Tag Archives: trailers

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint: Trailer Park

The heart of the Geek Movie season traditionally runs from late spring through the summer, with the superhero films and action flicks rolling into theaters for the warm-weather months. There are exceptions, however: The adaptation of the final installment in the The Hunger Games series arrives later this month and there’s a little flick called Star Wars: The Force Awakens that opens in mid-December. Still, the last two months of the year traditionally see the serious films, aiming for Oscars and more viewer attention span with people taking time off around the holidays. If you’ve lost track of what else is on the way to your local cineplex, here are a few sites to keep you in the loop.

ComingSoon.net not only features trailers for a huge selection of upcoming theatrical films headed your way, you can get sneak peeks for upcoming TV episodes, home video releases on DVD and Blu-ray and even videogames. ComingSoon.net also has the latest Hollywood box-office figures as well as industry news and is really a one-stop shopping trip for entertainment information. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and RSS feeds keep you up to date.


imtApple’s iTunes Movie Trailers collection focuses mainly on theatrical films, but also sports exclusive clips and early previews. The site also has a Twitter feed and RSS to alert you to new material, plus a Top 25 list. You can view the trailers on the Web, but if you have an iOS-based gadget, you can use the official iTunes Movie Trailers app. You can also watch through the Apple TV’s app. Both feature a calendar view that places each trailer on a grid, which can be helpful for planning your weekends.

YouTube, repository of almost all online video, has a trailers section with links to a lot of clips – and YouTube channels from other trailers sites.

If your tastes run toward more independent efforts, check out the IndieWire site. It does cover the mainstream movie and TV culture, but gives the smaller productions a bigger share of the spotlight.

And if you’re feeling nostalgic and have a few hours to kill, visit the Archives at Movie-List.com to see many of the Generation X Classics as they were first presented in trailer form. Airplane!, Escape From New York, Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, WarGames…they’re all here in one convenient place, waiting to take you back to the 1980s, when movie tickets were cheap and a bucket of popcorn was affordable.

And with the trailer buzz for Star Wars: The Force Awakens still echoing, how about a nostalgic trip over to the trailer for the original Star Wars from the mid-1970s? It certainly had a more low-key unveiling back in its day, and it and perfectly illustrates the power of the John Williams soundtrack — by not actually having the iconic score rumbling around in the in the background.

Episode 60: Hyperloop Like Nobody’s Watching

On a double-stuffed episode J.D. takes a look at movie apps and Pedro reviews the 2013 version of the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet. In the news, Elon Musk unveils plans for futuristic transport system; Facebook adds restaurant reservations and listings for movies and TV; NBC News goes shopping for user-generated content; Windows 8.1 coming soon; an LG Electronics publicity goes all “WKRP In Cincinnati”; a Bitcoin security flaw threatens Android users; and Apple rumors heat up…yet again.

Movie Magic in Minutes

For many people, making your movies got a lot easier once the smartphones arrived on the scene because all of a sudden, you always had a video camera on hand. Sometimes, though, even after you shoot hours of clips, you only have a few seconds of really interesting stuff. But still, your parents want videos of the kids, your friends want to see the new puppy, and you can’t get out of it. But what can you do to keep a video entertaining even when you don’t have a lot of decent footage to work with?

Do what Hollywood does: Put all the good stuff in the trailer. Or, skip the script and lard it up with special effects. You can find apps for this sort of thing — most mobile stores have plenty of video-editing programs, but a couple here in this category stand out.

Trailers with iMovie for iOS
Thanks to Apple’s $5 iMovie app for iOS, you can take a total of 10 or 15 seconds of video, stick little clips into a template, customize the text in some prefab graphics — and crank out a summer-movie-style trailer in less than half an hour. (The trailer feature is included in the desktop version of iMovie for the Mac as well.)

To get started, pop open iMovie, tap the + icon. Instead of New Project, choose New Trailer. The app then walks you through the steps of making your whiz-bang trailer. To set the tone, you can choose from a variety of genres for the music and title sequence, like a Saul Bass-inspired 60’s spy movie, a love story, a horror film, a superhero-action flick or even a Bollywood-style musical.


Pick a style and tap the Create button. The next screen has two tabs — Outline and Storyboard. On the Outline screen, type in the personalized text you want to use for the titles. The Storyboard screen shows a bunch of rectangles. Here, you drag in video clips from your Camera Roll. The app tells you the type of shot to use so you match the title sequence – like an action shot or a close-up. The iMovie app also tells you how many seconds the clip will last in the sequence. By dragging your finger on the screen, you can select the exact frames from within the clip to appear.


