Neo Noir Film Trailer Evaluation

Evaluation, Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, Neo Noir, U66

For my film course, I was given a brief to create a Neo-Noir themed film trailer based on the game LA Noire in a group. I had the roles of the production manager, script supervisor, camera operator, audio editor and production designer as well as being the on-set stylist during the shoot. I created crucial preproduction assets such as storyboards and character designs, as well as recorded the ADR dubbing and create trailer graphics during post-production.

Initially I wasn’t that familiar with the film noir genre, but I had definitely heard about it and seen clips from iconic noir films before so it wasn’t completely unknown to me. I did some more research on it and had a look at various films from the genre such as The Third Man and L.A Confidential. I also studied the various characteristics of the noir genre and was really intrigued by it’s style and mood. I looked at both the tropes and low-budget filming techniques as well as the game L.A Noire which we were to base our trailer on.

Once our research was complete, my group started planning and developing scripts, storyboards and designs for our trailer. We bounced thoughts and suggestions back and forth between each other until the script was done and ready for storyboarding. I personally think that at this early stage, I should have definitely spoken up more about my ideas and thoughts. There was a slight lack of communication and I definitely feel like I could have perhaps contributed more with the development.

When we moved onto filming, we decided to film at Drew grandparents’ house as the interior was very fitting to what we were aiming to shoot in. But because of complications, we weren’t able to film as soon as we had liked to which led to major setbacks in our scheduling. The house itself was very decadent and really suited our trailer – but I still don’t think that it was worth enough to delay our project to such an extent.

When we arrived on-set for filming, we had a look around at all the rooms and starting thinking about exactly where and how we were going to shoot. At this point I was adamant about being more active in organising the group, especially since we were having guest actors to participate. So I created a Facebook event and herded everyone together to inform them about the day’s schedule and items to bring. I also created a Skype group to help relay the necessary information onto Michael, who did not have a Facebook. I was really pleased with my efforts and I remained active on social media to message everyone and make sure that we were all updated and knew what to bring.

Overall the filming itself was a good experience. I’ve had previous experience with filming before, so operating the camera and managing the on-set environment wasn’t new to me. I had a lot of fun helping Daniel and Jacob with the directing, as well as making sure everything behind the scenes was organised whilst the filming was happening. However, I feel like I should have been more active in my participation with the main filming. I might not have been the director, but in the end it was my group’s trailer and when our guest Jacob encouraged me to make more active decisions, I should have picked up on them instead of being passive about it and leaving it to my team mates to decide.

Once we had finished filming for that day, a lot of issues began to occur. We waited a week after the shoot to receive our footage because Jacob had no way of transferring 8GB of film footage online. When we finally received the SD card from Drew, I immediately copied it onto my USB stick to keep for editing. Everyone else had downloaded the footage onto their Mac PCs before giving it back to Drew, but then Daniel’s PC had to be wiped for repair and he no longer had access to the footage. So I helped him get the files for editing, which slightly set back my work progress for editing the music and sound.

I felt that we didn’t have enough clips to work with during editing despite getting most of the scenes in the storyboard filmed. I worried about having this issue at the start too, but I didn’t actively approach it with the group on the day we filmed which was another mistake on my part. In hindsight, I feel like my group heavily underestimated the amount of footage we would have needed for the trailer. I also felt that despite my efforts to encourage our group to communicate, I didn’t manage to respond soon enough to the group’s progress. One simple way I could have improved on this would have been to organise a group meeting at the start of every lesson and have everyone come round together to discuss what we were all going to work on and how the trailer was progressing overall. Then, near the end of the lesson, we could review our progress again and make any necessary critiques and changes to each other’s work. That way we would have better tracking on our work.

In the end, I know that our group worked incredibly hard to make up for the incidents that set us back. We communicated more when we hadn’t communicated enough, and did our very best to produce quality work with what we had. Overall, despite knowing that I could have done more personally, I am pleased with how my team mates and I have responded to this project. I’ve certainly learnt a lot, and I think that the final outcome was up to the standard that the brief had set out for us.



Neo-Noir Film Trailer Progress Log

Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, U66

For our Neo-Noir Film Trailer project, I was given the roles of production manager, script supervisor, camera operator, audio editor and production designer as well as being the on-set stylist during the shoot.

Character designs and Initial Ideas

At the start of our project, my group began researching different aspects of film noir to help familiarise ourselves with the reoccurring themes and stylistic motifs of the genre. We analysed trailers and looked at classic films which gave good examples as to what kinds of characteristics noir has.

I also decided to create character designs to help out with the wardrobe choice and to make sure that the costumes we would then shoot in were styled to the film noir era (early 1940s – late 1950s).

Preproduction and Storyboarding

My colleagues Drew and Daniel were in charge with producing a rough screenplay, as well as brainstorming and deciding on the different shots used in order to eventually send to me for storyboarding. Once I had received the screenplay, I then began drafting out a storyboard with help from the two to keep things accurate and consistent throughout.

