and make Satine his but the audience do not want this. Medium shots focus in on the characters actions and show the audience more clearly of the relationships between the characters making the audience wanting to go and see the film.

A Close Up Shot (CUS) concentrates on either a face or detail of Mise-En-Scene and shows very little background. Examples of close up shots in the “Moulin Rouge” trailer are close up shots of Satine’s diamante necklace, Satine’s face and the Duke’s facial expressions. These close up shots magnify the object showing the audience the importance of things, i. e. the expression on the Duke’s face where he scowls and strokes his moustache, gives the audience the feeling that he is not to be trusted and he is sincere.

The close up shots take the audience into the minds of the characters as people who the viewers really trust are only allowed to get that close to their face, for example Satine’s loving face as she gazes at Christian. The director uses a close up to make the audience feel comfortable or uncomfortable about characters. A close up of the Duke makes the audience feels tense and hatred towards him, compared to the loving, protective relationship between Satine and the audience. These close up shots influence the viewer more to go and see “Moulin Rouge” as audience develops strong relationships towards characters.

The director has chosen to use extreme versions of the close up shot which magnifies on a part of the face i. e. eye. These shots are known as Extreme Close Up Shots (ECUS). In the 53rd shot the director uses an extreme close up on Satine’s eyes focusing the audience’s attention on to them. The audience are allowed to wander further into Satine’s mind increasing the feeling of care between Satine and the audience. The audience become involved in the film as they now feel they know Satine like a sibling as the extreme close up develops the emotions of the audience.

By doing this the viewers feel even more persuaded to go and see the movie where they can find out what happens in Satine’s life at the “Moulin Rouge”. A trailer is a montage of shots which persuades the audience to go and see the film which is being advertised. A major part of the trailer is how the shots and frames have been put together. This is known has editing. Editing is a term used to describe the process of looking at all the footage which has been shot during the making of the film, placing it in a desired order and then joining it together.

Editing consists of two major parts: the speed of editing i. e. how long does a shot last? The style of editing i. e. how are the shots joined together? The “Moulin Rouge” trailer consists of around 120 shots most of which are set inside the “Moulin Rouge”. The speed of each shots relates to the situation being portrayed and the background music which is playing. The tempo (speed) of the editing shots for the “Moulin Rouge” trailer starts reasonably slow, with each lasting about 2 to 3 seconds as the characters are introduced and the synopsis of the storyline begins.

The speed of editing relates to the rhythm of the particular background music being played over the shots. The first montage of shots shows Satine and Christian meeting and how their love for one another develops whilst “your song” is played linking the shots together. The audience are meant to feel relaxed and sense the love between the couple growing as a romantic slow song is played linking the shots together. The speed of editing increases around the 67th shot where the Duke is intervening and meddling in the couple’s relationship. Here the background music quickens.

The rhythm becomes faster and more random creating an atmosphere of tension and suspense for the audience as the couple begin to fall apart because of the Duke. Here the speed of editing increases to about 1 second per shot as the tension mounts. Will the couple’s love resist the evil Duke’s temptations? This makes the trailer more interesting for the viewers as they are left with unanswered questions about the characters meaning the trailer has been successful, as the audience need to go and see the movie so their questions can be answered.

By using background music with a strong rhythm it makes the speed of editing more noticeable so the audience feel these certain feelings. The second part of editing is how the shots have been joined together to create a 3 minute trailer for “Moulin Rouge”. The most frequent and popular style of editing is the straight cut were one frame is joined to the next straight on. The director must be able to combine shots without distracting the audience’s attention from the images and narrative on screen. Baz Luhrmann is successful in doing this with straight cuts as well as with other styles of cut.

At the end of this trailer the finally screens are the credits (names of actress’ and actor’s) and then the screen fades to black meaning that is the end of the trailer. This method is called fade-out. This style of editing is used to signify to the audience that something tense is about to happen or has just happened, or that the trailer has ended. This leaves the audience in suspense so they have to go and watch the “Moulin Rouge”. In the tenth to eleventh frames these are joined with a dissolve cut. In the tenth shot it shows the inside view of the “Moulin Rouge” club.

Then the eleventh shot, which is a shot of Satine standing on the stage, is slowly brought in beneath the other image. A dissolve cut blends shots together without the audience noticing them. The director uses dissolve cuts to join shots together to add a variety of different styles of editing to the trailer, to make it more interesting to watch for the audience. The director has chosen to use a jump cut to draw the audience’s attention onto an object very suddenly. Baz Luhrmann uses a jump cut when focusing the viewer’s attention onto Satine’s diamond necklace in a blue velvet box.

It is a quick shot but the audience’s attention is brought into focus very quickly as the Diamonds sparkle in the light. This is significant as the jewellery is a present from the Duke to Satine, who the audience know this is unusual as Satine feels tense around him. The director does this to influence the audience by suggesting the Duke is buying Satine’s love with the necklace. This makes the viewers detest the Duke even more. By using a variety of different style editing methods this makes the trailer more unique, persuading the audience to go and see the film.

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Background music in trailers and shot linking. (2017, Jul 11). Retrieved from

Background music in trailers and shot linking
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