Once you fill in all the text and fill up the rectangles with various clips, tap the Full Screen button to see the trailer play. You can go back and adjust the videos and text as needed. When finished, you can export the finished trailer to your Camera Roll or upload it to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or other video sites. You can see a sample of iMovie Trailers in action here.

Special Effects with FxGuru for Android
Want to add some cool blockbuster action effects to your otherwise bland video clip of the kids standing around trying not to fight in the backyard? Check out FxGuru: Movie FX Director, which is available free in the Google Play Store. This is an app that lets you mix things like robots, explosions and spaceships into your own home video as you shoot it, because nothing jazzes up a scene like an alien spaceship hovering overhead. You get a few special effects for free — like the falling satellite or dancing Android man — and can buy more as inspiration overtakes you. The effects come in six-packs for about $6.50 each and you can add things like mech attacks and dinosaurs to the video.

The app is pretty easy to use. Just select an effect from the menu and FxGuru puts an outline of where that special effect will get overlaid onto your own live-action video. Tap the Record button and hold it for 10 to 20 seconds while you get the kids or the dog to do something related to the effect you picked.


Once you stop recording, FX Guru matches up timing and motion as it blends the effect to create a clip you can then e-mail, save to your Google Drive, post on YouTube or transfer by Bluetooth. You just need the kids to cooperate for less than a minute and then you can share a much more memorable video. Want to see a sample of FxGuru? Click here.

Got the hang of it? Next stop, Los Angeles — or at least to the phone when your mother calls and wants to know why there’s a T-Rex running through the backyard while her grandchildren are out there.

Let’s All Go to the Movies

summermoviesWhen it comes to the film-release calendar these days, summer doesn’t unofficially start with Memorial Day weekend. It starts the first weekend of May, when the big brawny action pictures begin to land in movie theaters around the world. School’s out — and all those superhero sagas, space operas, fantasy worlds, animated adventures and other fantastic flicks are in.

So, what’s coming to your local cinema this summer? While not a complete list of U.S. summer-release dates, the list below (linked to each film’s official Web site) highlights the movies that may be of particular interest to the nerd herd.

If you want to process the data visually, the Republic of Geek site has an artfully designed calendar and for one-stop viewing, the Geek Generation site has the trailers all in one place. IMDb’s Trailer Gallery and iTunes Movie Trailers are other sites to trailer-graze. For coming attractions on the go, check out the Flixster app for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and phones with WAP browsers, Apple’s Movie Trailers app for iOS or any of the trailer apps in the Google Play Store designed for Android devices.

And not to forget one of the high points in summer-movie history: More than 30 years ago, the Star Wars franchise did its part in making the season an incredibly exciting time to pile into the car go see movies with your like-minded pals. So whether it be mall, multiplex, art house, IMAX, drive-in or wherever you grab your movies, have a great time — and may the Fourth be with you.

Hollywood in Your Pocket

Ready for the fall movie season? Plenty of apps aimed at movie lovers are out there, but two stand out for their versatility and ability to work on most major mobile platforms. Yes, we speak of Flixster and Fandango.

Flixster.com, which is owned by Warner Brothers, is a movie recommendation site that’s recently been refocused to promote the use of the UltraViolet cloud-locker system. In fact, if you sign up for the UltraViolet service, you can actually stream full-length movies through the Flixster mobile app.

But even if you aren’t using UltraViolet movies, the Flixster mobile app still has a ton of features for cinephiles. You get a list of films opening each week, where they’re playing in your area, movie news and quizzes, actor bios, DVD release schedules, film trailers and ratings from the from the Rotten Tomatoes site that aggregates reviews from major news outlets. Since movies are a social event, you also get links to theaters, Yelp reviews of nearby restaurants and nearby 7-11 convenience stores if you’re really on a budget. In some cases you can even buy your movie tickets through the app, but that is not available at all theaters.

The Fandango site, that of singing paper bag fame, had a mobile app out early on smartphone screens. The site later added a beefier tablet version that offers perks like what movies are selling the best on Fandango. But on either version, you can search for movies and theaters — and buy your tickets on the run, without having to be in front of the regular Web site.

In theaters than have the right scanners, you can get a QR code for your Mobile Ticket sent to your phone that gets you in fast – and able to skip the line of people fumbling with their credit cards at the ticket-printing machines. In addition to ticket buying, you can watch film trailers and read cast and production information through the app. Fandango does have some social-media elements as well, including a measure of positive tweets about a chosen flick and a place for you to tap if you’re going to go see it. You can log in through Facebook or set up a Fandango account with a saved credit card for speedy purchases — which comes in handy when you absolutely, positively have to be there at the first midnight showing.