Call sheets and Filming Preparation

Drew was mainly in charge of organising the shoot’s location, but I ended up helping out with adding the final details to the Call Sheet such as the weather, wardrobe and additional actor details. I also helped with the management and distribution of Call Sheets, creating a Facebook event for the shoot and messaging the film crew with constant updates about what to bring and how the day would run. I went round making sure that everyone had their props, costumes and equipment sorted out and ready to bring to the film shoot.

Filming Shoot

I arrived at the shooting location on time with make-up and hair equipment for one of the actresses, Isabel. Jacob who was in charge of bringing the filming equipment, was running late so in that time I decided to get the hair and make-up done for everyone as well as have a look at the rooms we were going to film in.

Once we started filming, I helped direct some scenes and explain to our main cameraman Jacob about the types of shots whilst referencing from a copy of the storyboard I drew. I also helped operate the camera in some shots when Jacob had to go act. I discussed various shots and angles that we could also additionally shoot at with Jacob whilst reviewing the footage at the end of every take, as well as organising food and breaks for the crew throughout the day acting as a sort of runner.

Post Production Composition and Editing

During the post-production stage, I was given the role of overseeing the overall editing in addition to editing the audio and graphics. Michael, who was in charge of picking out the music, paired up with me to find appropriate soundtracks to go in with our trailer, with Michael passing the final judgement on two tracks to then have me edit in. We created several drafts and rush edits, asking opinions from peers about what we could improve on.

I was also in charge of the ADR dubbing, and brought in my RODE NT USB Studio microphone to record some dialogue with Michael and Daniel. I then edited the audio, removing background noise and adjusting the levels before exporting it as an mp3 to edit into Premier Pro. I also managed the foley and additional sound effects which were mixed and adjusted straight into Premier to fit with the footage and cuts.

The various trailer graphics such as the title cards and production studio logos were also edited and produced by me. Drew came up with a rough design for the Nocturnal Cinema logo and was then recreated and polished by me in Illustrator before importing it into Premier.

Rendering and Upload

Once we were almost ready to render out our final trailer, I went in and fine tuned everything, adding in changes according to the feedback we received from out peers. I added more sound effects and adjusted the cuts and timing a little before rendering the final composition.

After double checking for the correct aspect ratio and resolution, I then uploaded the final outcome onto YouTube and messaged my group the link for them to see.


Throughout this group project, I have helped set up and organise various schedules and messaging groups through social media to keep in touch with everyone whilst I was working. I made a Facebook group for the event to provide crucial information and resources to the crew, as well as organising and managing a Skype group for those who didn’t have Facebook such as Michael.

Every time I uploaded something onto the group DropBox, I would inform my group and update them on my progress as well as ask them about theirs and discuss things. I was also in charge of organising the final group project folder.

Noir Film Trailer Analysis – The Third Man

Editing, Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, Neo Noir, Research, U66, U_5

The Third Man is regarded as one of the many classics of Film Noir. It was directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene and stars Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard and Orson Welles. The music score was composed by Anton Karas and the cinematography was done by Robert Krasker. Originally release on August 31st, 1949, the film was noted for it’s murder mystery and pained romance riddled with suspense, as well as it’s iconic Noir cinematography of Vienna.

The original trailer was very much styled to it’s time. The early 1950s way of film and television is highly contrasting to today’s way of presentation. For starters, the use of explicit narration in the form of both voice (the narrator) and text (the taglines) are consistent throughout the original trailer. This was common with many films at the time, as it gave the viewer immediate context and information on the film and helped bring attention to the characters. The trailer’s syntax and layout is also vastly different from today’s modern form. The title of the film is introduced at the start, as well as some big names and credits. It’s a more orderly and traditional style of arrangement that’s takes the viewer on quite a chronological walkthrough for most of the first half. Later on, the trailer begins to cut more frequently and the order of storytelling is shifted around a lot more in order to build up excitement and curiosity in the viewer, much like today’s film trailers.

The trailer’s audio is also consistent throughout. There is only one track used, almost as if to try and set the tone for the film. The suitability of the track is up to debate – on the one hand, it’s relatively charming and decadent arrangement may seem fitting for the time it was being shown in, but perhaps not truly reflective of the film’s more dark moods and tone thus could be believed to be unfitting or misleading. On the other hand, it could be seen as purposefully misleading and contrasting to the darker side in favour of the charm and charisma that the leads carry.

Many graphics are used in the 1949 film trailer and at times, it almost seem to become dependent on them in capturing the style and aesthetic of the feature to the audience. The iconic ‘Third Man’ graphic is used at the beginning of the trailer as well as at the end of the trailer where it’s animated in. The heavy use of graphics compared to today’s films is definitely influenced by the fashion of trailers at the time – notably so. The tagline text are also placed under a what seems to be a mandolin graphic, quite fitting for the film’s setting and a very 1950s thing to do.

The Third Man also recently had a 4K restoration adaptation of it – and there’s a new trailer too that has been released in 2015. What’s fascinating, is the stark contrast in presentation compared to it’s 1949 predecessor. Baring in mind that the trailer itself is aware that it’s a restoration of a classic Noir film, the way it displays itself has clearly been altered to appeal to a more present-day audience. For starters, the trailer has taken out many of the old characteristics of ’50s trailers to replace with more current trends.

There is no voice-over narrator giving exposition. Instead, the trailer just relies on the audio directly from the film footage. The only separate narration that is present is through some very short, sans-serif text in white that is either against a plain black background, or skewed at a perspective to match the shot that’s showing almost as a sort of homage to the Noir cinematography.

There are many reasons why the editors have opted for this kind of approach. The 2015 style of trailers have long evolved from the 1950s – everything has become much more minimalist and compressed in favour of subtly. Times and tastes have changed vastly, and the urge for simplicity and shortness has been cultivated from life’s much faster pacing. People demand more saturated content and consider decorations in things like extra graphics and long narration to be dawdling and off-putting. Hence why the new trailer has cut-down the timing on things like credits and on-screen text to only brief appearances. It allows more focus on the film itself and doesn’t come across as a potential waste of time in the audience’s mind.

The cuts and edits of the film’s narrative is more extreme too. Again, in favour of enthralling the audience into a guessing game of what the film’s story exactly is, keeping them on their toes throughout. The title of the film is shown at the end rather than the beginning as a sort of finale reveal as to which film it is. Although, hiding this information could also be because the viewers are expected to know what Film Noir it is just from the footage at the start too.

The audio is also wildly reduced to almost nothing but occasional cues at the beginning as a way of leading the viewers in. The lack of audio makes the viewers question more on what it is they’re seeing until the familiar track of the original 1949 trailer comes back for it’s reprise.

Neo-Noir Film Trailer: Visual Development

design, Digital Art, Editing, Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, Neo Noir, U66

This post will be updated with conceptual art and various visual designs such as costumes and storyboards for my group’s upcoming Neo-Noir film trailer.




Neo-Noir Film Treatment

Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, Neo Noir, Other, U66

The film itself is based on the Case The Red Lipstick Murder from the Game La Noire.

Following a very public fight with her husband, Celine Henry, renowned for both her skills as an aviator and her beauty, has been killed. After being abducted for several days, her husband returned from sleeping in a motel for a few days to find her left dead in her on suite bathroom in their mansion.  The body was brutally beaten and mutilated, a footprint can be seen on her stomach.  A scornful message is etched onto the wall in her own red lipstick. Newly promoted homicide detectives, Cole and Galloway are assigned to the case, the most recent in a string of shocking serial killings.

Classic Noir Film Characteristics

Film, Film Studies, Film Trailer, Neo Noir, Research, U66, U_5

Film Noir is an iconic film genre that’s commonly recognised for it’s dark, stylish, black-and-white cinematography and crime-filled action and drama. Reaching popularity in the 1940s and ’50s, it’s charismatically cynical cast of characters and lust-driven, crime-centred story-lines continue to influence many films today. It’s French name means “black film” and refers to the monochrome visuals that the style is so well-known for, rooting back to early German Expressionism.


Noir’s famous usage of highlights and darkness in it’s film is one of style’s most defining visual characteristics. It’s clever use of relatively cheap and simple lighting set-up combined with smart angles really helps focus on the significant points throughout the film.

The repeated use of back-lighting in Noir films is also another common characteristic. This technique has certainly served Film Noir quite well mainly because of the stark, black-and-white contrast it gives to the characters’ figures that helping set the scene and show what is happening in a very simplistic but effective way.

The usage of bars and harsh lighting was also frequently used in Noir films. It creates a sense of mystery and intrigue by purposefully not revealing certain areas of the scene.

Noir films use a lot of chiaroscuro lighting to create a notable contrast of light and shadow in scenes. The term is a combination of the two Italian words for “clear” or “bright” and “dark”, and the effect is usually achieved by simple spotlights. Chiaroscuro lighting is also referred to as low-key lighting or high-contrast lighting.


Most Noir films usually have an anti-hero as it’s protagonist. It’s infamous characters all have many common traits – conflicted or morally ambiguous morals, character defects such as lack of honesty or grace amongst many other eccentricities that leave a certain charisma that appeals to the audience. Their motives and actions are often seen as scandalous and daring, providing a lot of melodrama within the film.

Noir films also have what is known as a femme fatale – a female side lead or woman of association to the main character that is usually an irresistibly attractive woman who often leads the male characters to destruction. Their character is usually depicted in a very misogynistic manner, commonly providing a selling point to many Noir films.